Easter is one of my favorite holidays, perhaps even more than Christmas. The resurrection story brings me so much hope and refreshes my convictions each year. One such conviction is financial stewardship.
Matthew 6:24 tells us, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Later in the book of Matthew, The Parable of the Talents tells of a master who is leaving his house for a long time. He entrusts his property to three servants, according to the abilities of each. The first servant receives five talents, the second receives two talents, and the last receives one talent. (A talent is an ancient form of currency). When the master returns, he asks for an account of the property he had entrusted them. The first and second servants explain that they put their talents straight to work and doubled the value of what they were entrusted with, and so each is rewarded by his master. The last servant, having been afraid, buries his talent in the ground and returns the single talent to his master. The master chastises him, declaring the servant should have invested the talent with the bankers where at least it could have earned interest, rather than burying it. He then commands the single talent be given to someone who could turn it into abundance and casts the unprofitable servant out. Ouch!
As a financial advisor who encourages others to save and invest, I wrestled with Matthew 6:24 for years. What I’ve grown to learn though is that this verse speaks to the love of money, or greed. It is the Parable of the Talents that speaks to the management of money – financial stewardship. Consider both portions of scripture together and you can see that it is not how much money you have that matters; it is how you manage it.
Consider the act of giving. Contributing to a purpose greater than ourselves provides the ultimate form of fulfillment. Because we are all dealt different lots in life, the uniqueness of our financial situations should be accounted for in financial stewardship, including our abilities to give.
If you start with only a little and do not manage your resources wisely, then how can you ever be charitable? If you have debt, good financial stewardship may look like prioritizing paying off debt so that you can have the financial freedom to put future resources to work. It is difficult to be charitable if you are a slave to debt. Remember you can also be giving of your time!
And if you are wealthy, yet you hide your talents in a hole, then what can you say for how you handled the resources you were entrusted with? Having more money means there is more to be responsible over. Like the master who went away, it is okay to entrust someone with the management of your resources. Choose your servants wisely, however, so that your resources are put to work and not sitting idle. By entrusting the right professionals, strategic financial and tax planning could potentially enhance your charitable endeavors!
No matter your level of resources, if good financial stewardship is something you desire, working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to create a plan is a great place to start. To find a CFP® professional that offers services unique to your individual needs, you can visit letsmakeaplan.org.
Published in the Victoria Advocate
Hannah Gohmert, CFP® is the Chief Compliance Officer of KMH Wealth Management, LLC.