This week Kent gets practical about being Generous and shares three steps you can take to reshape your finances and put yourself in a position to Give, Save, & Spend. Get free budgeting and financial help by visiting harmonychurch.cc/resources/#finance. When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom! GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
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Years ago Jenni and I were at this conference. I had woke up early in the morning and was spending time with Jesus. I was sitting in this hotel room and something I read, I can’t remember what, hit me. I remember what hit me even though I can’t remember the passage. It was this idea:
We were so busy funding the kingdom of MasterCard and Visa that we had nothing left to fund the Kingdom of God…
See, we had talked about how we felt called by God to do some things, but they seemed impossible – how do you do that?
Maybe you’re there with me? Jenni and I decided that day to take drastic action. We literally went home, we sold our house (moved into a dump), started paying off student loan debt and credit cards. We were ruthlessly eliminating debt.
Here’s my guess, throughout this series, my guess is that there are a lot of you who are sitting there going, “Kent, I’d like to be more generous, but when it gets to the end of the month, we’ve got nothing left.”
I get it. How do you be generous when you feel like you’re on financial life support?
Proverbs 13:1616 All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.
My worst fear would be for you to talk into the act of being generous in a foolish way. So,
Today, I want to give you practical steps to help you get on a path to Generosity
The first step on the path to generosity is to get your mindset about money right.
Money is a tool, not the goal. Getting this straight in your thinking makes ALL the difference
It’s why Jesus said Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
This is why I, personally, have never known a wealthy person who is not also a generous person.-because for these people money is a tool to be used to live for God rather than living for the money.
That’s the first step to generosity because if you don’t get your mindset right, you can easily get the wrong priorities in life.
The second step on the path to generosity is to make a plan and plan how to use what you make.
The author of Proverbs says Proverbs 24:27 27 Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.
The point is get the right things in the right order.
Imagine a homesteader out on the prairies in the Spring, the time to be planting their crops. The proverb is saying, get your seed in the ground while it’s time to be planting and get all of your outdoor work done, then build your house – because the house isn’t AS time-sensitive… It’s about getting the right things in the right order
Look, if one of your goals is to be more generous, or even to save for retirement. Maybe you just want to stop having fights with your spouse every time a bill comes in you can’t pay… You have to do something to change the system. And that means getting the right things in the right order..
Here’s an easy way to remember the order
You want to sit down and plan out your order. The reason for this order is if you don’t give first and save first, you will never have enough left over to give or save at the end.
ILLUSTRATION: Jenni and I have always been pretty diligent about giving – it’s been part of our Discipleship DNA – but saving had not been a huge priority. Pastors don’t have retirement, so up until a few years ago, we literally had next to nothing in retirement. It wasn’t till a few years back when I heard of this church hiring a pastor and they said they were looking for someone who was younger. I had thought I would just preach until I couldn’t talk or remember anymore. Then it hit me, what if churches don’t want someone who’s old preaching…? All of a sudden the “save” category became really important for us.
We had to become intentional about saving before we spent. -We literally have another bank account at a different bank that money gets transferred into that takes 3 days to get it out of for savings if we needed it. -We are very intentional with what we give and what we save. We save for trips – we save for gifts – we save for even buying meat for a big family – we save for medical expenses + retirement. All of that comes out first before we pay even one bill or buy one thing on Amazon…
What about you? Do you truly understand how you spend your money?
If you don’t have a hold on how you spend your money, I can almost guarantee you money has (or will have) a chokehold on you.
This is how we end up serving money – it becomes the thing we are constantly chasing after because it becomes the end, not the means
This means formulating a Budget (budgeting is simply subtracting your expenses from your income to intentionally decide how you will spend your money)
This is going to mean sitting down and actually figuring up your expenses-this means not just blindly saying “yes” to every request your kids or spouse makes of you (ask our kids, they are ALWAYS telling us how they don’t get to do things their friends get to do – it’s a badge of honor in our house to be tough and say “no”)-budgeting starts with putting your giving in, then your saving, then figuring up what you will have left to spend and keeping to it.-you may need to do some things like Ideas to help you stick with your budget:
- uninstall/reinstall your amazon app for every purchase
- pay in cash that is kept in envelopes marked for categories
- Have different accounts for spending money and bill pay money.
The third step to getting on the right path financially is to ruthlessly eliminate debt.
“The rich rule over the poor, And the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)
“Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.”Proverbs 22:26-27 (NIV)
There are times when debt is appropriate, or ok – I’m not a hard nose on this. But For most of us, debt is just a sign of our inability to delay gratification.
Dave Ramsey advocates the Snow Ball method for getting rid of debt.
SNOWBALL: Pay off the lowest balance debt first. Once that debt is paid off, roll that payment into your payment for the next lowest.
Jenni and I did this and paid off like $30,000 in debt within a year. We were drastic with it. As I said, we sold our house, we drove clunker cars – can I tell you it is worth EVERY penny to not owe anything on a car and be able to drive it into the ground!
One of the biggest joys of my life has been to be able to be generous to other people because we are prepared to be generous. One of the things that Jenni and I both know is that all the money we’ve saved up – it’s still not ours. It may be that God is having us save it so we can give it to some missionary or something. Or maybe He will let us use it for retirement. I don’t really care, I just know that now, I’m prepared to use it for the Kingdom, however it comes about.
What would it look like for you to be in that position?
Today I want to close by praying for you and then we are going to go celebrate Communion, where we remember our ultimate debt being wiped out by Jesus on the cross, let’s pray.