I hope you’ve been reading or listening to our current series on The Spiritual Disciplines. We’re talking about doing what’s necessary to grow up and become stronger as Christians. We discipline our bodies for the purpose of being in better physical shape, and 1 Timothy 4:7 says we must discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness.

So last time we talked about being disciplined in how we use our time. We said we want to be good stewards of our time for three reasons. One, because the days are evil, and we can’t allow our time to be wasted. Two, time is short. We don’t know how long we have on the planet. Three, we’ll be held accountable for what we do with the time we’re given.

Today we’re going to talk about some principles that will help us to be good stewards of our money. Somebody said if you want to really know where someone stands with God, take a look at their calendar and their checkbook. What we do with our time and our money tells all about our priorities and our hearts.

So I have a question: Can God have your money without having your heart? Of course! Lots of people give money to churches and Christian causes but have never given their hearts to God. However, can God have your heart without having your money? I don’t think so. If you’ve given your heart, you surrendered everything to God. Matthew 6:21 says where your money is, there your heart will be also.

We can all be better stewards of the money God has entrusted to us. Today, we’re not going to discuss things like avoiding credit cards and debt, paying bills on time, and creating spending and savings plans, though we really clearly should do these things. Instead, I want to look at three simple biblical principles for better stewardship.

1. Our money belongs to our heavenly Father. Psalms 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it…” He didn’t say everything except our money. It’s repeated over and over in Psalms 89:11 and Psalms 50, verses 7 through 12. The Old Testament prophet Haggai wrote in chapter 2, verse 8, “‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Now we can, and we should, enjoy what he has given to us, but as a steward, we have to remember to whom it belongs. You’re just a steward of the money in your accounts. So the question isn’t…How much of my money should I give to God, but, How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?

2. Our giving should reflect our faith. Jesus commended the widow in Mark 12, verses 41 to 44, because of her faith. See, Jesus noticed how (in the original language, “in what manner”) people were giving. The Pharisees were giving a lot, but their giving wasn’t sacrificial at all. They gave out of their leftovers. Where is the faith in that? I made a thousand bucks this week. I think I’ll give $5 to the church. Really? No demonstration of faith. No sacrifice. The widow gave a couple of pennies, but Jesus said it was more than what the others gave. Why? Her giving was sacrificial. Her giving showed her faith. She believed God would provide.

Paul thanked the Philippian church for sending financial support and reminded them it was an acceptable sacrifice, a sweet aroma, pleasing to God, and that God would supply all their needs, in Philippians 4:19. She gave willingly, generously, sacrificially out of her faith.

3. Our investments will dictate our future. We all want a return on our investments. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19 that we shouldn’t store a bunch of stuff that’s going to burn up, we should invest in treasures that will last forever. Help the less fortunate. Feed the hungry. He said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you.”

Second Corinthians 9:6 says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” How are we investing for an eternal return on investment? Proverbs 19:17 says the one who is gracious to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deeds. Our investment will dictate our future in this life and the next.

To recap, we can be better stewards of money by remembering three simple biblical principles: our money belongs to our heavenly Father, our giving should reflect our faith, and our investments will dictate our future.

How does your money management reflect your faith, your investments and your priorities?