by Daryl MacKenzie
A few weeks ago at Oasis Shirley Giberson, representing the Canadian Bible Society, gave me a copy of The Financial Stewardship Bible, written in the Contemporary English Version and published by the American Bible Society. This Bible highlights over 2,000 verses about stewardship, provision and trust.
In the centre of this Bible is a series of helps, including 40-Day Financial Stewardship Journey, along with a small group financial discussion guide. These materials are also available online, at http://journeys.americanbible.org/topic/financial-stewardship .
As I write this blog my memory takes me back to conversations I have had with Art Hiebert regarding the financial dilemmas people are facing today. For those who don’t know, Art is the owner/operator of Clarity Sound Solutions and has looked after the audio/visual needs of many of our churches and of the events hosted by our Convention. One of Art’s gifts is in the area of financial stewardship and he uses this gift to counsel individuals and families who are struggling with heavy debt loads, Christian and non-Christian alike.
What are the causes of the financial crisis faced by many people today? Easy credit coupled with rationalizations that aren’t fully processed, lack of discipline/willpower, unplanned emergencies, unexpected developments, unrealistic dependence on others – and the list goes on.
Ministry today is greatly hampered by the looming debt loads of many believers. For example, there are people in pastoral ministry today who have left university and seminary training with a high student debt load. Furthermore, there are some who have found and married the love of their life, who also happens to have a sizeable student loan. Add to that the need to furnish a home and purchase transportation and we have a recipe for financial disaster.
As believers we need to be seen as different from unbelievers. It can only happen when we consider the needs of others before our own. We need ministries where we can counsel those who are experiencing financial hardship – to help them to use discipline as they manage the financial resources entrusted to them by God. Such ministries should be established in every church of the Convention and they should be available to anyone in the surrounding community, regardless whether they are a believer or not. We are to show care and compassion as we teach others the proper management of resources from a Biblical perspective. By doing this, we can attract people into the Kingdom. This is where the rubber meets the road.
God bless us as we take on this challenge.