… Looking at your finances from a spiritual perspective

We work with a good number of clients who describe themselves as people of faith. Many draw wisdom from the Bible for topics ranging from raising a family to business ethics to yes, you guessed it – Finance.

I counsel folks on financial (and lots of other) topics. When family, friends, clients are having financial issues

financial-true-northI’ll often lead with one question: Do you believe in the principle of tithing?

Why do I ask this?

If you believe in biblical principles as the foundation for faith and practice, then you probably also believe that returning a tenth (a tithe) of all your increase to God is your duty as well as your privilege.

Remember, I am basing this assumption on the premise that you are a Bible believer.

And conversely, if you say you are a Bible believer and yet don’t accept the instruction to tithe, one might question your recognition of God as your ultimate authority in all matters spiritual as well as material.

I’m not criticizing or judging those who don’t, mind you. I’m just saying that if you believe it then you will want to check your consistency meter.

Very simply, this dichotomy might be a symptom of conflict in other areas of your life. Problems with cash flow? Problems with overspending? Problems with sharing financial responsibility between husband and wife? Problems with saving? Problems with living beneath your means?

You might label this failure to separate God’s ten percent from your ninety percent as a failure to understand the true meaning of “stewardship”. I disagree.

In truth, the principle of tithing has nothing to do with stewardship. Stewardship is the act of trusteeship or guardianship over assets placed into your custody for safekeeping by the rightful owner. The steward is expected to be a trusted servant.

But stewardship cannot be exercised over the tithe, as the tithe is the tenth that is returned to God, handed over to the local church. It is an amount that is completely released and yielded – never to be counted as your own. You give it up and give up any ideas about controlling it. It is not even a gift. It is nothing more than the return of something to its rightful owner.

Stewardship is what happens AFTER you tithe (if you do). Stewardship is what you do with the ninety percent that remains in your hands. It is demonstrated by your responsible saving, sensible (I hate that word, don’t you?) spending, investing in yourself, your kids, your business, your community, your chosen charities and ministries. And yes, stewardship even produces guilt-free enjoyment of the fruits of your labor. Even leisure, even vacation.

Stewardship even affords the occasional shopping spree because you have done the right thing for your family all along.

Think about all the money that has flowed through your hands since you got your first job as a young teenager. It’s entirely possible you’ve had millions flow through your hands during your working life!

I know what you’re thinking. Millions through my hands? And all I have to show for it is this measly pension? Or that measly savings account?

Or that measly 401(k) account? Be that as it may, it’s not too late to make positive change in your life. Today is your fresh start. Be the Steward you were created to be.

You can do great things for your family, and for your posterity – with the right foundation.

We can help you with a Plan, with those first steps. You need to know a few things to get started:

1) Know what you own.
2) Know whom you owe.
3) Know what you earn.
4) Know where it goes.

Start with Why. Start with the basics. We can complicate the tar out of it as you progress, but for heaven’s sake, make certain your first steps are the ones that make sense for you.

We would be honored to help you build something awesome!

-Joe Pantozzi

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