Click below to listen to Episode 31 – Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth Parts 2 and 3

Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth Parts 2 and 3

Bob and Mary Jo explore the “Roles and Responsibilities of Owners and Managers” and “The Biblical Worldview of Working and Retirement”

In Parts 2 and 3 of the Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth series, Bob and Mary Jo explore the “Roles and Responsibilities of Owners and Managers” and “The Biblical Worldview of Working and Retirement”. Here at Christian Financial Perspectives, we believe that all financial decisions are spiritual decisions because everything belongs to God, and we are managers of His money.

Seeing money as simply something that is being managed in the interim puts a whole new perspective on wealth. They challenge our listeners to think about the different things you own, control, or manage like:

  • Bank accounts
  • Cars
  • Investments
  • Clothing

 

As far as retirement goes, it is one of the best times to use one’s resources to help others and make a positive difference in our world. It can be the best time of a person’s life when one’s wealth is used to serve others. On the flip side, if retirement becomes all about the individual, it can often become meaningless and depressing over time.

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a weekly podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.

Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.

Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?

Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.

[EPISODE]

Mary Jo:
In this week’s show. We will continue along in our series called “Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth”. This was originally designed as a Bible study and written by my co-host Bob Barber. The series is a deep dive in what God’s word has to say about money. So, we thought it’d be a perfect topic to cover here on Christian Financial Perspectives.

Bob:
I’m really excited to be bringing our viewpoint number two and viewpoint number three of Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth to our listeners. Mary Jo, I started developing this Bible study several years ago, but I just never brought it to fruition. I’m excited about it now. And those that have known me for a while know that we had a study several years ago called “Seven Pillars of Biblical Stewardship”. So what this is, this is an updated version that’s much easier than that original Bible study that was actually done in hundreds of churches. So today, we’re going to be going over view points two and three, but before we get to that, let’s run through seven of the viewpoints that we’ll be discussing in this series of Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth. I want to mention right here in the beginning of the program, this is a Bible study. And if you would like a copy, we can tell you how to get that off of like Amazon or one of the print medias. And you can call our office during business hours. It’s 877-718-7884, and we can connect you up.

Mary Jo:
Bob, there’s just so much great stuff in here. And there is a lot that connects money and wealth to biblical foundation and principles. So, we’re definitely looking forward to bringing those to our listeners. But as you said, why don’t we just kind of review through the seven viewpoints. First viewpoint, it does serve as that foundation. So if you missed this one, you may want to take some time to review it on our episode that went through the first viewpoint.

Bob:
And the first viewpoint is what is the difference between the secular and biblical worldview? That’s the first viewpoint, the difference between the secular and biblical worldview, which is the foundation for this Bible study that we’re bringing to you in handling well from a biblical perspective.

Mary Jo:
And the second viewpoint is the difference between an owner and a manager. So we’re going to discuss this one today, as well as number three.

Bob:
Which is the third one is the biblical worldview of working and retirement. The Bible has a lot to say about work. If you go to Biblegateway.com and you put in the work, it will show you that it appears more than 500 times in scripture, but retirement only appears one time in scripture. So we’re really going to dig in to what the biblical worldview of working and retirement is.

Mary Jo:
And then the fourth viewpoint is a secular and biblical counsel. And you’ve heard Bob and I talk on this show so many times about seeking wise counsel. So, we’re going to talk about that from a secular view, as well as a biblical view.

Bob:
We’re going to look at money and wealth, and what’s the difference between a secular worldview of money and a biblical worldview of money and wealth, likewise.

Mary Jo:
And then the sixth viewpoint is on giving and blessings.

Bob:
And then the seventh is inheritance and a legacy and wisely leaving what God has blessed you with over the years to your children. And as we always say, Mary Jo, it’s better to pass on wisdom than to pass on money. Because if you pass on money without wisdom, you’re setting yourself up for failure for the children. So before we get into the seven viewpoints, I’ve established some overarching principles for this Bible study, which are number one, all financial decisions are spiritual decisions, especially for those that love the Lord and are Christians. We feel like those should be prayed about.

Mary Jo:
Our self-worth should not be associated with our net worth.

Bob:
We are managers. We’re not owners. God is the owner.

Mary Jo:
And we are to manage it all to the glory of the owner.

Bob:
We are a conduit of wealth that’s flowing through us, not to stay in us. I like using the example of the Dead Sea where water flows in, but it doesn’t flow out, and therefore nothing can grow in the Dead Sea. Well, wealth can be the same way. It can destroy us if we don’t allow it to flow through us and help others.

Mary Jo:
And so much of this ties into this final point, and that is that wealth does not belong to us, but to God. So let’s dig into that viewpoint number two, an owner versus a manager,

Bob:
Usually, we start off the program with a scripture. So here’s that scripture for today, which is Psalms 24:1. And it’s the basis for the entire study of Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” I want to repeat that one more time. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” That means everywhere.

Mary Jo:
So Bob, according to this scripture, just to make sure everybody’s listening, who is the owner of everything on earth?

Bob:
God owns it all according to Psalm 24:1.

Mary Jo:
What does this mean for you personally, Bob?

Bob:
I tell you one thing. It’s been a journey personally because, over the years, I used to hold on so tightly to everything because I thought it was all my stuff and that was a selfish viewpoint. Then I started getting a biblical viewpoint of possessions and realizing really it’s God who owns it, and it says that in his word. So to me personally, it allowed me to not hold so tight fisted. When you make a fist and your knuckles get white, because if you make that fist too tight and hold on too tightly, it cuts off the circulation. But then when I opened my hand up and said, God, this belongs to you. The freedom that came with taking this scripture of Psalm 24:1 and applying it, it gives you a tremendous amount of freedom that is indescribable, that comes with, okay, God, this is your stuff I’m going to do the best I can at managing it.

Mary Jo:
I think when we’re all in our early earning years as young adults, kind of more immature adults in a way, I think we all hold on really tight because we’re first starting to earn that money. And we worked so hard for it. And it takes a little time, a few years and a little additional perspective, to understand that God really does own it all. So as we move into this and we explore the roles and responsibility of owners and managers, think about all the things you own and control or manage. So your bank accounts, cars, real estate, your investments, your businesses, mineral rights. A lot of our listeners have oil and gas and water rights on their property. You have animals, food, clothing, electronics, jewelry, art, and collectibles. And even people. People can also be entrusted to our care, a spouse, children, or employees, if you’re a business owner, and we are also to care for and manage the world and our environment that’s around us. That’s very important. And we need to be conscious of that as we move through our day.

Bob:
Take a piece of paper and make a list of what you personally own or control. Make it specific to you and personal to you. Take some time to write this down. And when you see all that, look at that from that perspective. Do I own this or does God own it? And allow release, allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and releasing that into God’s care and saying, I’m going to do the best I can at managing what God has given me, and see the freedom that comes with that.

Mary Jo:
But why don’t we go ahead and take a look at the Bible for guidance about what God says about ownership. Mark 10:17-21, “As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down and asked, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus asked. ‘Only God is truly good, but to answer your questions, you know the commandments. You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and your mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ the man replied. ‘I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.’ Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. ‘There is still one thing you haven’t done,’ he told him. ‘Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.'”

Bob:
Mary Jo, as I listened to you read this scripture, and this scripture always speaks to really the heart of the matter here was this man. He had done everything right. I mean, you can see here what he said. He said, I’ve obeyed all the commandments even since I was young. I’ve done everything correct. And then when Jesus looked at him and said, well, okay, then go sell all your possessions. Give to the poor and come follow me, for there’s treasure in heaven. He walked away, and I’ve got to ask myself that same question. Could I give all of my possessions to God if he asks me for this specifically? Because that’s a tough one.

Mary Jo:
It’s a tough one. Yeah, it sure is.

Bob:
Truly, if I believe, if we believe, that we’re the manager or steward and not the owner of it all, then maybe that’s not so hard because God owns it in the first place, doesn’t he?

Mary Jo:
So true, Bob. And if we truly believe that God owns it all, then we are simply the manager of God’s stuff, wouldn’t you say?

Bob:
I would, Mary Jo. I would definitely think that if we truly believe that. We’re the manager of all this stuff and what God has given us. So think about all the things that you do on a daily basis, all the businesses you interact with. Think about the restaurants maybe you go eat at. Maybe you went and played golf that day. Think about owners of sports teams. What are the typical duties of the manager of those businesses? There’s payroll and employee relations. There’s inventory control, facilities, management, sales, profit, and loss, marketing, and promotion. Now, what are the typical duties of the owner? So you have the manager of those businesses and then you have the owner. The owner is the actual business itself. They accept the ultimate responsibility if the manager fails. So when we recognize that God is the owner and we’re the manager, there’s actually a huge release of holding on so tightly to all those assets according to this next scripture that we’re going to look at. Let’s see what happens when a owner gives a manager responsibility. And this is a really long scripture. It’s a well known scripture, though, and comes out of Matthew.

Mary Jo:
You’re right. It’s Matthew 25:14-30, “The Parable of the Talents”, and remember a talent back then was a currency and a pretty valuable currency back in the time. And it was much like a bag of gold, for example, and that was according to biblical scholars.

Bob:
So as we hear about the talents, I want to say in here, Mary Jo, that we’ve done some research, and we’ve come up with anywhere from $20,000 to a $100,000 for what a talent could be worth today.

Mary Jo:
I think that’s inflation at its best.

Bob:
It is. It is. So, I’m going to share a lot of this scripture out of Matthew 25:14-30, and you can listen along. If you happen to have your Bible handy, then feel free to open up the word of God with us. Again, it’s in Matthew 25:14-30. “Again, the kingdom of heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. To one he gave 5 bags of silver.” Or, in many interpretations, it says a talent. “To one, two bags of silver. To another, one bag, dividing it into proportions according to their abilities.” That’s a big key in there what I just said. “He then left on his trip. The servant who received the five bags began to invest them and earned five more. The server with two bags also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver or gold or talent dug a hole in the ground and hid it. After a long time, the master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used the money.”

Mary Jo:
In verse 20 and 21, “The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with 5 more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ The master was full of praise, ‘Well done my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together.'” The servants who invested their talents wisely were rewarded. But what happened to the servants who did not invest wisely, Bob?

Bob:
Well, we’re going to look at that part now, and I can tell you what. The owner was not too happy about it.

Mary Jo:
It sorta ticked him off, didn’t it?

Bob:
It really did. It got him upset. “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money. So, I hid it in the earth. But look, here’s your money back.’ The Master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant. If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you at least deposit my money in the bank where I would have gotten some interest on it?’ Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from the servant with that one bag and give it to the one with 10 bags. For those who use well what they are given, even more will be given and they will have an abundance, but for those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now, throw that useless servant into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” It’s a very interesting scripture to say that we are to do something with what God is giving us.

Mary Jo:
He blesses us, and he expects us to do good with the money and the resources that he blesses us with.

Bob:
We’ve just come off of this scripture in Matthew 25. But I feel like we need to share this one other scripture over in Luke 16:10-12 because it really speaks into the scripture that we just read about the parable of the talents. Mary Jo, share Luke 16:10-12 with us.

Mary Jo:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. And whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”

Bob:
These two scriptures really ask a question of us. According to these scriptures, if a manager does a good job for the owner, what could happen?

Mary Jo:
Well, Bob, in a biblical worldview, we are to believe that God owns it all – the earth and all that’s in it. We are simply called to be managers or good stewards. And if we manage what we have well, we may be called to manage more.

Mary Jo:
That’s exactly it.

Bob:
And that’s the point of these two scriptures from Luke 16 and Matthew 25. I would invite you to go look that up. Again today, we’re bringing to you Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth, a Bible study that I wrote several years ago that we’re finally bringing to market now that you can get a copy of, and we’re sharing with you biblical viewpoint number two. As Certified Kingdom Advisors, as well as wealth advisors, we work with clients to help them integrate their faith with their finances. So Mary Jo, let’s go into viewpoint number three.

Mary Jo:
Working and retirement. We like to always start off with scripture. This one ties very directly to Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” To work it!

Bob:
Exactly. To work it. And it’s interesting, like I was saying at the beginning of the today’s program was the word work. If you go into like Bible Gateway and you put in work, it appears over 550 times in scripture, while the word retire appears only once. That’s over in Numbers 8:23, but it’s in a different context than the way we think of retirement here in the United States. This is where the chief priest will retire at the age of 50 to help and teach the younger priest. So, it wasn’t quitting what you’re doing. It was just looked at in a different way.

Mary Jo:
You think about where we are in today’s culture, and workers today are re-inventing themselves. They’re going back for a third phase. They don’t look at it as retirement. They are doing second and third careers. They’re volunteering. They’re doing mission work. They’re just doing all kinds of interesting things when they do retire from the workforce. I think some of that is changing, if only slightly.

Bob:
So, it’s not about getting your RV and going across America and playing golf every day.

Mary Jo:
But as I’m looking at RVs, it’s not such a bad thing, but there’s so much more to it. We definitely are called to do more. And many people, they put their self worth and identity into what they do for a living and where they work, what they’ve accomplished in their workplace. When many people meet for the first time, they ask, “So what do you do?” Which usually means where do you work?

Bob:
Oh yeah. Especially men are guilty of this, but now with more women in the workplace, they’re guilty of that too, because they associate their work with their self worth so much. It’s interesting how we look at that today.

Mary Jo:
It is. It’s definitely the primary driver that we derive our self worth from, at least that’s always been true for me. I think it may change for some women as they become mothers or maybe even a dad that are blessed with children to raise. As the family grows, they become more of their world and take up much more space and time and focus. So the job becomes less important, but we do spend much of our day at work and it remains a huge part of our focus, but it doesn’t have to define us. And I think that’s the key.

Bob:
I do want to say something right here in the middle. When we had our children, my wife decided to not work in the workplace, but to work at home. And I think that was a lot harder, quite frankly, because man, it’s like 24/7 nonstop. I’m watching our daughter now with our grandchild, and I can see that’s a hard job. In the Bible, God’s word mandates that we work and provide for our families. And like I said, it’s over 500 times in scripture, even in The 10 Commandments, it says over in Exodus 20, “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord, your God. On that day, no one in your household may do any work.”

Mary Jo:
What does it say when we choose not to provide for our own?

Bob:
That’s a tough scripture there when we choose not to provide for our family. So go ahead.

Mary Jo:
And that comes from the 1 Timothy 5:8, as a great example of this, “But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own households have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.”

Bob:
When it comes to work, I think we need to ask ourselves, does it matter what position we have at work? According to the scriptures. And in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 and 12:21-27, God responds in his word there are many different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit is the source of them all. There are many different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord, and I think that’s a wonderful scripture, really getting deep into that, all the different gifts. And there’s not necessarily one better than the other because we all need each other.

Mary Jo:
Well, that’s right, Bob. We want to ask if all positions are equally important in the eyes of God, and that’s addressed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:21-27, “The eye can never say to the hand, I don’t need you. The head can’t say to the feet, I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. In verse 26 and 27, it goes on this say, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. And if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

Bob:
You’ve really established how important work is. So regarding retirement, like I said earlier, the word retire appears only once in Numbers 8:23-26 is the reference for that. “The Lord instructed Moses, this is the rule the Levites must follow. They must begin serving the tabernacle at the age of 25, and retire at the age of 50. But after that, they assist their fellow Levites by serving as guards at the tabernacle. They may not officiate the service, but they must assigned duties to the Levites.” So, when you look at that scripture, they’re still working. They’re just working in a different capacity.

Mary Jo:
That’s right, Bob. Retired person has many opportunities to help others, and it can be the best time of a person’s life when they choose to serve. And on the flip side, if retirement becomes all about one’s self, it can become meaningless and depressing over time. I think you’ll find those are the ones that don’t last very long.

Bob:
Mary Jo, I know that Mike’s about to retire soon, your husband, and we were talking about that and he wants to give a lot of his time into the lives of unfortunate children. Tell me about that a little bit.

Mary Jo:
Well, he definitely wants to be able to be a mentor to kids. He’s traveled a lot in his work, and he didn’t have the opportunity to do a lot of volunteer work while he was working in his professional life, and he missed out on some of that. So, he wants to be able to give back now, and that’s his primary motivator. He’s looking for opportunities within the school system to provide mentorship and do some career counseling. I just love looking at how excited he’s getting about that.

Bob:
So as we come to the end of today’s program on the Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth, and we’ve now shared with you point number one, two, and three, we want you to feel free to call the office and order this Bible study called “Biblical Viewpoints of Money and Wealth”. It can be a seven week Bible study or a seven day Bible study. You can do it on your own or in a group. And it’s a lot of fun. It’s going to give you a really different perspective of looking at things, and hopefully it will create a different worldview where you will look at everything that God owns it all, and look at it through the eyes of a biblical worldview. You can call the office at (877) 718-7884 during business hours, or go to Christianfinancialpodcast.com.

[DISCLOSURES]

Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.