By SHAWN DOBBINS
The federal government has passed three separate COVID relief bills to cover losses during a pandemic year. Christians will disagree on whether these bills were prudent or needed, but it has resulted in individuals and families receiving money they would have never expected.
Christians are seeking to know what is right and how to handle this extra money. We know that God has called us to honor him and be good stewards of our money, yes, even our stimulus money. The answer begins with the understanding that God is sovereign and the owner of all of our financial resources.
It is our duty to steward the money he has given us. Some are using this money for basic needs and what a blessing that is! Others will be freer in the varying degrees in which they can spend this stimulus in a variety of ways. Below is some biblical counsel as you consider how to steward your stimulus money.
Budget your money
One of the quickest ways to lose control of your money is by not having a plan in how to use it in the first place. Sitting down with a simple budget form and planning out your regular income is just wise for any person.
“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28, CSB)
If you don’t have a plan for your stimulus money you will have regrets on where that money went weeks or months ahead.
Give to your local church and to Kingdom purposes
The Bible teaches that we should give generously to our local church in the form of a tithe or more on a regular basis. In giving to your church, you are supporting the Great Commission in your community in funding events like VBS, summer camp, scholarships for mission trips, seniors handing out food, and pastors who preach the word.
Through your Southern Baptist Church, which gives a portion of every dollar to the Cooperative Program, you support missionaries in your state and around the globe. Maybe you set aside a portion above your tithe/offering to give to support missions’ offerings, save to go on a mission trip, help your church pay down debt, or encourage a missionary. There is no greater way to honor God than giving to our churches and the Great Commission!
Save some money
Even as adults we struggle with “money burning a hole in our pockets.” This may be a time to save wisely.
“Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person, but a fool consumes them.” (Proverbs 21:20, CSB)
We do not know what tomorrow will bring and therefore saving that money may prove to be wise.
Pay off debt
The Bible wisely tells us to avoid debt. Anyone who is in debt in great amounts understands the weight of this verse, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7, CSB)
Get out from under the control of someone else and free up your money for you to use for the glory of God and for your family.
Long term benefits for your family
“But if anyone does not provide for his own family, especially for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, CSB)
Consider ways of investing for the long-term good of your family. It could be investing in your home, your children’s education, new training to further your career, or maybe a vacation that would strengthen your marriage and family.
If you are overwhelmed with numbers or struggle with fear, seek counsel. A wise counselor can help you decide what your next steps should be.
There should be no shame in asking for advice, as a matter of fact, the bible says it is wise to seek help. “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22, CSB)
Talk to your pastor, elder, church member, or financial advisor about how you might use your funds wisely.
There are many ways you could use this money to glorify God that are not listed above. Let us all thank God for all the provisions he gives us and may we use all those gifts to glorify him!
Shawn Dobbins is senior pastor of Hebron Baptist Church in Hebron, Kentucky.