Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stewardship: Money Matters

During adult Christian Education at my church, I am running a four-part series on Stewardship. The term is often used in reference to managing our monetary resources. The series, however, will not directly address financial stewardship, but rather focuses on stewardship of our gifts and talents, the environment, the church, and the family. My hope is to encourage a broader application of the concept of stewardship; everything is the Lord’s, not just our pocket books.

In spite of the fact that this series I am teaching doesn’t address financial stewardship, I still believe managing our money is an important issue. The New Testament has a great deal to say about money and how we handle it, so it is an area that deserves attention.

Recently I read a book by Dave Ramsey---the well-known American financial guru---and I was encouraged to pay closer attention to my own financial stewardship. In his book, Ramsey addresses the area of financial literacy. Most Canadians are told how to manage their money by banks, businesses and credit card companies… Ironically, these institutions profit most from their patrons’s financial ignorance. The unified message from all these businesses is that credit, mortgages, car loans, student loans, buy-now-pay-latter schemes are all par for the course. Ramsey questions this assumed wisdom. It is not wisdom; rather, it is money-makers doing profitable business.

As a Christian, I thought I was being pious by disregarding financial issues, believing that spiritual matters are more important. Ramsey helped me realise that I have an obligation to manage properly the financial resources God provides.

Dave Ramsey's book is called The Total Money Makeover. This book was highly recommended by my brother and now I highly recommend it to you. Ramsey’s style is accessible, humorous, Christian, and highly practical. This is no hokey, pyramid-scheme, make-the-author-rich-by-duping-the-reader kind of book. It is a not-so-common sense book that makes a lot of sense!

Check it out if you would like to learn how to manage your money for your profit not the bank’s!

On a somewhat related note (and for a laugh), watch Steve Martin’s SNL mock infomercial, “Don’t buy stuff you cannot afford

Monday, February 22, 2010

Joshua 1: Fighting Our Fears

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NASB)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

So political...

I recently gave my Classical civilization students a test on Greek philosophy; one of the questions asked, “What does Aristotle mean by the statement, ‘Man by nature is a political animal’”? Answers varied from humans are “aggressive,” “animalistic,” and “survival of the fittest,” to humans are “conniving” and “deceptive”… Thanks to Darwin, democracy, and Spirit of the West, words like “animal” and “political” have far-reaching connotations these days!

What Aristotle really meant is that humans are communal in nature; we are inter-dependent. Personal isolation, according to Aristotle, cannot lead to happiness or fulfilment. This social dimension to our existence necessitates an ordered and governed society. For Aristotle, “good government” should make possible and enable its citizens to pursue lives well-lived, both as individuals and as a collective society.

Now, everything is so political.