What If We Had To Publish Personal Financial Statements; What Would They Say About Us?

Posted: April 2, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke
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Luke 16:1-18 — In vv. 10-11, Jesus hits us square in the eye when he says, ““If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?”

Our integrity is often on the line when it comes to matters of money. God calls us to be honest even in the small details of life that sometimes we often ignore. If we are not trustworthy with our money, no matter how much or how little we have, we cannot be trusted with greater riches of the kingdom of God. How often do we cut corners morally when it comes to money. Nobody will know. Everybody does it. God sees how we use every dime we have. There are several ways that we show God how trustworthy we are when it comes to money. First, how do we honor God with our money. Second, how transparent are we with our money dealings. In the business world, we have to issue financial statements to our senior management and to the outside world. We have to go through year-end audits where our financial statements are picked over by the auditors to make sure that we are using our stockholders resources in a wise, efficient, legal and moral manner. What if we were required to personally issue financial statements to the outside world on a regular basis? What if we had auditors come in at the end of the year and validate our the rightness of our financial statements and the financial dealings that they represent?

First, how do we honor God with our money? In Randy Alcorn’s book, The Treasure Principle, he references a saying, “show me your checkbook. Show me what you invest in, and I’ll tell you about the depth of your spirituality.” I have also heard the saying expressed this way, “show me your checkbook and I’ll show you what you worship.” The sentiment is this is that our financial dealings are a reflection of our relationship with our Creator. If we are dishonest with our money, if we worship things more than we worship God, it is reflected in our personal financial statements. If people would create their own personal financial statements each month like most businesses do, we would see in black and white what is important to us and how we deal with others financially. If we created financial statements, would it show that you swindled a friend to make a fast buck. It would show up in your personal financial statements. There is another old saying from sports, “ball don’t lie” (meaning that a person’s true talent will come out when they get in the game). Checkbook don’t lie. Financial statements don’t lie. If we honor God with our money, our financial statements will reflect it. Cutting corners on taxes, spending money in dishonorable ways, spending money on things that are far from God, all of these things would be reflected in our personal financial statements. Let us take account of how we honor God with our money. Are we being God honoring with every dime we spend or find? Jesus says that if He can’t trust to have integrity with our worldly money, how can He trust us with the riches of the kingdom.

Second, how transparent are you with your money? When I was speaking of personal financial statements earlier, would you be willing to share them with others. Are you willing to let others see what you spend your money on. Outsiders looking at what you spend your money on. There are some husbands and wives out there that have separate checking accounts. What does this say about what they spend their money on? What does this say about their marriage? If you don’t share your finances, your checking account, with your spouse what does this say about us? Excuses are that we each have our responsibilities and we pay for them. We have debts that we brought to the marriage that the other should not have to be touched by. All of this seems a nice argument. However, it boils down to not trusting your spouse or not being willing to share what you spend your money on with your spouse. It just amazes me when spouses don’t share the basics of family finance, the checking account. What if we were required to issue personal financial statements to our spouses to view? What if you together were required to issue personal financial statements to a friend that you respect highly? What if? There is also an old saying that says, before you do something think about whether you would want your mother reading about it in a newspaper the next day. What if we thought about how we spent our money in this way? If you knew your checkbook was going to be a headline in the newspaper tomorrow would you spend it on what you’re spending it on. I am not trying to guilt anyone into to good behavior here but the point is clear, Jesus wants us to be open and transparent in our dealings with money. We should want that as an act of worship to Him. Our money, what we spend it on, should reflect integrity, honesty, morality, and be God-honoring. Our checkbooks should be an open book for the world to see, warts and all. Our dealings with others when it comes to money should reflect these same principles. Let us not go to church on Sunday and agree with the preacher when he says we should love our fellow man but yet go to work next week and screw our co-worker over to get a raise, to get more money. Let us not read this passage and agree with it and go out and sell a car to a stranger knowing full well that the transmission is about to fall out of it. Let our dealing with others financially reflect a God-honoring sense of integrity.

The love of money has sold many a man’s integrity down the river. None of us are perfect and we all have cut corners morally when it comes to money. Have you been completely honest always when it comes to money? Sometimes our pragmatic needs outweigh our morality and we fail when it comes to money. However, for the Christ follower, our integrity when it comes to money speaks to the world around us. As well, when we are dishonest with money or in dealing with others about money, the Holy Spirit should be making us feel sick to our stomach. We have the Holy Spirit living in us and we grieve Him when we are dishonest in our money dealings. Jesus tells us that He wants us to have the riches of the kingdom but He says how can I trust you when you cheat on your taxes? How can I trust you when you screw someone over to make a buck? How can I trust you when you do something immoral to get more money? Let us really pray about this issue. Our dealings with money reflect to the world who we are as Christians.

Help us Lord to think about how we act about money. Help us to honor you with our dealing with money. Help us to reflect Christian principles in how we use it, obtain it, spend it, think about it, you name it. Help us to use it as a tool that uplifts rather than destroys. Help us to use it to develop trust rather than distrust. Help us to use it to right wrongs rather than to create wrongs. Help us to use it to make the world a better place rather than a more immoral on. Help us to use it to fight injustice rather than create injustices. Help us to use it help others to lift themselves out of their situation rather than to create situations that oppress others. Help us to use it to show the love of Christ to others. Help us to honor you with it in all the ways we use it. Amen.

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