Notes and Resources from the sermon “Knowing God Through Generosity” (preached at Coram Deo Church, 24 March 2013)
Text: 1 Chronicles 28-29
Big Idea: Knowing God makes us generous.
How? By changing our mindset for giving (from ownership to stewardship), our motivation for giving (from obligation/duty/recognition to devotion/love), and our method of giving (from haphazard/reactive to planned/proactive).
4 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR FINANCIAL HEALTH
1. Live on a budget. For help, check out mint.com or use this Excel spreadsheet created by one of Coram Deo’s financial team members.
2. Follow the 10-10-80 rule. Save 10%, give 10%, live on 80%.
- Your long-term goal should be to build up your savings account so that you have 3-6 months’ salary in reserve.
- If you’re looking to pay down some debt – get at least 3 months salary in savings BEFORE you start paying down debt (credit card bills, school loans, etc.) Otherwise, the first time your car breaks down, you’re back in debt.
- Give 10% as a spiritual/fiscal discipline. Over the long term you should seek to give above and beyond 10%. But tithing is a biblical baseline to provide you a starting point for faith, worship, and generosity.
- Live on 80%. If you feel like you can’t, then you have two options: 1) decrease your expenses or 2) increase your income. Yes, you CAN do this.
3. Invite help and support. Financial health requires help and accountability and community. Die to the idea that your finances are “private.” You shouldn’t publish them on the internet… but you SHOULD invite trusted friends and mentors to help you in this area.
4. If you’re a student, “give on what you live on.” Tithing is the discipline of “honoring the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce” (Prov. 3:9). For med students and others whose living expenses are provided for through loans and grants… you should still honor the Lord first through disciplined, planned giving. Don’t give on the portion of your loans that are paying your school bills… but do give on the portion of your income that you’re living from. [If you’re not a med student… student loans may in fact be a very BAD idea. Too many students graduate with $100k of debt to get a job that makes $30k a year. Better to pay for your school as you go and graduate with little to no debt… but that’s another post.]
GOAL: CREATE WEALTH
Your goal should be to build wealth. Wealth is not a bad word. In fact, every poverty-alleviation strategy worth its weight is focused on wealth creation. Wealth means you have positive assets. You are not living paycheck to paycheck. In fighting poverty, the goal is always to move from relief (providing immediate needs: food, water, shelter) to development (helping people build wealth). Basic financial responsibility looks like: 1) honoring God through giving; 2) building wealth through saving; 3) spending responsibly and in a disciplined way so that you live below your means.