How To Be A Good Financial Steward Without Obsessing About Money

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New Weekly Post: Ask A Question Friday

An overwhelming majority of my readers (via this survey) liked the idea of a regular post that answers reader’s question spot on this blog.  At the time I am writing this post:

72% think the reader answers would be interesting (and I hope it is!).

25% of you are impartial.

3% of you think the idea would be boring.  To that three percent, I apologize – you’re about to be bored.

If you’d like to ask your own question, email me mhforc [at] gmail [dot] com.

Since you are writing so much about money and money related issues, I was wondering the other day if that either helps you keep money in perspective or if there is a temptation to give it too high a priority?  I ask that, not even knowing for sure what I mean by the question.  I guess does it make a good balance easier or harder to maintain?

For me, writing about money has been extremely helpful for my own spiritual relationship with money.  I am a person who tends to focus (obsess) – to unhealthy extremes at times (for example I’ll either run a marathon or do nothing.  I have a little trouble finding a good middle ground).  While some human bodies have the capacity to process a multitude of concepts simultaneously, God only allows me to reflect on one thing at a time (just ask my wife).

Before starting MH4C, I often thought about my financial situation, evaluated my financial situation, and even gave my financial situation too much attention.  However, one thing I rarely did was to focus on the Biblical teachings about my financial situations.

Since starting this blog, three things have happened to my own relationship with money:

1) I’ve started neglecting my own finances. Between having a third child and focusing on this writing ministry, my time has been diverted.  The diversion has been healthy.  Though I’m thinking about money topics more, the thoughts are depersonalized.  Therefore, I think I’m in a more spiritually healthy place.

2) I’ve learned some important non-biblical lessons about money. I’m a math guy.  I’m the captain of the geek club.  But the more I look into financial issues, the more I realize it is about more than math.  Much more.  In fact, I’ve been surprised how often the emotional and spiritual components of a financial decision outweigh the mathematical.  Thus, I’ve realized there’s less need to crunch numbers.  For an example, you can see my stance on investing versus paying off the house.

3) I’ve been exposed to more biblical teachings on the topic. Since I typically write two Bible and money posts each week I spend more time reading what the Bible has to say about money than I ever did before.  That exposure to the word of God and that sitting in the presence of the Bible has been extremely helpful for me personally and spiritually.

How can I be mindful about money, spending, and stewardship without being obsessive about it?

As I mentioned in the answer above, I obsesses about tasks.  So what I’m writing is to myself as much as anyone else.  If you want to listen in, you are welcome to  …

There are some words you will hear frequently repeated in this blog.  My word in today’s answer is one of them – balance.

I believe the core concepts of a book called The Dark Side of Leadership (a fantastic book, by the way.  A must read for anyone in a leadership position) apply to finances.

The book contends that your greatest leadership strength is likely to also be your greatest weakness. Take, for example, the person who has drive, passion, and focus.  That will make them successful in their endeavors.  However, it is likely that this drive will also lead them to neglect other areas in their life.  Thus, ultimately they might be too focused and too passionate that they ultimately lose everything else in the pursuit of that one goal.

Those who are good stewards may be in danger of the same thing.  They feel such a tremendous responsibility to honor God with their finances that they become so focused and neglect other important spiritual elements.  They are so good with money and so poor at with other aspects of their life that they analyze it too much and think about it too much.  Quite simply, it becomes an obsession.

For some people, their greatest stewardship action would be to focus on other more neglected aspects of their spiritual life.  For others, financial stewardship is the area most significantly lacking in their homes.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

Ask the following question – God, have I honored you with this money?  If you can answer yes to that question, then know what you have done is good and pleasing in the eyes of God.


However, what we want to do is to break our spiritual ‘responsibilities’ into categories.  One might include the following categories: finances, devotional life, church, jobs, community, and family.  We must be a good steward in each of these categories.  To obsess too much about one is to neglect others.

In other words, God did not put you on this earth to be a wise money manager.  This is not your sole function as a spiritual person.  Instead, God put us on this earth to serve and glorify him.  One way we do that is by being wise money managers.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

What suggestions, insight, or feedback do you have?


  1. says

    Craig – good post. I have the same challenges that you face (I think most men do). We get locked in on one concern, hobby, and interest to the exclusion of everything else.

    In some ways, money has been this for me, and I’m always trying to achieve balance in my life. I think that’s partly what my own blog is about. Money is just part of what a life rich in Christ is all about. Blessings!
    .-= Larry Jones´s last blog ..Getting wisdom and using discernment =-.

  2. says

    “But the more I look into financial issues, the more I realize it is about more than math. ”

    This is SO true, but it’s also the way the world looks at money, so if we do, we’ve had some help getting there.

    I think what we forget about money (while we’re obsessing on the numbers) is exactly what money is. It’s mostly a metric to measure time, that is it’s what we’re willing to give up our time for. It’s the barter replacement.

    In this way, it’s really is a convenience that enables to us to decide what we’ll buy in exchange for our efforts, rather than being locked into bartering for and with only those who specifically want what we have at this moment.

    It’s really just an enabler, and when we think of it as being anything more than that, we can easily get caught up in that numbers game that always ends up being a Catch-22. At what point is enough enough? If it’s a numbers game, the answer to that question is “never!”. No good will come of that.
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Secret Life of the American Teenager – Exactly What is the Message? =-.

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