Is Your Checkbook the Best Measure of Your Stewardship?

The following is a guest post from Dave Moser.

“Money is the currency of Christian Hedonism. What you do with it – or desire to do with it – can make or break your happiness forever. The Bible makes clear that what you feel about money can destroy you.” – John Piper in Desiring God

You hear this advice everywhere in Christian circles. It’s typically stated, “Don’t tell me what your priorities are. Show me your checkbook, and I’ll tell you what your priorities are.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find this advice helpful at all. This proverb/advice/guilt trip assumes that money is the most reliable indicator of how we steward the resources God entrusts to us.

This may be true of some people. But it isn’t true of me.

Why My Checkbook Isn’t the Best Measure

In my case, money is not the main barometer of how I steward the resources God gives me. Time is the ultimate currency in my life.

I graduated from one of the US military service academies where, on top of a larger-than-average academic load, there are unending military, physical fitness, community service, and other requirements.

Money can’t get you ahead here, so it has a diminished value.

My decisions weren’t choices between spending money for my pleasure or God’s kingdom. My decisions were choices between work, sleep, and God’s kingdom. My decisions for good stewardship were primarily in how I chose to use my time.

That is not to say that money is unimportant in my life and that I can use this resource in any way I choose. I just need to remember that it’s not the best metric in my own life. I might win the battle of stewarding my finances properly but lose the war of stewarding my life.

How This Affects My Life

I find that when my “primary” resource – time – is devoted appropriately to serving God, my other resources – including money – tend to fall into place. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it is generally true that when our major priorities are on track our smaller priorities follow suit.

I don’t want to replace one narrow proverb about stewardship (“show me your checkbook”) with another (“show me your calendar”). If one is true of you, by all means, keep following it.

Just don’t think that it’s true of all people – so don’t apply it blindly to all people. The real proverb should be this: “What resource do you find most valuable? Show me how you use it for God’s glory.”

So, what resource is most valuable to you? How do you use it to serve God?

About Dave Moser: Dave Moser is in love with the gospel and looks forward to being a pastor after his military duty is completed. He blogs at Armchair Theology.

Photo Credit: stopnlook (Creative Commons)

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