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Mind Your Own Business: What does the Bible say about savings and debt?

Eliminate debt, live on less than you earn, and save.

From the editor

If the prognosticators are right, the current economic crisis will probably stretch on into 2010. With that in mind, now might be a good time to talk about financial issues with your congregation. Marshall Shelley's sermon will provide a few ideas on how to handle two tricky topics that seem to have played a big role in getting us into the mess we're in as a country: savings and debt. For other sermon ideas concerning the current crisis, see Mike Woodruff's What Would Jesus Say When the Dow Drops 700 Points? and Daniel D. Meyer's Rebuilding the Walls.


The Bible is clear about generosity: "God loves a cheerful giver." Now cheerfulness isn't my favorite word. In college I had a roommate who was cheerful. He was literally singing before his head was off the pillow in the mornings—he was a "Good morning, Lord!" kind of guy. I was definitely more "Good Lord, it's morning."

So the cheerful part of being a cheerful giver may be a challenge for some of us. But the Bible is clear: God wants you and me to be cheerfully generous, whether we live with our parents, or own a house, or sleep in our car or in a shelter, or rent an apartment. Even if we don't have any cash, there are ways we can be generous, and God wants us to be generous, cheerfully.

But some of us, if we're honest, have to admit that being cheerful doesn't come naturally, especially about money.

Who controls who?

Thinking about money can be nightmarish, can't it? It can make us frantic. Desperate. Overwhelmed by our finances, bills, and inflation. Trying to get ahead and stay ahead financially tends to make us fearful, not cheerful.

The big question is: Who controls who? Do you control your money, or do you feel like your bills control you?

What ...

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Marshall Shelley is editor of Leadership Journal and an editorial vice-president of Christianity Today International.

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Sermon Outline:


God loves a generous giver.

I. Who controls who?

II. Debt is a problem, not a solution.

III. Live on less than you make.

IV. Savings is good, if it doesn't become a god.

V. Trust in God during times of adversity.


Make all you can, save what you must, live on less than the rest, and give all you can.