Tuesday Testimony, from a friend. It is an amazing story about how he was blessed through the generosity of others and classes he took. God kept his life together, even though he feared it would fall apart, not only was his home blessed, he was able to bless people around the world, and the people who originally blessed him.

“Maybe 5-6 years ago, I was at a bad point in my life. I went from being nicely employed, then was unemployed for 7 months, then underemployed (but happy to have a job). However, I missed three mortgage payments in a row. I was fairly certain that I would lose my home, and worried the situation might cause me to lose my girlfriend.

Gratefully, I was in a small group that prayed for each other. I remember gathering into smaller groups for the prayer time, after the Bible study. I shared my scenario with the few guys in my prayer group. One gentleman said that he and his wife had been blessed financially, through a class at Vineyard and wrote me a check that covered the three house payments!

Because of their financial responsibility, their blessing helped me keep my house and my girlfriend. She became my wife and now we had two children. We took the Dave Ramsey FPU class and developed a budget and started living within our means. We later became small group leaders.

Through our budgeting, we have been able to support a couple of missionaries on a short-term basis, helped one girl in a 3rd world country get through high school and are now supporting a 2nd girl through high school, and we were able to bless the couple that blessed us, when they fell into hard times. “

In summary, you can never under-estimate the generosity of God, and how he loves to bless us. He too loves it when we become good stewards and bless other people, being Jesus to the world around us.

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The Joy of Hard Work, Luke 19:12-27

by Kent on July 21, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 19:12-27, is about hard work. Modern society’s view of work, doesn’t always agree with scripture, so let’s see what the Bible has to say.

He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

Key elements of the verses:

  • The Command: Verses 12 – 13 we see the ruler leaving his assets in the hands of his servants to make profitable while he is away; “Put it to work.”  Believers are God’s servants, working with the time, talent, and resources he has given us, to make profitable for him, and for ourselves.
  • The Complainers: Verse 14 a delegation complained to a higher authority. In the context of these verses, many of the servants didn’t want the kind of king that ruled this way. People in kingdoms sometimes don’t like to work for the king, and for the benefits of others, but just themselves. Subjects might prefer to conquer and be taken care of by slaves and the spoils of war.
  • The Profiteers: Verses 15 – 19, two of the servants report to the king the profits they have produced. The king increases the number of their responsibilities.
  • Judgement: The  Verses 20 – 24, one of the servants did nothing with the money, while the king was away. The king took the money he entrusted to him and gave it to one of the harder working servants. The king was furious, he ordered the execution of the complainers.

You have heard these verses and Matthew 25:14-28 being taught probably several different ways, perhaps in the context of investing, or Kingdom principles. I previously covered this as a teaching about the Eternal Significance of Good Stewardship. I stand by this article and would probably agree with the many other ways these verses are taught. However, this article will probably will be a new way of looking at these verses; because I think it is quite possible Jesus is talking about how much he loves hard work and how much he hates being lazy.

I have worked in a lot of places, and have talked to a lot of business owners, and the number one complaint they have about their employees isn’t intelligence, know how, experience or that they are nice people. Their number one complaint is finding people who work hard all day.  Often, people don’t arrive on time, miss work often, take long lunch breaks, goof off talking too much or spend a lot of time on social media.

Some people look down on hard work. You hear that work is that thing we do, in between having fun on the weekends. “We work hard, so that we can play hard,” is a worn out quote I’ve heard too often. In some societies, hard work is seen as something for people lower down the social-economic scale. The number one goal for many people is to save up enough money, so that one day they don’t have to work anymore, they can lay back and relax in retirement (read Luke 12:17-21).

However, I think Jesus wants us to always work hard. To expend a lot of effort into the things we do. In our feel-good society, we don’t elevate hard work. We preach that the ills to society are lack of compassion towards the poor and disadvantaged. I think Jesus would say that although this may be true, but one of the biggest ills of society is our attitude towards work.

Rich Nathan the Pastor of Vineyard Columbus taught What Ever Became of Hard Work? in the Neglected Virtues series. For many people hard work is a forgotten virtue (don’t worry this sermon also touched on workaholics too). It is easy to slack off, this is a temptation. Constant activity, physical fatigue and seeing others not work as hard pulls down our attitude to work hard.

I think hard work is a blessing. A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook: “I love Fridays! Not only because it’s the weekend, but it feels sweet when I’m tired and I’ve worked hard all week, then hear my master say well done good and faithful servant! (Matt 25:23) There is joy in hard work.” I honestly believe this is true.  Take some time to review the many Bible verses about work, listed here. Monday is a good day to change our mind about how we view work; so that at the end of the day or the end of the week, although we may be exhausted, we will feel really blessed. I encourage you to do this, I’ll bet you hear Jesus say to you “I’ve been with you all day and watching you work hard with integrity- great job!”

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the fifty-sixth post in this series.

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Testi-money About God’s Generosity

by Kent on July 16, 2014

A good friend of mine, sent me an email recently about giving, that I thought might be encouraging.  He has lived good stewardship, and gotten back on his feet financially, after deeply digging out from a failed business venture.

“I was looking at our tithe last year and it was indeed 10% but given our income amounts it was some crazy number that ended in 39 cents (or similar) and I thought that perhaps God was due at least a “rounding up”. After thinking about it – I rounded it up even more (because God deserved more than THAT). But wouldn’t you know that I got a raise a month later and when I recalculated my tithe base on the additional income it worked out EXACTLY to what I had previously rounded up our tithe to. You can’t out give God.”

In summary. This is true, you can’t out-give God. Sometimes he blesses us monetarily, but often in much better ways too. God is generous and loves to bless his kids. Tithing is often a test with our money (hence the title testi-money) and our trusting him. A good scripture reference is Malachi 3:10.

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Zacchaeus’ Walk With Jesus, from Greed to Purity

July 14, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 19:8-9. In the preceding verses, we see Zacchaeus a tax collector, following Jesus, and immediately is compelled regarding his financial life. 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the […]

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Being Interruptible to Bless Others

July 9, 2014

A friend recently emailed to me this story about how God used him to bless someone. One Sunday afternoon when I was 22 years old, I sat down with my girlfriend at a nice airport restaurant while waiting on a flight. Travel activity was low that day, so the restaurant was all but empty. Our […]

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Being Aware of Opportunities to be Generous

July 7, 2014

Here is an excellent story about a man who gave his last two dollars to bless someone else. He learned several lessons, and you will to. As a middle school teacher my voice is usually my craft, without it I am already defeated in a classroom. One Friday I was beginning to lose my voice […]

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Modesty, A Forgotten Virtue, But Key to Good Stewardship

July 1, 2014

Is this word still applicable to this age? “It is a good thing for man to live in moderation. It is commendable when a man is able to control his lusts and desires, so that he is not a slave to his belly and is no longer driven by the powers of his fleshly desires […]

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Money, Eternity, and Childlike Faith; Luke 18:17

June 30, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 18:17. In this verse, and the one that follows it (Luke 18:17 – 25), Jesus is giving clues about how to receive the Kingdom of God, and how money can be an obstacle. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God […]

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Financial Performance & Relationship With Jesus, Luke 18:9-14

June 23, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 18:9-14. In these verses Jesus warns us to not base our relationship with him on living a good life and tithing. To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple […]

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How to Pray About Money, Luke 18:1-8

April 22, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 18:1-8. In these verses Jesus shows us how to pray for our troubles, especially financial ones. However, there are two parts of this parable–one speaks to those who are suffering, and the other speaks to those who have the means to relieve suffering. This […]

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The 2nd Coming of Christ and Money, Luke 17:28-35

April 14, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 17:28-35. These verses describe the return of Jesus, but almost every teaching about them teaches the wrong things. It is not about rapture but how we live our lives, day-to-day, and where our hearts are focused. 28 “It was the same in the days of […]

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The Right Attitude About Work: Servantude, Luke 17:5-10

April 7, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 17:5-10. These verses seems to indicate how hard work, obedience, and a servant-like attitude are linked to the type of faith that moves trees and mountains. Jesus was responding to the request of the apostles to increase their faith, but His two responses seem […]

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The Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31

April 1, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 16:19-31, a story Jesus told to address the concept of large wealth and its implications to salvation. 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a […]

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Jesus and Financial Integrity, Luke 16:10-13

March 10, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 16:10-13. In the verses previous to these, Jesus illustrated his approval of a shrewd and dishonest manager to communicate wisdom, but he immediately followed it with a strong directive to be honest with money and possessions. These are heart surgery verses, and Jesus is a most […]

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What Will 3D Printers Mean to Investing and Business?

March 3, 2014

In the first book of the Bible in Genesis we read a full account of God creating heavens and earth, all out of nothing (Genesis 1:1). From the first substances, God created everything else (Genesis 1:2-31). God created man and women in his image, and endowed them with amazing creative abilities. Technology has helped us […]

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Parable of the Shrewd Manager, Luke 16: 1-9

February 24, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 16:1-9. The Parable of the Shrewd Manager is a strange parable, one many Biblical scholars debate about; however, it teaches a unique message to financially unwise believers. 1 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his […]

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Financial Teachings in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32

February 17, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 15:11-32. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is the most written and preached about parable. Perhaps you know this parable for showing the grace God extends to us; the image of God running to us when we have turned towards him in our life journey. […]

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What is The Greatest Obstacle to Good Finances? Luke 14: 25-35

February 10, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 14:25-35. Have you ever wondered what’s the single greatest obstacle for most people to manage their finances well? Good Biblical financial management is defined as first having the right principles: God is the owner and we are temporary stewards. Second, it is defined as 5 […]

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Jesus On Humility and Blessing the Poor: Luke 14:7-14

February 3, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 14:7-14. Jesus uses the parable of the wedding feast to counsel us about humility and blessing the poor. 7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a […]

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Book Review: The Smart Woman’s Guide To Planning For Retirement

January 29, 2014

According to a 2012 survey, 92 percent of women in the United States admitted that they aren’t financially prepared for retirement because they haven’t planned and saved for it. Many women may be procrastinators when they think about planning for retirement, while others may not want to think about it because they’re afraid to face […]

Linda Stortz, CPA

About Linda Stortz, CPA

Linda A. Stortz, CPA, AFC, is a personal financial counselor with Financial Freedom Coaching, LLC, which provides financial counseling, coaching and education in the Tampa Bay, FL area. For more information, go to www.financialfreedomcoaching.com.

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