God’s Master Financial Plan
Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:7-10; Luke 6:38
I. Introduction: Sometimes we know what the Bible says about an issue but choose instead to follow worldly wisdom. For instance, many Christians ignore the biblical principle of tithing. They rely on secular advice that cautions against generous giving. However, no financial scheme can compare to God’s master financial plan. If you and I tithe faithfully, the Father will abundantly provide all we need.
II. God’s plan differs from the world’s.
- Secular wisdom says to accumulate as much wealth as possible for selfish uses.
- Like a pond that has no outlet—and thus grows stagnant and slimy—such an approach to money is unhealthy. It diminishes a person’s quality of life and often causes friction within families.
III. The Lord wants us to be givers.
- We shouldn’t view ourselves as reservoirs, stockpiling money for our selfish desires, but as channels, willing to share with others. In God’s plan, believers receive in order to share.
- You and I can use some of our money for personal needs, but we should also give to our church, missions work around the world, and those who are hurting financially.
- Generous people are not only happier but also more peaceful and secure.
IV. The principle of giving and receiving:
- In Luke 6:38, Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure––pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
- Choose to view your bank account as a channel rather than a reservoir, and then watch the Father abundantly supply all you need.
V. What are the elements of God’s financial plan?
- The amount: Giving ten percent of our income to the Lord is a good starting point for biblical stewardship (Mal. 3:10).
- The portion: Don’t wait until you have paid all your bills before tithing. God’s people are to give the first and best of what we have (Prov. 3:9-10). Those who tithe see God’s miraculous provision for their needs.
- The place: The storehouse mentioned in Malachi 3 is the temple. As believers, we should give to the church.
- The time: Both the Old and New Testaments mention generosity (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Ten percent is a good place to start and was not intended as the final goal. The early church not only tithed; they sold their possessions and donated the proceeds (Acts 2:45).
- The purposes:
- To meet the needs in the temple: The priests needed money to maintain the temple, purchase supplies, and provide for their families. Christians today give to their local church for similar reasons.
- To demonstrate God’s faithfulness: When you and I trust the Lord in the area of finances, He provides all we need. Our faith increases and we grow closer to Him. The Lord teaches us about His trustworthiness through the practice of tithing.
- The results:
- Prosperity: Abundant blessing results from faithful giving (Mal. 3:10).
- Protection: When God is your financial manager, He guards your supply (Mal. 3:11). As you give, the Father generously provides all you need (Luke 6:38).
- Plenty: If money is tight, don’t try to figure out if you can afford to give to the Lord. Your budget might not work out on paper, but you will experience His provision if you will be obedient.
- Personal witness: Following God’s financial plan will bring you contentment, joy, and peace. The changes in your life provide a wonderful opportunity for you to testify about the blessings of obeying Scriptural principles (Mal. 3:12).
- The attitude: Believers should give willingly, not resentfully (2 Cor. 9:7). Don’t fall into the trap of hoarding money. Having more of it does not guarantee happiness or security.
- The penalty: You cannot violate the Lord’s commands without experiencing the consequences. When the Jews failed to give ten percent back to Him, God put them under a curse (Mal. 3:8-9). If you and I decide not to tithe, we can miss out on the four-fold blessing associated with giving: prosperity, plenty, protection, and a strong personal witness.
VI. What’s really going on when we hold back on our giving?
- Rebellion: The Father’s will is for us to return to Him a portion of what He gives us.
- Unbelief: The Lord promises to provide for our needs if we give scripturally. A refusal to do so indicates a lack of trust in God’s promise to provide.
- Covetousness: When someone fails to be obedient with finances, greed is often a motivator.
- Stealing: God grants His people the strength, intelligence, and ability to earn and invest money. When the ancient Israelites failed to give biblically, the Lord considered that equivalent to robbing from Him (Mal. 3:8).
VII. Conclusion: No financial plan is better than the one outlined in Scripture. When we give cheerfully, generously, and consistently, the Father blesses us. So put Malachi 3:10 to the test, and God will pour out a blessing beyond measure.