Sr. Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ (American, 1937?-), "O Root" (from the "O Antiphons" series). Of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Tags: Tree of Jesse. Source: http://csjstpaul.org/ansgar_holmbergs_o_antiphon_paintings.aspx; http://yokeofchrist.blogspot.com/2010/12/o-root-of-jesse.html

Day 2: A Stewards Mission Statement

Components of Stewardship

There are two critical qualities of a steward: detachment and wisdom. Though a caretaker is intimately involved in the affairs of his master, he must never begin to think the possessions he watches are his own. He cannot allow himself to consider that he deserves all he oversees and to duh himself the rightful title owner. Only when the steward is completely detached from his master’s belongings is he able to determine how his master’s property can he used most productively. And the quality of wisdom ensures that a steward gives priority to what is most important to His master.

Read Mark 10:17-22

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Why did this man come to Jesus?

What kept the man from obtaining eternal life? Check one.

Disobedience to the law

Attachment to money and possessions

Failure to honor his father and mother

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Why did Jesus tell the man he must sell his possessions to inherit eternal life?

Depressing. The young man had just looked Christ in the eyes, and though no words were spoken, he made his answer clear. His attachment to money and possessions twisted his decision making so much that, although he looked directly into the face of salvation, he turned and walked away. The primary rules of stewardship had been broken Here was a man without detachment and wisdom.

After Jesus told him to get rid of his wealth, the man went away grieving. Jesus’ words broke his heart. He could not envision a life without all of the luxuries to which he had become accustomed. On one side of the scale were earthly riches; on the other side stood Jesus And he made his choice. The attraction and comfort of wealth were too strong for the young man.

Identify a time when money or a material possession distorted your priorities.

How did God bring clarity and help you restore balance?

Your Financial Statement

The survey indicated that many are in dire need just to get the basics in order. We can’t know your greatest financial needs. Maybe you need to get out of debt or save for retirement. Instead of taking a more traditional path of setting up a budget and making long-term financial plans, you will begin by deciding your financial purpose. By now you understand the importance of creating a mission statement that sets the direction for each critical area of your life. Whatever your financial situation, your statement must be piloted by stewardship. Stewardship will guide you through the movement, alignment, and focus phases until you have simplified your financial picture. You will approach financial issues as a steward of God’s resources.

Need to Be addressed.

The NOW [0-10 years]. These financial concerns will impact our immediate to 10-year time horizon. Some of these concerns may he bills, credit cards, short-term loans, or emergency funds.

The Future [10+ years]. These decisions will affect our lives beyond this decade. For many people these include retirement, college funds and mortgages

The Far Future [your legacy]. Proverbs 13:22 indicates that the finale of one’s relationship with money comes at death:

A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous (Prov. 13:22).

When we pass away, we can leave an inheritance for the next generation. Sometimes this consideration doesn’t make it into financial planning but it is imperative for Christians. Even in death we demonstrate our love for others.

Of course, as we move through life, our financial concerns evolve. The decisions for the Future, such as retirement and advance fund planning, may become part of the Now as they develop into an immediate concern. As circumstances change, so will our finances.

Before developing your financial mission statement, list and rank your financial goals in the following categories. This is the time to paint your ideal financial picture. Have fun with it, hut he realistic. That 55-foot yacht can wait until you tackle some more important issues.

The Now:

The Future:

The Far Future:

Recall Josh from the video yesterday. The contemplative coffee drinker knew his finances were out of control. He felt the despair and stress of an increasingly overwhelming burden from past financial decisions. Here is what he wrote:

The Now

Give back to God.

Pay off credit cards.

Have more available money each week.

Create an emergency fund.

The Future

Retire at 65.

Pay for kids’ college.

Be mortgage-free.

The Far Future

Have enough life insurance to Care for family.

Give each child $200,000 at death.

Have a will

Of course, if you are married, he sure to discuss and develop your goals together. You might he surprised to Find that your spouse’s big financial priority is not your own. A married couple should have only one list of priorities. Finances will continue to he strained if the couple can’t agree on priorities.

After you have categorized and ranked your priorities, it’s time to create a mission statement that allows you to pursue goals in each of those three categories. At this point you may he tempted to focus only on the Now, thinking that’s enough to deal with. But because of the evolutionary nature of each Financial category, your Future and Far Future priorities should he as much a concern in the present as they will he later. Now is the time to prepare for tomorrow’s needs.

Review your financial goals. Now write a financial mission statement that encompasses those goals for each era of your life.

The Now:

The Future:

The Far Future:

Josh knew his goal had to be attainable; he didn’t want to create further frustrations for him and his wife by creating an impossible goal. He also wanted the statement to have a deadline so that he and his wife would stay on course. Josh’s mission statement for the Now was:

I will start giving back to God, beginning at 5 percent of of my gross pay and increasing the percentage until I reach 10 percent, pay off my credit cards in I18 months, find a way within the next year to budget a life-insurance policy; and create an emergency savings fund of three months’ pay within. 24 months.

Remain flexible. If you find yourself achieving your goals before the allotted time, tackle the next priority on your list.

Of course, unexpected financial problems happen. This is another reason to keep your statement flexible. If a financial crisis arises, don’t give up. Adjust your statement to the situation, but keep going.

Remember, it all comes back to stewardship. God is the owner, you are the manager. It doesn’t matter whether you have a few cents or a million dollars-none of us deserve what we have. Everything we have is a gift, and we are the stewards of it. As you take the next step toward financial simplicity, use your mission statement to demonstrate that you are obedient as God’s steward and to guide you toward your goal. When you want to give up, remember that you have an incredible God who wants you to succeed, who wants to see you get out of whatever mess you may be in.

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