One of the most important lessons you can teach the people of your congregation is how to invest their money purposefully. Yes, that means that the money of the people in your church should be invested in all five of Gods purposes worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions. Why?
Take a look at 1 Timothy 6:18-19: Tell people to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share whatever God has given them. By doing this theyll be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven. It is the only safe investment for eternity and they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well. (TLB)
Your people can invest in eternity by using their money for Gods purposes. Its secure. Its risk free. Its guaranteed interest. It yields dividends forever.
Since God has five purposes for your life, guess how many investment funds he has? Five. One for each purpose of your life.
1. We need to invest in Gods treasury fund (worship).
This is the one most of your congregation will know about tithing. We invest in the treasury fund by using some of our money to express worship.
Theres nothing we can give God that he needs. And God certainly doesnt need our money. But when we give an offering to God an undesignated, planned, and proportional offering where and when we worship were saying, God I love you. Thats the first purpose of life to know and love God. Youre planned for his pleasure.
The Bible says, Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income. (Prov. 3:9 TLB) We honor God when we tithe. Its an act of worship.
God wants your people to give to this fund before they invest in any of the other funds. Why? He wants their heart more than anything else. He doesnt want their money. He wants what it represents.
2. We need to invest in Gods mutual fund (fellowship).
God also wants us to use some of our money to encourage fellowship, to show love to other believers, to build relationships.
Anytime I give my money to God, it draws me closer to God. Anytime I give my money to another person, it draws me closer to that person. When I give money to people in my small group or I invest in my small group, I grow closer to those in the group. Anytime I go out and buy a nice card and write a note of encouragement in it, Ive just invested in the mutual fund. When another believer is discouraged and needs somebody to talk to and I take him or her out and pay for lunch, Ive just invested in the mutual fund.
Investing in this fund brings in dividends from elsewhere as well. The Bible says, When you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. (3 John 1:5 MSG) When we invest our money in developing relationships within the church, it points others to God. Investing in the fellowship of your church helps bring people to Christ.
3. We need to invest in Gods growth fund (discipleship).
The third purpose of life is God wants us to grow up spiritually. So God wants us to take some of our money and invest it in ourselves in personal and spiritual improvement. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:18, Grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (TLB)
There are a zillion ways to waste your money instead of using it to grow. But God wants us to use some of our money to grow spiritually, to develop skills, and to educate ourselves so that we can become the kind of person God has shaped us to be. The Bible says, Buy truth and dont sell it for love or money. Buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight. (Prov. 22:23 MSG)
Anytime we use our money to buy a Christian book or a CD that helps us grow, weve invested in this fund. Or whenever we use our money to take a class or to learn something that makes us more of what God wants us to be, were investing in our growth fund. And God is smiling because were using our money in the right way.
4. We need to invest in Gods equity service fund (ministry).
The fourth purpose of our lives is to serve God by serving others. God wants you to use some of your money to help people in need. God didnt put us on this earth to live for ourselves, to be selfish little clods. God put us here to make the world a better place.