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Ask Chuck: How should I spend my large inheritance?

Click here to ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

I inherited a significant amount of money this year. Although I am very grateful, I’m feeling the weight of responsibility to steward this well. I look forward to giving more to the Kingdom and want advice on how to please God with all my decisions.

Burdened by this Wealth

Chuck Bentley
Chuck Bentley

Dear Burdened,

First, I am so pleased to know that you are feeling the weight of this responsibility. The Bible does say that “to whom much was given, of him much will be required” ( Luke 12:48 ESV). Too often, when we receive a great blessing, we forget that it comes with great responsibility as well.

Second, I hope you have been regularly and cheerfully giving to God’s work before this inheritance and plan to continue this practice, and even begin giving more and more as you have expressed.

There are a number of Biblical principles and personal tips I will share with you to give you some guidelines for pleasing God.

An Eternal Perspective

God wants to spare us the sorrow that can accompany worldly wealth. “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22 ESV) He does that by asking us to trust Him enough to give part of it away. He wants us to let go of it. It sounds as if you understand that, but you must continually guard your heart.

God took a risk to bless us so richly. The risk is that we might fall in love with the blessings and forget the One who blessed. To minimize that risk, God designed an economy quite different from the world. It’s based on sharing, not hoarding or squandering. It is vital that we learn to be generous with others to avoid the dangers of trusting in our possessions. As we advance God’s kingdom by practical means, we experience true riches through giving.

We must avoid putting our security in the abundance that God has given us, and live with open hands to bless others and bring Him glory.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce…” (Proverbs 3:9a ESV)

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 ESV)

Pass the Money Test

I believe God gives each one of us a “Money Test.” He gives resources to us and will demand an accounting of how we use what He gives. He is interested in one thing: Did you use money for your own interests or His?

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11 NIV)

To those who pass the “Money Test” by remaining faithful to love and serve God and His purposes, the long-term rewards are defined as the true riches. These are the blessings of living according to God’s financial principles and enjoying both the present and eternal rewards for keeping our hearts faithful to Him. These are the riches that cannot be lost, stolen or destroyed in contrast to mere worldly wealth.

Care for the Poor

God wants us to serve those who are hurting, who are weak and who need hope and encouragement. Remember Peter, James, and John’s words to Paul when he returned after fourteen years? They accepted his sharing the gospel to the Gentiles, but added one request:

“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10 ESV).

Be Cautious

Proverbs 13:11 (ESV) says, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” Be cautious managing and investing your resources by surrounding yourself with Godly counselors that do not have a conflict of interest with the advice they give you. Be very slow, discerning and patient when deciding where and how much to invest. My tip is to avoid making any major purchases for a year. After the year is over, when tempted to spend a lot of the money you received, pray and ask God for His wisdom. Wait 30 days after you are at peace with the purchase and then ask yourself, “Can I live without this?”

Some of what I’ve mentioned here comes from my book, Root of Riches. I recommend you pick up a copy and read more in depth what the Bible says about money and possessions. I also recommend my friend Randy Alcorn’s book, Money, Possessions, and Eternity.

Thank you for writing. Let us know how we can help in the future. Happy Thanksgiving!

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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