By Ryan Gomendi, September 2020
*The following is part of a series called “A Changed Perspective” to challenge the way in which we view the world, culture, people, and places from a biblical perspective. Undoubtedly, for Christ followers to live in the world but not be of the world is a challenging task, but with humble spirits, teachable hearts, the Word of God, and His Spirit that lives within to guide and lead us, He allows us to be part of His redemptive work in the world around us.
This particular blog was written by a dear friend and brother in Christ who served as a pastor for 8 years prior to becoming a Financial Advisor with Strategic Retirement Plans. One of the things I love about Ryan and the company they work for is their intentionality of advising people through the lens of “stewardship.”
For whatever reason, God wired me, Ryan, to be a financial geek. Sometimes it feels like I can’t even help it. I love to help people look at their financial picture and engineer a plan in place to steward those resources well.
Why do we believe stewardship is important?
The very beginning of the Bible starts with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Well, if God created everything, then everything belongs to Him! All the stuff we own, every dollar in our bank account, our entire lives – ultimately, they belong to God. And He asks us to use those resources for His glory. This is the root of what stewardship means. It guides our personal finances, as well as how Gabe and I help others manage theirs.
In our professional and personal life, we have found that if we can help people properly steward their money and property – understanding that it is His money and not theirs, great peace comes upon them. I worked as a pastor in a church in Billings for eight years before transitioning to a full-time financial advisor. One of the top areas we would see conflict for congregants was with their finances. We would have congregants and others stopping in weekly, if not daily, who could not find the resources to pay bills and would need help. We would also see countless marriages in very unhealthy places with finances being one of the top areas that caused discord among couples. Statistically speaking, 1 out of 4 marriages end in divorce because of finances! If you can educate people and encourage them to embrace biblical stewardship, it can literally help marriages stay together and empower individuals to escape the bondage of debt.
At the heart of why I am passionate to help people be great stewards is because we see how peace in this area can bring stability and joy for people. We believe how you interact with your money is way more important than how much or how little you actually have. As we work with people teaching them not be fearful or greedy with their money, and instead feel empowered and generous with it, then we truly see joy in people’s lives. We understand that every client we work with has different goals and is on a different spiritual journey than the next, but, over and over again, our team has been able to watch our clients experience a deep sense of peace that comes about as they learn to be healthy stewards.
We have seen people with millions and millions of dollars, way beyond what most of us could ever imagine, live in absolute fear of running out of money because they have never learned to interact well with it. In Christian terms – to trust God with it. We also have seen clients with very little to their name, who tithe faithfully and beyond, yet have an incredible peace about their financial future because they have learned to trust Jesus with every penny. We literally get to see God’s principals on stewardship play out in people’s lives as they give that area to Him. Amazing!
How can we implement the concept of stewardship with our money?
The first step we always take with Biblical Stewardship is gaining an understanding of who’s money is it? As Christ-followers come to a place of trusting Jesus as the owner, everything else begins to fall into place. The next step is helping people get on a budget, focusing on what kind of debt they have. Everyone needs to have a good understanding of what is coming in and what is going out with their dollars. We highly recommend Dave Ramsey for this part of their financial picture. Dave is fun, energetic, and to the point on what this area needs to look like. Get a budget and get a grip on debt. Once your budget and debt have a good plan, the building toward financial goals like a new car or down-payment on a house can begin. As those steps all get put in place, we can really begin to develop future financial goals like retirement. A lot goes into each one of the areas we focus on with financial management – budgets, debt, investments, and retirement – but it is worth the effort and commitment and is available to anyone who is willing to trust God with this area!
Having the privilege to serve the Lord as a Financial Advisor, I get the pleasure of helping people steward their resources and see the joy and peace that comes from taking care of finances well. As Christ-followers, we get to see firsthand His faithfulness when we trust Him in this area. Whether someone is making a $500/month stipend as an intern, or $400,000 year as a physician, God asks us to trust Him and even test Him with how we manage our money. I love helping people be great stewards of their resources as we know it honors God and brings great fruit and joy!
To connect with Ryan about this concept of stewardship, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.