Most Catholics don’t realize how much the Bible says about money and possessions. They may know that Jesus talks about the danger of riches or the need to care for the poor, but when they are told that the Bible has over 2,500 verses dealing with money, possessions and basic stewardship principles, they are shocked.
People typically separate the financial and spiritual aspects of their lives. This separation is similar to the mercenaries who fought in the Crusades during the 12th Century. Because it was a religious war, the mercenaries had to be baptized before they went off to fight. When the mercenaries rode their horses into the water for Baptism, they held their swords high above their heads, out of the water. In effect, their swords were not baptized. They were saying that God could control their lives, but they were in full control of their swords.
Many people today hold their wallets high above their heads (out of the water so to speak) indicating that they will give their lives to God, but they remain in full control of their finances.
Yet at the very core, everything we have (including money and possessions) comes from a good and gracious God and it is our responsibility to care for all the blessings that God has bestowed on us, including money and possessions.
The Compass Catholic nine-week Bible study, Navigating Your Finances God’s Way helps people make the transition from “This is mine” to “It all belongs to God.”
The Navigating Your Finances God’s Way Bible Study is nine weeks long, meeting once a week for two hours. In preparation for each weekly meeting the participants read Bible verses and do personal financial exercises. No personal financial information is ever shared in the group meeting. The meetings center on discussions about the Bible verses.
Prior to the first meeting, the participants read Your Money Counts, which is the discussion topic for that meeting (The eBook version of Your Money Counts is available for free from the Compass Catholic website.) This first meeting focuses on helping the participants to know each other.
In week 2, the focus in on the difference between God’s Part and Our Part. The Bible verses for the second week help people realize that God owns everything and are simply his stewards.
Recognizing God’s ownership and trusting him to provide for our needs (not our wants) is one of the first steps in becoming a steward of all God’s many blessings. We are called to be faithful with what we have been given, whether it is a little or a lot and we are required to be faithful in every area.
When we learn and live these principles we can develop a more intimate relationship with Jesus. Having our finances in order often leads to a stronger marriage and as parents we are called to teach our children the things they need to know about living a faith filled life—which includes how to manage money and possessions.
The topic for week three is debt. The discussion centers on what is considered debt and how the cost of debt can act as a vulture to family finances. The Bible never defines debt as a sin, but being in debt is considered a curse. This week’s topics also include co-signing, credit reports and credit scores.
Honesty and counsel are the topics for the fourth week of the study. There is a big difference between what the church teaches about our call to honesty versus how society treats honesty. It’s the difference between being technically truthful without being totally honest.
Counsel is the second topic in week four. None of us knows everything, so when making important decisions (even financial decisions) we should seek godly counsel from the Scriptures and Church teaching, our spouse and godly people. We must be careful when seeking counsel from someone who will have a financial gain or loss depending on our decision. We should always avoid the counsel of people who do not know God, unless we are seeking facts (not counsel) from them.
In week five, the topic is generosity. We explore what the Bible, the Catechism and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have say about how much we have to give. The social justice aspects of giving to the poor and needy are included in this discussion.
If we truly believe that God owns everything and we are simply caretakers of what he has given to us, then it changes how we think of giving. The question to ask ourselves is not “How much of MY money do I have to give God?” The question becomes “How much of GOD’s money to I need to keep?” which is a much different perspective.
The role God plays in work is the topic for week six. Our attitude about work means viewing our work as a way to serve God and use the talents and skills he has given us. We talk about the responsibilities of both employees and employers. Other work issues are discussed, such as the benefits or negative aspects on the family when both parents are employed outside the home.
In week seven we discuss the balance between saving to care for our family and accumulating wealth simply to become rich. The purpose for savings as well as what Scripture says about saving and investing are discussed.
Week eight focuses on being prepared for a crisis, as so many crises have a financial impact. The study also touches on the proper perspective for stewards. Stewardship does not mean we have to be poor, not does being God’s steward mean he will bestow riches on us. Stewardship is about being faithful in all ways, and content with what we have, whether we have a little or a lot.
The final week of the study is week nine where we discuss eternity. “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36) We are pilgrims on this earth, and our real citizenship is in heaven. This week sums up the other weeks in a call to action to be a good steward of God’s blessings.
The small group environment of the study builds deep friendships, a better understanding of how to integrate our faith into day-to-day life and a profound appreciation for financial stewardship.
The study is available in both English and Spanish and both have an imprimatur from The Most Reverend John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando. It’s for everyone, young or old adults; single or married; working or retired; financially stable or just scrimping by each month
Listen to the Compass Catholic podcast and learn more about this life changing experience.
Call us at 844-447-6263 or use the contact form on the Compass Catholic website today to get help in starting a Navigating Your Finances God’s Way study.