My Views on A Sensitive Topic

I have my favorite songs, my favorite hymns, my favorite book of the Bible, and my favorite memory verses. I doubt yours are the same as mine because favorites are a very personal choice and topic. But as Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation my role is to motivate, educate and facilitate stewardship and generosity. I have been blessed to attend more than twenty Journeys of Generosity as either the facilitator, co-facilitator or host. I have attended Financial Peace University and have been studying and teaching the Biblical view of money and personal finances for years. I teach and help with finances and estate planning, so I have some qualifications even if I am not seminary-trained.

There are over 2,300 verses on money, wealth, finances, and possessions in the Bible, so narrowing them down was hard. These are the passages (I just can’t do verses and leave out the context and blessing of surrounding verses) that have impacted and taught me the most.

#1  It’s all His

Psalms 24:1-2
1  The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2  for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

This passage and concept are foundational to the topic of stewardship. This two verse passage, along with 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Acts 17:24-25, and Revelation 4:11 (there are many other similar verses and passages in the Bible) show God’s sovereignty and ownership and establish that we own nothing; He owns it all. In fact, common sense shows we own nothing permanently because quite literally, we can’t take it with us.

Once you grasp the reality that you are not an owner but only a steward of God’s money, everything about money and wealth changes. Think about it. God created the heavens and this earth (and all the other planets too). He gave you life, even knowing your form and future while you were in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13-17. He has a plan for you and your life. Jeremiah 29:11-13. He is responsible for your waking up this morning, and every morning, and He determines your life and your limits. Job 14:1-6.

So, God is the Creator and owner. That makes us stewards, managers of His property.

We have responsibilities as stewards. See the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30. But at the same time, knowing that God is the owner is freeing. He is infinitely greater than our government, than a recession, and He has no difficulty in overcoming a bad turn in a business or at work. It’s all His anyway and we have stewardship over it only because He gave it to us as a gift. Often, I have felt that I “earned” something or that it is mine because I worked hard for it. But I have no answer for the truth of King David:

1 Chronicles 29:12
12  Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.

I did work hard for what I have, but He made that work and my successes possible – all of them.

I should be humbled that I am precious enough to have life and the things I do have, conscious of my total dependence upon Him; thankful for His love for me and generosity to me; worshipful as I recognize that the enemy would use God’s gifts to me to pervert my attitude and my relationship to Him, and generous back to Him and to others.

That is why these two simple verses are so important to me.

#2  Try it, I dare you!

Malachi 3:10
10  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

This is a controversial passage because it is in the Old Testament and many people love to point that out and say it no longer applies because we are no longer under the law. Rather than argue that point, see our Blog article Does the New Testament Teach Tithing? (5/29/18). I am willing for you to stop tithing and be generous instead. See also More on the Tithe – Tithes and Offerings 1 and More on the Tithe – Tithes and Offerings 2. God has given me life, as well as a place to live, a great profession and job, a wonderful family, and, best of all, an opportunity to join Him in His mission to a lost world. God’s generosity to me is astonishing and far outreaches anything I could ever give back.

But I will give back, whether called a tithe or an offering of thanksgiving, and frankly, 10% isn’t enough. As many people do nothing and give nothing, lost people are dying and going to face an eternity in hell without God. It is so easy to give back to God. Try it, and you will discover that just as God redeems the time, He also faithfully provides your needs. Once you have tried it, you will discover the joy of generosity – we did!

God has been so generous to us and has so fulfilled Malachi 3:10 in our lives that I somewhat jokingly say I have never given anything to God. The truth of that lies not just in the fact that it is already His (even though that is true), but in the fact that whenever we have given to Him, He has always given even more back to us.

The story of Robert G. LeTourneau tells an even greater example than my own life. His life exemplified what Christian generosity should look like. He went broke during World War I and again in 1927, but then, as he committed himself to God, even through the Great Depression his business grew tremendously. At that time, he and his wife committed to the unheard of; they became reverse tithers; they kept 10% and gave 90% to God. His most famous statement about that was “I shovel out the money and God shovels it back – but God has a bigger shovel.”

RG LeTourneau and I have both been blessed by God’s shovel. Everyone should try it!

#3  I will meet your needs

Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Think of a few things you rely upon … your car (which breaks down), your investments (which go up and down like a roller coaster), your job (let’s not go there since as an attorney I represented many employers), and those high school friends you were going to remain close to forever. The things of this world are very temporary and uncertain. The one constant, at least for me, has been God.

God has not always done what I wanted (He is sovereign and I am not), but I have been able to look back over time and see that His choices were better than mine in that long run. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, Hebrews 13:8, and I have found through experience that He is worthy of the trust I have given Him.

But at times there has been a problem in my thinking. He didn’t promise to give me “all my wants,” only “all my needs.” It is painfully easy to shift what I want into my “need” column simply because I want it a lot. Certainly, that happens in our world a lot as, for example, a cell phone has gone from a rare luxury to a social necessity in a very short period of time. But when I look back and I am honest with myself, God has always met my needs – and then some.

#4  Here is why you have all that you have

2 Corinthians 9:11-13
11  You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
13  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

Even though I had read this passage many times, I had never closely examined what God was saying to me. Then, in 2017 I attended my first Journey of Generosity and we did an inductive Bible study that included this passage. It was like a light turning on. I know I had read these verses, but I had never broken down the amazing message of these verses and thought about what they mean and how they apply to my life.

In these verses God told me:

I will be enriched in every way.
So that I can be generous on every occasion.
So that God’s generosity (not mine) can be seen and be reason for thanksgiving.
Service to God supplies the needs of God’s people.
And it results again in more expressions of thanksgiving to God.
I demonstrate to God my faith and obedience through my service and sharing.
That brings praise to God.

That is an amazing sequence of statements about why God blesses us with wealth and possessions. It isn’t for our benefit, for us to feel secure, or for us to hoard. It is all about Him and His glory.

That has served to loosen my grip on what I used to think was “my stuff.” It isn’t mine, and I have been told why I have what I have – to use it for God’s glory here on earth.

#5  Money does not bring contentment

1 Timothy 6:6-10
6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Contentment is something I see as sadly lacking in the Christian world and even in my own life at times. If we were more content with what we have, wouldn’t more prayers both begin and end with thanks and be filled with praise rather than sounding like a wish list of needs and wants?

Contentment is a matter of the heart and I am not the judge of people’s hearts, but I do hear their words (and my own) and those words are often anything but words of contentment.

How do we reach a point of contentment? It is a matter of trust. Knowing God is good, that He loves me, and that I have an amazing eternity ahead with Him is enough.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10
9  However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

#6 – The bonus verse

Acts 20:35
35  In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I love this verse because so often only a small part of it is quoted. Most times I hear someone cite to Acts 20:35, all they are referring to is “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Most times I hear someone mention or quote that verse, that is the only part spoken. But there is a lot more to Acts 20:35 than just that one statement. Paul is addressing the leaders and elders of the church of Miletus and he knows he will never see them again. He is reminding them of his faithful service and that he worked and didn’t receive money for himself – he was a true servant in every sense of that word. Why did he do that? He was showing them by his life how they should help the weak. The Greek word used by Paul for the weak is asthenount?n, which includes the ideas of weakness, being feeble, and even being sick.

Paul lived a life people could learn from just by watching him. Yogi Berra is quoted, “You can observe a lot by watching.” We need to learn as well as observe. Paul gave people a lot to observe, but most of all, a life fully committed to God and to his Savior, Jesus. That is a great example not just to observe but to follow. 1 Corinthians 4:16.


These verses have revolutionized my financial life and have made me financially free from the rush of emotions, mostly negative in nature, as the stock market rises and falls, things break and have to be repaired or replaced, and prices rise. And notice, I said financially free and not financially strong or financially independent. I will never be independent of God, but prayerfully I will always be financially free from worry. Join us and learn more. Give the Idlewild Foundation a call at (813) 264-8713 and learn about the joy of generosity and financial freedom.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.