There are few topics that make a preacher uneasy like talking about money does. I get it; it’s difficult to talk about money without sounding like you either A) are being judgmental or legalistic or B) are desperate to raise some cash for the church budget.
As a result, many pastors only talk about money and possessions in broad, general terms, or they shy away from the topic of money altogether. To avoid hitting the topic head-on seems so much easier than sweating through a sermon about money, possessions, and generosity. In fact, it’s easy to convince ourselves that a laid-back approach to the topic of finances is pastoral and compassionate.
This approach, however, is actually very unpastoral.
Finances, money, and possessions are very much on the minds of those who listen to your messages. If you’re like most preachers, every week you try to find a way to relate biblical truth to the real, day-to-day lives of those who fill your church each weekend. So why would we skip over the topic of money when it plays such a huge part in the lives of just about everyone you hears you preach? In fact, I would guess that there are times when people zone out of your message because they are so stressed about money and the bills they aren’t sure they’ll be able to pay that week.
So, here are five reasons why preachers should talk about money and possessions:
1) Discipleship and spiritual formation are tied to how we handle money.
As the saying goes, “Show me a person’s checkbook and I can tell you what they care about.” One of the hardest areas — if not the hardest area — to honor God in is with our finances. How we handle money reveals what we value. And to a certain extent, how we handle money reveals our devotion to Jesus. It’s not just about giving, either. What we do with our “disposable” income and how much debt we have says a lot about our self-control, patience, and what we believe is most important in life. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
2) It’s in the Bible. A lot.
It’s difficult to read much of the Bible without running into the topic of money and material possessions. In addition, several of Jesus’ parables focused on the topic of wealth. So if your goal is to preach from the Bible, you’ll likely cover the topic of wealth quite a bit.
3) The marriages of people in your church depend on it.
What a married couple argues about can predict their odds of staying married. And if a couple argues about money, there’s a good chance their marriage will end in divorce.
4) The people you’re preaching to are stressed about money.
A 2015 study found that 72% of Americans are stressed about money. And chances are, most of those people are looking for a solution. Why not offer solutions based on God’s Word? Preaching about money will help people understand that they aren’t alone and that there is a different way to live and handle money.
5) This world needs more generous Christians.
When Christians learn how to better manage their finances and build some financial margin in their lives, they tend to be more generous with their financial resources and possessions. We can’t expect people to be generous if we don’t help them find the tools they need to get there. For many people, the first step to being more generous isn’t just pulling out their checkbook; it’s getting their financial lives in order and changing their financial habits.
Chime in: What else would you add to the list?