Steward Your Stimulus Check Wisely
Many Americans received their stimulus checks last week. If you haven’t received yours yet, it will be arriving soon. What will you do with this money? Invest in the stock market? Finish that home remodel project? Buy a nicer TV?
As Christians, we understand that everything we have belongs to God, including our money (1 Chron 29:11-14). We are not owners, but stewards who will one day give an account of what was entrusted to us (Mat 25:14-20; Luke 16:1-13; Luke 19:11-27). You will answer to God for how you use your stimulus check. Therefore, the question is not, “What do I want to do with this money?” but “What does God want me to do with it?”
So, what does God want you to do with the money?
First, let me say that this article was not written primarily to persuade you to give more money to Life Point. God is already taking good care of us by means of your generous giving. Praise the Lord!
Second, let me be sure to say that no one can make this decision for you. This is a question for you to decide with the help of the Holy Spirit, with a submissive heart and an open Bible (Rom 14:5; 2 Cor 9:7).
That said, may I offer some suggestions as to how to steward your stimulus check wisely?
1. Pay Your Bills.
Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” God is not honored when Christians fail to honor their financial obligations. Just because you will not be evicted or have your utilities shut off does not mean you can ignore your bills. You lived in the house, you used the electricity and water, so you owe the money!
Also, remember that your landlord, the people who work for your utility companies, etc. have needs as well. If you do not pay your bills, they don’t get paid either. Christian love demands that we do everything possible to fulfill our commitments.
Some people will need their stimulus checks in order to pay their bills and provide for their families. However, others are in a situation in which their incomes have not been significantly affected. Let’s be honest: it’s exciting to receive $1200 free money from the government, but many of us don’t really need it. What should I do with it then? Might I suggest giving it away?
That may seem radical at first, but really, it’s not. First, we’ve already established that you don’t really need the money. Second, even many unbelievers are giving their stimulus checks to charities. Shouldn’t Christians be all the more generous, seeing we have been given the ultimate gift (2 Cor 9:15)? Third, the first $300 that you donate from your CARES check is 100% deductible on your 2020 taxes if you take the standard deduction.
But these are not the most important reasons to give some or all of your CARES check away. Let me provide you with four more reasons.
1) Giving pleases God.
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
2) Giving pleases you.
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35
3) There are others who need it more.
“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, ‘He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.’” – 2 Corinthians 8:13-15
4) Giving is an eternal investment.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
If you are looking for places to give, here are some suggestions.
- Your local church – The “firstfruits” of your stimulus check should go to the local church regardless of what you do with the rest of the money (Lev 27:20; Hag 1:3-11; Mat 23:23). However, you might consider giving more to your local church, as well, for the following reasons. 1) Giving may be down as a result of the pandemic, and the church still needs to pay its bills, including staff salaries and missionary support. 2) The church often knows who in the congregation and which missionaries have needs and is able to direct resources to them through the missions and benevolence funds.
- Various parachurch ministries – Many parachurch ministries are really hurting right now. Christian camps do not receive income if campers are not attending. Evangelists don’t receive support if they aren’t holding meetings. Christian schools and colleges are dependent upon tuition income in order to pay their expenses. There are other kinds of parachurch ministries doing great gospel work as well. These ministries fill important needs and the people working for them are precious servants of God who are already living on very tight incomes. Consider blessing one of these people or the institutions they serve with part of your stimulus check!
- People you know who are in need – That single mom in your church, the family who has been unable to receive unemployment, the family member who was already living on a low wage income and now is without a job–God wants us to help these people! Over and over again in His Word, God tells us to care for the poor and the needy (Prov 19:17; Isa 58:6-8; Mat 25:32-46; 1 Tim 5:3-4; James 2:15-17). This is very important. Additionally, it is possible to combine meeting physical needs with evangelism. Giving to a person in need could be a great way to open a door of evangelism with them!
In short, if you don’t really need your stimulus check, consider giving it away!
3. Invest for Future Ministry.
For some families, the best use of these funds may be some kind of investment. That may include investing in the stock market so that you are better prepared to provide for yourself in retirement, refinancing your home so that you can get out of debt more quickly, saving up for a down payment on a home, investing in a family business, doing a home improvement project, putting the money away in a children’s college fund, buying a new used car to use for transporting people to and from church or other events, or any other number of things! None of these pursuits is wrong or sinful! Nor is it even necessarily wrong to spend the money on something you just want! But make sure that in all of these things, you seek the Lord’s will through His Word and honor biblical priorities. Remember, “My worth is not in what I own.” Or, as the old chorus puts it, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue”–or at least, they should be!
We will all be receiving stimulus checks shortly. How will you steward yours?