6 Ways to Leave a Legacy of Stewardship

Wise money management is an integral part of spiritual maturity. This is why Jesus used money as a metaphor in so many of His parables and teachings.

Using your resources shrewdly models wisdom and maturity for generations to come. It also provides a roadmap that others in your life can follow now.

People discover the joys of generosity as they see it modeled, and they make deliberate steps to grow in their own giving.

Being studious in the right use of your resources leaves a precedent to those in your faith community. And as they follow your example, your legacy grows.

Here are some ways you can model good stewardship:

1. Make smart financial decisions.

Often people are not taught to use their finances sensibly unless they seek out that training. If they want to learn how to be wise with their money, they can sign up for a class, attend a conference, or hire a financial advisor. But many people (including our children and grandchildren) do not take such a proactive approach.

This is why you need to model wise money management for them.

Because there are so many ways to misuse or squander assets, the people around you need help understanding how to recognize (or dismiss) opportunities. When they see you model thrift, wise investing, and charitable giving that is both generous and prudent, they learn to be thoughtful and intentional with their resources too.

2. Talk about long-term plans.

Much of the messaging people get regarding their resources is about short-term pleasures and quick financial returns. People tend to start thinking about the importance of planning for the future too late, and they find themselves regretting the years when they should have been planning more prudently.

It can be helpful in one’s formative years to see and discuss why planning for the future is critical for long-term happiness and peace of mind. When you come alongside young people and provide guidance in this area, it can assist them in thinking about their financial future.

3. Demonstrate the values of industriousness and resourcefulness.

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin said this about his father:

“[He] advis'd me to behave respectfully to the People there, endeavor to obtain the general Esteem, and avoid lampooning and libeling to which he thought I had too much Inclination; telling me, that by steady Industry and a prudent Parsimony, I might save enough by the time I was One and Twenty to set me up . . .”

Some folks have a natural tendency toward industriousness, but there are a lot of others who need to see it modeled. Many people compartmentalize work apart from the rest of their lives—but you can help younger generations overcome this by teaching them to look for opportunities to use their time, abilities, and resources as a way to increase their livelihood.

4. Exemplify generosity.

The value of increasing one’s income is not simply to grow a portfolio; it is also to create more opportunities for altruism and generosity. In many cases, benevolence is a behavior that is taught. People discover the joys of generosity as they see it modeled, and they make deliberate steps to grow in their own giving.

Modeling financial responsibility has value beyond setting others up to take care of themselves. It is a crucial part of ensuring that they have the means to give cheerfully and liberally. As they see you demonstrate wisdom in your financial dealings—in a way that is not ultimately about greed—they learn to see their resources as a means through which they can bless others.

5. Keep a right relationship with money.

As you exhibit a careful and intentional use of your resources, you train others to see their own assets differently. They begin to understand the responsibilities and opportunities that come with wise financial management. Ultimately, this gives them control over their possessions—and stops their possessions from controlling them.

Our everyday dealings with money create a tendency to worry, hoard, or spend carelessly. But if your loved ones see that your financial dealings emanate from spiritual convictions, you enable them to envision healthier relationships with their own resources.

6. Serve the right Master.

Jesus talks about the “deceitfulness of wealth” (Mark 4:19) and goes so far as to call money mammon—an idol that corrupts our ability to worship God with undivided hearts (Matthew 6:24). Money is necessary, but it has the potential to deceive us and corrode our relationship with God.

Younger generations are watching you: how will you deal with the tension?

It would be easy to assume that living in the world requires constant economic compromises. That is why it is imperative that mature believers set an example by navigating their own financial responsibilities in a way that keeps their eyes fixed on Jesus.

The church needs examples of good stewardship.

It is not enough to practice good stewardship for our own benefit. The church needs to witness examples of people whose spiritual convictions inform their financial decisions and practices. It is important to show them that wise Christian stewardship is more than an aspirational virtue—it can be a life-changing reality.

For some ideas on how to live a life of biblical stewardship, check out CDF Capital’s list of 20 Bible verses on money and stewardship.

Free guide: Ways to grow god's kingdom with your finances