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What to Do with a Surplus

FaithFi: Faith & Finance | Jun 17, 2024


Show Notes

You’ve been a careful steward, working hard, saving your money, and spending wisely. Now what?

Being able to live comfortably and afford the things you need seems like a worthy goal. Today, we’ll look at having a surplus from a biblical perspective.

Celebrating Financial Faithfulness

Maybe we don’t do this enough—speak directly to the faithful listeners who already follow God’s principles in their finances. You’ve been living with integrity and making wise choices with your money for years. Well, we’re talking to you today.

First of all, well done. Financial faithfulness is a big deal. It takes sacrifice, commitment, and patience. You’ve paid off debts, worked hard at one or more jobs, invested wisely, and built your savings. More importantly, you understand that everything belongs to God. Your responsibility is to faithfully and humbly care for what He’s provided.

As a Christian, you know the future is in God’s hands. Markets rise and fall, and your economic realities may change, but God is always faithful. You also know that following biblical financial principles is the wise thing to do. And now you find yourself with a surplus. What’s next?

You might think, “I don’t have a surplus – I’m just getting to where I can keep my head above water financially.” Let me clarify what we mean by a surplus. A surplus is any money God has provided above what you need to live. The late Larry Burkett calls it “prosperity.” He explains that prosperity can be a blessing from God or a trap from Satan, depending on how it is used. 

The Spiritual Danger of Surplus

Scripture warns that having a surplus can be more dangerous than having a need. If your surplus leads to a desire for more, it becomes a spiritual trap. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 warns, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

You might think it’s possible to focus on getting and keeping wealth and be devoted to God at the same time. But Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and money.”

If it’s dangerous to focus on getting rich and impossible to serve God and money at the same time, what’s the godly alternative? According to Jesus in Luke 12:21, we’re supposed to be “rich toward God.” When you value Jesus most, you place your trust in an eternal and imperishable treasure. God’s abundance offers so much more than worldly riches do—including power for living and peace in your heart.

God's Perspective on Financial Surpluses

So, what’s God’s perspective on financial surpluses? In 1 Samuel 16:7, we learn that “…the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Two things come to mind concerning how we manage a surplus. First, we are to be imitators of Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” How we use our surplus should reflect the God we serve. God is a generous father, faithful and sacrificial in His dealings with us. As a result, we are to be the same toward others.

Second, we must be “in the world but not of it” [John 17:11,16] in handling that surplus. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains that God’s power doesn’t follow worldly priorities. True power is displayed through self-giving love. Through the power of generosity, we can participate in God’s work in the world.

Planning for Potential Surpluses

When God blesses you with a surplus, it’s essential to see it for what it is—a physical blessing with a spiritual purpose. Larry Burkett states, “The important thing is to have a plan for the use of potential surpluses—planning before the money becomes available.”

Here’s a final word from 1 Timothy 6:17-19: 

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

Being financially faithful and handling surpluses with a heart aligned with God’s will allows you to experience true abundance—one that transcends worldly riches and brings eternal peace and joy.

On Today’s Program, Rob Answers Listener Questions:

  • God has always blessed me, and instead of paying 10%, I pay 11% off of gross. My question is, when I start receiving Social Security, is there a formula? Or to know what part social security has given us that we didn't put in ourselves?
  • I'm a 60-year-old man who retired from the military and still works for them as a contractor. I will collect social security between 66 and 67 when I max out because I am working, so I won't collect it at 62. My question is that I got in trouble with credit cards, so I’m wondering if I should pay that off now with a HELOC or pull it from my 401k. My IRA is no problem because it's a Roth. So they have no taxes, but my 401k is a mandated tax withdrawn 20% for federal 5%. Is there anything I'm not seeing in this conversation that you might be able to see regarding reducing the tax burden I'm about to encounter?
  • My wife is 47, and I am 46 and still working. We have over $100,000 in savings, and we’re looking for good ideas about what to do with the money.
  • I am turning 70 in October this year and have several IRAs. Do I have to cash them all in, or what is the deadline?

Resources Mentioned:

Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Faith & Finance is also available on the Moody Radio Network and American Family Radio. Visit our website at FaithFi.com where you can join the FaithFi Community and give as we expand our outreach.

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