(The following is a transcription from a video I recorded with Marcus Hall. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
Today I’m talking with Marcus Hall who wrote the book called Spiritual Wealth. It’s a guide to help you become a better manager of God’s gifts.
I like how he said there’s a 40 day journey to developing a stewardship mindset.
Stewardship is one of those really important topics for Christians when it comes to money. And I’m excited to discuss the meaning of stewardship with Marcus.
Before we dive in, I encourage you to check out the SeedTime Podcast!
On our Podcast, you can listen to my discussion with Marcus on Stewardship as well as many other episodes on other financial and faith topics!
Enjoy the transcript of our conversation below as we learn how to become a better manager of God’s gifts to us!
Bob Lotich: Like I said and I want to dive right in because this is a topic that is really important. And I think a lot of Christians just miss it. I also think there’s a lot to learn here. Which is why I’m glad you wrote this, but let’s talk first about stewardship as a whole. Can you give us your basic definition for what that means and what that means for believers?
What Stewardship Means For Believers
Marcus Hall: Stewardship as a whole, I believe, is meant to encompass everyday life. And I think it gets messed up sometimes in the way that it’s taught or not taught at all in churches. And that a lot of times we talk about stewardship when it’s time to raise money or pay off something or buy something. And so we get that, Oh my goodness, we’re talking about stewardship today.
And that is so not what God wants it to be in our lives. It’s not just about money. Money is a big part of it, but it’s not just about money. But it’s taking our God given money, our God given resources, our God given gifts and turning those back around to use for kingdom purposes in some way, shape or form. And so you can take any aspect of life and it’s something that God has gifted you with and be able to turn it back around, to share with someone and share in some way to bring glory to his name.
Bob Lotich: Yeah, that’s great. I love that. And you know, so I’m a father of three little kids and, uh, that’s been one of those things that since becoming a father, it’s like, wow, this is a big, really important area of stewardship that I’d never even considered before. Right.
Marcus Hall: That’s exactly right. And that’s what I try to tell folks and try to get them to understand is that listen as a husband, The family that, that God has gifted me with, with the wife, that he, the wonderful wife, uh, that he’s gifted me with the three kids, they are my responsibility to help mold and to help, uh, to help lead and the word of God. And that is, that is stewarding my family. I’m a manager of his gift to me.
Practical Ways To Become A Better Steward
Bob Lotich: Yeah. All right. So talk to me just practically speaking a little bit if you can, you know, cause we’re all on a journey here, you know, you’ve gone through a journey in this and we’re continuing to learn and grow in our faith and in this whole stewardship thing, practically, what ideas or what things have you done.
To just kinda move forward down this path and becoming a better steward of what God has entrusted you with. Is there anything coming to mind?
Marcus Hall: Well, I think from a couple of different aspects for my everyday life, it’s just becoming more aware of opportunities that I had before, but either I wasn’t in connection with the spirit, so I didn’t even recognize them.
Or I was, I hate to say selfish attitude, but in a place where I didn’t want to want to be bothered. With some of the extra, activity it may take or something outside of just myself and my everyday life in that I recognize opportunity, but just let it go to the wayside and what I’m trying to do, what I think I’ve gotten better at.
And hopefully that’s a sign of spiritual maturity on my side is seeing those opportunities and finding a way to work those along. But also looking and asking for opportunities. Where can I give, how can I do things that maybe I haven’t done before, uh, that can allow me to, to be a better steward for you?
Bob Lotich: Yeah, that’s good. So I have a handful of questions here. Just kind of picking through you know, cause essentially you have a 40 day devotional here. That’s pretty much what it is. And I love that all these little short chapters, but so, I have a handful of little questions I want to ask, but this is a question I get a lot when it comes to stewardship, when it comes to balancing.
How Much Should I Keep For Myself VS. How Much I Should Give
How much I should keep for myself versus how much I should give. I think we all, well, hopefully we all understand this isn’t a black and white thing and that I think God has different things for all of us. But curious how you would answer that question if somebody is asking, well, how much should I spend on myself?
Or, how do I figure out where to draw that line? Do you have any advice?
Marcus Hall: Well, first of all, I do let folks know that there is not a verse in the Bible that you can go to. That says, Bob, you are to spend X amount of dollars on your lifestyle during this month. It’s just not there. And that’s because he has given to each of us in different ways, in different amounts. Through gifts, through money, through whatever that may be.
He has decided for whatever reason that he has chosen to that we all have different lives in that way. But what I think can help in that situation is that, and I know in listening to some of your stuff, I know you, you deal with this a lot with, with folks that you’re talking to and helping along the path is that we kind of get the the siphon of how the money comes out of the bank account.
Spending Upside Down
Each month we get that upside down a lot to where if you’re spending on lifestyle first. And then you’re deciding, Hey, let me make sure that I pay my bills and pay my taxes because we don’t want to go to jail when the whole folks are, take our stuff away, but I’m doing those things. And then I’m spending on everything I want to spend on.
Well, you get to the end of the month and you haven’t given anything, you haven’t saved anything. And most likely if you’re living that lifestyle, you might even be at a negative cashflow at the end of the month. So you’re actually behind where you were before you got paid. A few weeks ago and the whole thing with this is that we have to invert that.
And for folks to understand if the spirit is guiding your life, there is not going to be certain amounts for each person that we can say, this is the rule, but you’re going to know if the spirit is guiding you that, Hey, let’s turn that upside down and say, instead of spinning a lifestyle first, let’s make that what we spend on what’s left over after we give.
After we save that, we pay our taxes, which we should be happy to pay on those things. Because the only way to grow and to reach your financial goals over time is to increase your margin. And the only way to do that is to spend less than what you got.
Yeah. And I think if you can start changing the attitude of what we look at as our focus and our mindset, it all comes back to mindset and perspective. That’s why I talk about a stewardship mindset. My website is stewardshipmindset.com for a reason. It’s all about focus and what’s important to us and how we’re looking at it.
What point of view are we coming from? And I think that helps tremendously.
Why God Cares About Small Things
Bob Lotich: Yeah, that’s really good. All right. So one of the chapters in here you were talking about the small things and yeah, let’s just talk about a little bit about that. Why do you think God cares about small things?
Marcus Hall: Well, I think he gives us the example in the Bible that says, listen, if, if you can’t handle the little things that I, that I gift you with, I’m not going to reward you with bigger things.
If you can’t handle your responsibility, think about a father and child relationship. And it’s so great. I lead a men’s class at church and it’s so many examples of the Bible come back to God and us as us and our kids as well. And so if my child is not showing responsibility and that they can’t show me that they can be trusted with what I’m giving to them.
I’m not going to give them more and trust them with more. And that’s God’s perspective too. I’m giving you examples and I’m giving you times in your life to kind of, to kind of try ya a little bit and for you to be able to see, Hey, can I trust you with what I’m giving you? Because what God has given us is very precious and that he’s given us the ability to, to share the kingdom with others.
Are you spending your dollars and your gifts and your resources in a way that pleases me? And it’s not just concerned about pleasing yourself.
Parenting And Trust
Bob Lotich: Yeah. And I think as you were saying, talking about this analogy, the father and son thing, I can’t help, but think like with my, with my son, six years old at this point, and, uh, he wants to keep riding his bike in the street and like, no, you’re gonna stay on the sidewalk.
And it’s this exact same thing. If you haven’t proven to me that every time you go out in the street, that you’re actually looking both ways. And so it’s incredibly dangerous for me, let you go out on the street and money is the same way. Like there is so much danger. That’s why the Bible has so many warnings against, well, just because it’s dangerous and it can destroy us unless we have that proper heart position with it.
And so anyway, it’s that analogy just seems really potent and strong.
Marcus Hall: How many times have you tried to tell your children, Bob? I just know better. I’ve been there. I’ve lived this. I made that mistake. I don’t want you to make the mistake too, and I don’t want you to get hurt. And the process as well. And that’s all God is trying to tell us is, listen, I’ve given you scripture.
I’ve given you all these warnings and all these principles, not rules, but principles to live by because there’s not the specific dollar amounts, but the principles to live by. And that’s the beautiful thing is whether you are black or white, older, young, married, or not, children are not married.
Everything that we talk about from a stewardship perspective in the Bible is good for you and it fits you. These are transcendent principles that were good a thousand years ago that are good today and will be good until Jesus comes back.
Everything Is God’s
Bob Lotich: Yep. Love it. All right. So this is another, just kind of the piece of the stewardship pie is Uh, you know, and for me, this was a revelation.
It hit home a long time ago. And so I tend to forget this, forget it, like, forget that some people don’t recognize this, but just this idea that, uh, it’s all God’s that everything is God’s, every dollar is his. And like we’re saying we’re stewards of it. We’re managers of the stuff that is not ours. And so what advice do you have?
Somebody who. It’s just kind of getting that aha. That revelation. And how do you practically apply that to day-to-day life? What does that look like for you?
Mindset And Focus
Marcus Hall: Well, I think again, you’re coming back to mindset and focus that we’re talking about earlier, when you change your mindset and you think about things from God’s perspective and him saying, listen, look at what I’ve allowed you to, to manage for the time being.
Here’s kind of the principles and the rules that I have for you that I want you to do with that. When we start getting outside of our own desires and outside of our selfish nature, because listen, my flesh is strong Bob. It knows what it likes. It knows what it wants, and it’s very natural. Because that’s the way we’re built and designed is to want to grab ourselves and do for ourselves and maybe not think of others first.
But when we think of God’s perspective, Jesus came to live a life on earth for a lot of different reasons. And one of those I really truly feel like was to show us that as he lived as truly man, and truly God, he gave us a perfect example of how we should live of how we should make decisions. And so even though he doesn’t give us every particular topic, every specific thing that you may go through.
There’s a lot of ways to infer racial situations. He went through that. You can see, this is how he would want me to act in the situation. He would want me to think of you first. He would want me to make sure that I am thinking of not just taking care of my family, but how can I, if that’s above and beyond what I really need, how can I use that for somebody else?
And it’s all about the perspective. I’m not talking about grand gestures where you’re going out and spending thousands of dollars on somebody. But it’s the simple things like buying a meal for someone, without them knowing anonymously, inside of the restaurant, doing something nice and extraordinary, it is amazing how much a small gesture can mean to someone.
Following Where The Holy Spirit Is Leading You
And if you are in a place where the spirit is urging you and prompting you, and you’re, you’re feeling that and understanding that, and then you’re able to sometimes take a very uncomfortable step. And saying, all right, let me see where, where he’s leading me. Cause it’s hard. It’s hard to get to that comfort zone, but man, let me tell you, I guarantee you blessings upon blessings when you get into that mode of what can I do next?
What Can I Do Next?
Because that’s where you’ll get to, what can I do next now? That’s how I think it goes into everyday life and that it becomes a part of who you are and it will rub off on everybody around you and they will notice something different. And just by you acting that way. And feeling that and acting on the prompting of the spirit, you are going to draw attention to yourself because people will ask you, what are you doing?
Why Are You Different?
Why are you different? Because that is different. Stewardship is different than what we’re seeing in this world. Doing something for somebody else is not the natural thing to see your do around our times.
Bob Lotich: Yeah. I remember reading in here, you talked about an example of that, where you were at a restaurant you saw a woman and you just felt like you were supposed to buy her meal without saying anything.
And so you just went and did it and, uh, and that’s like what you’re talking about, right? Just these little things. Where you get to be used by God and have that sense of satisfaction and the fun and the thrill that comes with it. Right?
Marcus Hall: Listen, you’re not supposed to sneak around and do a lot of things.
This is a pretty cool thing. If you’re finding ways to give, and you’re not doing it for the glory and you’re not doing it to someone else. And we’ll see, and I hate to almost use some of those examples because it sounds like you’re kind of patting yourself on the back, but I just try.
We try to give examples of what you’ve experienced in your life. Pick what it is that God is urging you to do and go do it because I promise you it is contagious.
Being An Example To Our Children
And it’s something that not only do you need to be doing, but that was important to me because on that example, my teenage daughter was with me as well.
And so it gave me a chance to explain to her when you, there’s kind of a, I’ll go back to the question you asked a little while ago at everyday life of how do I, how do you show this? I think part of the responsibility we have as dads and as parents is that we’re supposed to teach our kids what stewardship means as well.
And it’s through examples that are age appropriate when they can understand it, that they can get a feel for this must be something important to mom and dad. And so when you’re not here anymore and you pass on that life insurance money or that retirement money, you’re hoping they’re not going to blow it within a year or two, like somebody’s kids do.
And somebody families where it happens like that. You want to instill those values of what did mom and dad do. Oh, you know, throughout your life. And, you know, I give the example of my kids will never see me put money in an offering plate because I tithe online. And so it, they don’t even see that when they’re in church.
And so you have to be you have to be very attentive to how can I show them, how can I teach them different ways to do that?
Debt Elimination And Stewardship
Bob Lotich: Yeah, that’s good. All right. Let’s talk about one more thing before we wrap up here. So let’s talk a little bit about debt elimination and how this works in ties in with stewardship.
You know, cause obviously we live in a country where a lot of people have debt. So yeah. So what does that mean to you? How do these pieces connect and tie together?
Managing Our Resources
Marcus Hall: Well, I think it goes along too with how we’re managing our resources and if. If you are tied into a very large debt that you may have, whether it be a mortgage or credit cards or whatever the case may be, those are dollars that you can never get back that you’re paying towards this debt month after month, year after year after year.
And it’s limiting you to the amount of good that you can do with these resources and so many other ways. And we’re actually going through something at church right now is we’re paying off debt called the freedom campaign. And I love the name of that. Because once we get that eliminated, we have so much freedom at that point.
We have money that is now surplus to what we really need to be able to say, where can we go do good? And it is the same thing. And just being agile and just being able to, to, to move where the spirit prompts you and having that freedom to be able to do that. And I think it is, it is such a big deal to eliminate that from your life.
Because even though the Bible, it is not a sin to have debt. And I try to make that clear with everybody I talked to, it’s not a sin to have debt, but is there a truer verse in the Bible than the fact that you were a slave to the lender, as long as you have debt, and as long as you have a mortgage with that bank, you are a slave, you’re a slave to that bank because that’s your dollars have to go there first, or they’re going to take your house.
I mean, it’s pretty simple. And so you’re stuck in a situation and in everyday management, it’s trying to get folks to understand, listen, we didn’t get here overnight. But let’s make a plan that gets us where we need to be over time and start breaking that down and saying, okay, what’s our goals. And then start setting goals to get out of that situation so that we can get back to where we need to be, where we can then give more to retirement savings to giving or all the above and it’s, but it’s just having that freedom to be able to do that.
Bob Lotich: Yep. That’s good. All right. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to come hang out and talk about all this. So anybody watching, definitely go check out his book, Spiritual Wealth, great devotional. What are they seem like three or four pages per day. Super easy read. And by the end of it, you will be in a really good position with better understanding stewardship.