Are you a renter or an owner? Or is there a third option? A lot of financial advice looks more like secular wisdom with a coat of Christian paint than a true rethinking of things from a Christian Worldview. “Spend less than you earn.” “Avoid debt” “Invest” Hard to argue with any of that, but at the same not exactly distinctively Christian either.
Now from a secular viewpoint…which is better a renter or an owner? It is pretty clear that being an owner is generally better in the long term. Besides that, it is common to talk about a “renter’s mindset” and that is never a positive thing.
Now, not all renters have a “renter’s mindset”… but in general:
- Renters aren’t tied to a place
- They don’t have any ownership and thus no “skin” in the game
- They will stay as long as it suits them, but they won’t invest in improving any situation since that is the responsibility of the owner…not them.
If we take the “renter mindset” and apply it to the church or family life or work…you can see that we don’t want to be “renters” in any of those areas.
But at the same time…an “owner’s mindset” might not be the best either. Do we really want to be owners in our church? Is that really a good thing? One indication that shows we might think we are owners is how many times the first person pronoun shows up when talking about the church (ie. My church, my plans, my room etc.)
And as I think about it more, I am not really sure that being an owner of my marriage is really the highest level that I can reach. Because although being an owner implies some positives things in comparison with a renter…it can also imply some negative ones. An owner can feel like they can do anything with what they own…good or bad.
But there is a third option that is uniquely Judeo-Christian…because it is a perspective that comes from Genesis. Genesis 1 tells us, that we were made for an incredibly special role…a role not of just a renter…and not an owner either, but of a steward. And not just a steward…but a steward of the God of the Universe.
Think of it this way…the importance of a person’s role is in direct relationship to the one they serve. A principle’s secretary has one level of importance…a secretary to the president of a college has another. And the secretary to the president of the United States has another. We…humanity, men and women…were made to be stewards of the Earth and all that it contains.
There is no higher role for us than that. Take a look at Genesis 1:26-28 when you have chance and note that we were made to image God…to be His physical representatives on this Earth…in effect to be His Vice-Regents and thus ruling over the whole world according to His desires and plans.
That kind of changes the whole financial question from the get go doesn’t it? The question isn’t so much, “What do we want to do with our money?” The question is rather, “What does God want me to do with what I have been given?”