SBC Life Articles

How Much is Enough?

"By almost any standard of measurement, America is in trouble. … And many people do not understand that God has the answers they so desperately need."

Well-known author, financial planner, and Christian businessman Larry Burkett spoke to the needs of Christian families, especially regarding their stewardship before God, at the February Executive Committee meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Burkett teamed with officials of Church Stewardship Services of LifeWay Christian Resources in announcing a new stewardship emphasis: How Much Is Enough? 30 Days to Personal Revival.

The emphasis is designed to "capture the attention and imagination of thousands of believers during the first quarter of the year 2000," Gary L. Aylor, program director for the LifeWay group, told the Executive Committee in introducing Burkett, president and founder of Christian Financial Concepts, Atlanta.

"In the areas of identity, priorities, personal financial management, and in planning for the future we can clearly see the evidence of a society gone terribly awry," Burkett said. "People grapple with serious life questions that demand plain answers. The first place a person or a family should turn for help with life questions is God. But somehow, by neglect, or ignorance, or misplaced priorities, many Christians are not aware of the Bible's clear direction on these issues."

The stewardship emphasis combines the resources of five Southern Baptist Convention agencies. LifeWay, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Annuity Board, and Woman's Missionary Union sponsor the month-long study designed to involve the church family – adults and older youth. Once during each of the four weeks of the study, people meet in small groups to discuss the questions and explore answers. The small group time will conclude with a short video clip, exploring biblical concepts with a summary by Burkett. At the close of the study, there is a special all-church celebration planned, giving thanks for the life-change and personal victories that occurred during the study.

Burkett said in a typical church of 100 families, thirty-seven families give nothing to their church.

"If you change the heart, the giving will follow," Burkett said. "Where we spend our money tells where our hearts are. Giving is truly a reflection of what's in our hearts."

LifeWay officials said the first quarter of 2000 was chosen because "what better way to begin the new century than with a new, or renewed, commitment to living out biblical principles which stand in stark contrast to the world system."

Burkett told Executive Committee members 50 percent of all new marriages fail. Of those, he said, 60-80 percent cited financial problems as the root cause.

"Eighty-percent of Americans owe more than they own," he said. "Christians pay more in interest (9.8 percent of income) than they give (Southern Baptists give 2.3 percent).

"Christ said the greatest threat to Christianity is not drugs, sex, murder, rape, or even politicians! The greatest threat is materialism," Burkett said, paraphrasing Matthew 6:24. "People spend more than they earn, about $1.10 for ever dollar earned."

Burkett said he hopes the new emphasis would help "swing the tide back in the right direction in the local church."

The study, available following its introduction to the SBC annual meeting in Atlanta in June, includes a daily interactive study written by Kay Moore, Richmond, Va., author and former editor at LifeWay who also has been a newspaper editor and reporter.

Burkett's ministry is dedicated "to teaching God's principles for financial management." He is heard on more than 1,100 radio outlets worldwide and is the author of more than fifty books on finances. A Southern Baptist, Burkett is a member of Blackshear Baptist Church, Oakwood, Ga.

    About the Author

  • Herb Hollinger