What is Accounting?
Some of the most boring sections of the bible are sections that deal with accounting and clear record keeping of scarce resources. For example, the book of Numbers deals not only with accounting of the soldiers available, but of money, temple articles, land, loot and many other things. And I admit, it makes for some pretty boring reading, and yet it is some of the most important and practical information you can find as well. Many people think that to be spiritual you have to be spontaneous. But the Scriptures indicate that God not only values a plan, but also highly, highly values making an account of all that we have. Now because some of you are so skeptical about the need for plans, records and tracking, I thought that I should give at least a little motivation by showing that it is Biblical, it is important and that it relates to everything that we do.
But first of all, let me just define accounting in the broad sense of the term. Meigs and Meigs in their standard textbook on accounting say this,
Some people think of accounting as a highly technical field which is practiced and understood only by professional accountants. Actually, nearly everyone practices 'accounting' in one form or another on almost a daily basis. Accounting is the art of interpreting, measuring, and communicating the results of economic activities.
And they go on to point out how the use of any scarce resource requires accounting whether it is people resources or some other kind of resource. Accounting is inevitable. The question is, are we doing it well or poorly? And I believe that this is an essential ingredient to long term prosperity in the Christian camp. And not just financial prosperity. We usually think of accounting in the area of finances, but God wants us to be able to evaluate how much we have grown spiritually, how far our children have progressed on educational goals, etc. So a lot of you are already involved in accounting in the broad sense of the term. But Scripture over and over again calls upon us to record it. It needs to be objectified and not just held in the head becaues I think we are too prone to self-deception. We need to take inventory time, possessions, education and chores. If we are flying by the seat of our pants we won't be able to evaluate how well we have done.
In fact, I thought I would start this morning with a test. And I have kept it to 10 questions so that you don't have to write your answers down to know what percentage you are at. Give yourself 10% for each question that you can answer yes to. Or you can just raise a finger for each answer you get.
Do you have a will?
Do you know what your bottom line net worth is?
Here is one for time. Do you have a schedule that includes all the things that you are responsible for? And perhaps even a to do list that goes with that. But at least if you have a schedule you can give yourself 10%.
Have you been systematically working on your spiritual improvement and do you know what successes you have had over the past five years?
Here's one for health. And if any of the three parts of this question are true, you can give yourself a brownie point for the whole Health question. Do you have a record of immunizations, or (if you don't believe in immunizations) do you have a record of when each person has last seen a doctor or had their teeth checked?
Here's one for your shop, and my kids will laugh at me on this one because I often can't find my tools. But do you have a place for each one of your tools, and are they kept in good condition? If you don't have a shop you can claim this one if you have uncluttered closets, drawers and shelves where you can easily find things. It doesn't have to be as intensly organized as Kathy Krutz's kitchen is, but are they at least uncluttered and easy to find things in? Now don't be throwing tomatoes at me. We are just having a friendly agreement here that we all might need to improve on something. I'm just trying to find what that something is so that you can say, "Yes, this sermon is for me."
Have you removed unedifying books from your library and are you bringing an inventory of good books into your house? If you don't know what's in your library then this one doesn't count.
Do you have food inventories clearly organized or are you having to make multiple trips to the grocery store?
Do you either have a systematic Bible reading program so that you know exactly how much of the Bible you have read by the end of the year or if not do you have a list of prayer requests that have been prayed and when they are answered so that you aren't forgetful to thank God? Give yourself 10% if you can answer either one.
Do you keep an accurate accounting of all expenditures through your check book and/or your cash fund and can you find important documents? In otherwords, at the end of the year could you easily go through all your purchases and investments and evaluate whether they are wise or not?
How many people here got all ten? I was going to say that if you did, we're going to strangle you. No. If you did, you can still see if there are ways you can improve from this sermon, but you can pray for the rest of us who are still struggling. I think most of us need this sermon on accounting and record keeping very badly. I know I was convicted on this as I prepared. I've got areas I am committed to improving.
What Should be Accounted For?
But let's look at what should be accounted for. We've already read this morning about Ezra's careful accounting of the valuables he had brought from Babylon. But let me give you quickly a few brief examples of different kinds of things that we should account for.
Know the condition of your inventory (Prov. 27:23)
Turn to Proverbs 27:23. This is dealing with the importance of knowing the condition of your assets. Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. Four facts are relevant here.
First, wealth is not static.
Whether you have sheep on a farm or stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, you have to constantly be aware of the changes. Disease can wipe out a section of your herds in a very short time. There can be too many rams in a field, or the rams you selected may be genetically poor choice. No farmer can presume upon his riches.
Riches are not forever. Very few stocks that were available in the 1800's are still available today. So wealth is not static.
Second, this means that shepherds need to analyze their flocks.
One version has the second phrase as "pay close attention." The specific details of how many sheep you have, how many new lambs, what disease, which ewes are persecuting other sheep, etc are critical to a prosperous shepherding concern. So you have to have some way to analyze your assets, and accounting enables you to do so.
Third, it takes diligence to keep on top of the changes.
Actually it takes time. This Proverb doesn't say so, but time is the factor that keeps many people from getting organized. You've got to waste time on accounting to keep from wasting time and money and effort in other ways. So diligence.
The fourth fact is that this is a command. It is not an option if we are to be good stewards. Now you may not have sheep, but you need to be diligent to know the state of your house so that it doesn't come falling around your ears in fifteen years because you haven't been paying attention to the termites, weather damage etc. You need to know the state of your car and your other stewardship liabilities and assets.
Account for your labor (Prov. 24:30-34)
So it is important to know the condition of your inventory. If you turn back a couple chapters to Proverbs 24 we will see that is also important to allocate the scarce resource of labor - to have accounting there. It takes diligence to know, evaluate, measure and reallocate scarce resources for alternative uses. Proverbs 24:30-34 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding: and there is was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction; a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so our poverty will come like a prowler, and your want like an armed man. It takes constant diligence to preserve and to increase wealth.
Account for your time - Psalm 90:12
But we should not only account for our assets and our labor, but also for our time. In Psalm 90:12 Moses prays to God, So teach us to number our days… Two facts here. You don't just number the dollars that God has placed into your hand, but you need to keep an account of your time as well. This deals not only with planning and scheduling but also the whole area of efficiency. The second fact is that accounting of time needs to be taught. It doesn't happen automatically. Moses said, So teach us to number our days… We need to learn from those who are more efficient than we are how they have learned to manage this scarce resource of time.
Account for your troops
Numbers chapter 1 has an interesting thing that Israel was called to number or keep an account of, and it was all able bodied men over 20 years who were able to fight. It says, Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above - all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. If Moses was to marshal these men into battle effectively there had to an accurate measurement, evaluation and placement of the scarce resource of soldiers. And throughout the book they kept a detailed journal of how many new soldiers came in and how many soldiers died. Very careful accounting.
And that brings up an interesting point. Why are there several commands to give a census of every male over twenty, and yet David was harshly judged by God when he took a census later in his life? 1 Chronicles 27:24 says wrath came upon Israel because of the census… 1 Chronicles 21 records the story of the census and says that Joab knew that it was a sin and rebuked David for wanting to take a census. What's going on here? It almost seems like a contradiction. But its not. God had no problem with David keeping an accurate accounting of how many soldiers were in his smaller standing army. And it was a wise thing to keep a smaller standing army. But since all enemies had by this time been subdued, since it was a time of peace, and since there was no longer need for all Israel to be conscripted for battle, accounting for those men was no longer David's responsibility. Now here is the key point: accounting should be coextensive with all that you are responsible for. It is needed for accurate management and allocation of the scarce resources that have been entrusted to you.
Why were kings forbidden from taking a census of females or of males under 20 years of age? Because those weren't people to be managed and allocated by the government. It was none of the government's business. And for the same reason, during times of peace census was forbidden because it implied far greater powers and far greater control of the men of Israel than God had given to the king. It's just another of many Biblical examples that accounting must be coextensive with stewardship responsibility. When America takes a census of not only how many people there are in a household, but of how many bedrooms and bathrooms a house has, it is claiming by its accounting that it has authority over those scarce resources. Right? That's the issue.
Account for your health - Medical accounting
But there's other areas. Leviticus has many passages showing how we need to have careful measurements, analysis and reporting of infectious diseases. For example, on skin diseases the changes in color from day to day, the change in size and in the spread of the disease were all measured and reported to the priest. That's form of accounting and reporting.
Keep accounts of how many groceries you have on hand
Now this could get old if I gave you all the passages which speak of the various areas that need accounting, but let me give two more. Proverbs 21:20 says that we should keep accounts of what we have in store in our houses by way of groceries. In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. Do you have a fairly good record keeping system so that you aren't constantly having to go to the store? Or do you tend to go to the grocery store a couple times a week because you forgot something? That works against efficiency. It's just a far more efficient use of your time. Accounting and efficiency are partners who help each other.
Do you know where you are at spiritually (Rev. 3:16-17)
One more example: Revelation 3:says, Because you say, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' - and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked… Here was a church that was good at accounting when it came to finances, and they were well off, but they had never thought to apply accounting principles to their spiritual life. They did not know the state of their soul. And without spiritual accounting it is hard to know how much we have grown from last year to this year. That's why 1 Corinthians 11 calls us to spiritual self-examination before we come to the Lord's table, and why Galatians 6:4 says, But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another… It's easy to rejoice in the testimonies of others, but Paul says that he wants each of us to be able to rejoice in the progress being made year by year. Setting goals and each year evaluating how much progress has been made is a very encouraging thing. Even if you have only made 30% of your goals, you can rejoice that you have advanced.
So the bottom line is that financial accounting needs to be seen in the context of accounting for all of life. And the Bible has far more to say about accounting than we will take time for. For example, even in the New Testament, of the 40 some parables of Christ that I counted, there were 11 that explicitly deal with accounting principles and several more implicitly assume them. Accounting is not just for accountants. So even though I am going to be applying the rest of the sermon to finances, I want you to take the same principles and apply them to other areas of life as well. We are going to take the remaining minutes of this sermon looking at several Biblical reasons why it is imperative that we not only start accounting for our money and assets, but that we improve in our ability to do so.
Reasons why we must have an accounting system
We can't know what our increase is without accounting
The first reason is given in Deuteronomy 14:22. You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And there are other passages which speak of tithing cattle and other things. Now here is the question: How can you possibly know what to tithe on if you haven't been keeping track of what you put into the ground and how much you took out of it? It's only the increase that you tithe on. So if you put five bags of wheat into the ground in spring and you harvested 100 bags of wheat in the fall, you have to subtract the five bags from the 100 before you can calculate how much to tithe. Only the 95 bags was the increase. Or if you have a drought and you put five bags of wheat into the soil in spring and got back five bags of wheat in the fall, you don't have to tithe on that five bags. You would have no increase and therefore nothing on which to tithe.
You can't tithe on a herd of cows that aren't multiplying. If you did tithe on them year after year eventually you wouldn't have a herd. But it is more complicated than that, because the Scripture allows you to subtract what the locusts have eaten, or in the case of herds, what the wild animals have eaten. It allows you to subtract anything above 10% that the government taxes. You see, without accounting, you really can't tithe very intelligently because we don't know what the true increase is.
And Christ is interested in accuracy in the smallest details. It is not legalism. It is accounting accuracy. Have you guys ever tithed on your gardens? The Nolte's do. Matthew 23:23 says that we ought to pay tithe on even the spices that we grow in the garden. Jesus did not rebuke the Pharisees for their care on tithing on mint and anise and cummin. He said that they ought to do those things. But he rebuked them for being careful only on tithing and neglecting the weighter matters of the law. So in Matthew 23:23 Christ wants accounting on the smallest details.
So - the first reason for accounting is that without it we can't really obey God accurately in the tithe.
It forces us to live within our means (Luke 14:28-30)
The second reason is that it helps to force us to live within our means and to do so efficiently. I want you to turn with me to Luke 14 and we will look at a parable of Christ that outlines five principles that make for good accounting. Luke 14 and we will begin reading at verse 28. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it - lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, "This man began to build and was not able to finish." Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able to with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
Now Christ marvelously applies this to spiritual matters, but for the application to stick, the literal issues of accounting assets have to be valid as well. So let me draw out five issues of accounting from this passage.
The first issue necessary is clear plans. Accounting makes no sense if there isn't a purpose for the accounting. And so verse 28 says, for which of you, intending to build a tower… There's the plan. He intends to do something. Verse 31 gives another plan related to a king protecting the citizens of a country. He knows that fighting is not the only option for obtaining peace. His plan is, "How do I save the most lives, maintain the maximum amount of freedom and still stay on the throne?" And so negotiating compromises may be an option as well. But he has to know what is acceptable to the plan before he starts or he won't be in control, the enemy will. Noah had to use accounting, but it all fit into the plan God had given to him. Nehemiah's goals were to build the walls of Jerusalem. It was such hard work that he had to be completely committed to his plan or it would have been easy to get diverted by alternative plans suggested by Israel. That's what happens to us frequently. Last week we had a plan to use our money for this project, but then this week some other brilliant idea came along. Next week it may be something else. Children are frequently like this. They have a hard time saving up money for a $200 bike because during the long interval there are so many other tempting things that come along that divert them $10 here and $50 there. Which means that they have no accounting that is driven by a plan. So, for the building of this tower, there has to be a clear plan that a person is committed to.
Accurate estimates of costs and risk
Second, there have to be accurate estimates of costs and risk before you start implementing your plan. And the reason for these accurate estimates is to find out whether it is achievable or not, or what sacrifices need to be made in order achieve the goal. Economics according to Thomas Sowell is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses. Alternative uses: "I could be using this money on something else. Which is more important?" There will always be sacrifices when you allocate your resources toward a project because it means that those scarce resources can't be used on a dozen other things. And so there are more than economic costs. There are costs to your patience as other potential projects are put on hold. There are costs to your others desires because fulfilling this project means deferred gratification of our desires for other things. There are costs of time, human resources, and the goodwill of those whose vision is going to be blocked by this tower, and other intangible things. And so verse 28 says, For which of you, intending to build a tower does not sit down first and count the cost…. Accurate estimates of the costs and the risks involved are essential. Now no one knows the future perfectly and so it is impossible to be totally accurate. But the more accurate your estimates are, the more likely you will be to prosper.
The third issue is looking at what available assets you have. So you need to have a plan, secondly you need to measure the costs and risks and thirdly you need to know what assets you might have available. Verse 28 says that he has to figure out whether he has enough to finish it. Now you may be able to make guestimates in your head, but you can't possibly know what your assets will be over the course of a year without some system of accounting.
But it's not just assets, but precise timing which is also important. And so verse 29 says, lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish… In verse 32 we see the timing issue where the king has to figure out whether he is going to lose long before the other king figures out his weakness. While the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace… If the enemy is right on your doorstep, he is much less likely to be motivated to negotiate good terms with you on a peace treaty than he is if he is a long way off, has several other countries to battle, and can save time, money and soldiers for those other battles. When it comes to investing, debts, starting a business, etc., timing is absolutely critical to success. But to be able to make intelligent decisions on timing and how it affects the Return On Investment, you have to be able to do at least simple accounting. You can't have good timing without at least rudimentary accounting.
Public reputation or credibility
And finally, there is the public reputation and credibility that you have. People who aren't used to accounting for their time, their employees, their resources, etc are constantly making promises that they can't keep, they are behind schedule on their projects or simply can't do it. Actually, Keith has had the frustration of dealing with a subcontracted company that is that way. In verses 29-30 it leads people to mocking this contractor. Do you think he is going to be a contractor that will get a lot of business in that town? Probably not. His credibility is shot to pieces. That all flows out of poor accounting. In verse 32 the credibility is the king's ability to calculate resources and risk. And so here is one of 11 parables that calls for good accounting practices in the tangible realm of economics. And the reason I say that, is that the thing being illustrated cannot be true unless the illustration itself is true. So use accounting and counting the cost in your spiritual life, yes, but use it in your day by finances as well.
We are going to have to hurry on in some of these other reasons for accounting. But I am giving these to simply build my case that every one of you needs to learn basic accounting skills if you are to prosper. The first reason we have given is that you can't even tithe without accounting. The second reason is that accounting forces you to live within your means. So many Chrsitians get themselves into trouble because they are not living within their means.
It helps us to anticipate the future (Prov. 22:3 with Matthew 25:14-30)
The third reason that we should learn accounting is that it helps us to anticipate the future. Proverbs 22:3 says, A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished. Most translations render that evil as disaster or calamity. The NEB renders it, The shrewd man sees trouble coming and lies low; the simple walk into it and pay the penalty. Two things can be said here. First, it is possible according to this verse to anticipate potential economic problems and to avoid them. If it wasn't possible to do that at least to some degree, then there would be no point in investing money. Every investment would be as much a gamble as another one was. So don't be totally skeptical about the ability to see problems in the future. I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal that was kind of poking fun at investment advisors and was pointing out how once again aiming a dart at the NASDAQ listings and investing in whatever the dart landed on brought a higher gain than investing in what the top six invesment gurus recommended. Now it may say something about those gurus, but you shouldn't opt for the dart board method.
There are some people who simply won't invest because they think that no one can anticipate the future. But if their viewpoint was right, then the unfaithful steward in Matthew 25 who buried his talent in the ground was actually the wise steward. But Christ didn't call him wise. Christ said that he should have invested the money, or at the very least, if he doubted his abilities, he should have put it into the bank to gain interest. And in terms of this series on the Christian and Prosperity, it is interesting what Christ says happens to this steward. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. You won't prosper if you are not involved in the business of seeking to anticipate the future. I find it interesting that at the beginning of the parable, Jesus gave the person with the least investment skills and views the least money, which is good stewardship on Jesus part. He doesn't write the man off. He gives him opportunity to stretch his abilities by giving him one talent. But the poorer we are at stewardship, the less God is going to bless us. And God has given into your trust some resources, whether it is one, two or five talents. And what you do with those will determine how much God prospers you.
But the third reason why accounting is important is that it helps us to anticipate the future: Proverbs 22:3.
It enables you to know the effective allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses (Matt 13:44-46; Rev. 3:18; Phil. 3:8)
A fourth reason for perfecting your accounting is that it enables you to be more effective in allocating scarce resources to alternative uses. Turn to Matthew 13. There are five parables in this chapter that give principles related to accounting. We just don't have time to look at everything. But I do want to read verses 44-46. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Notice that in each of these two parables, the wise merchant sells something in order to free up resouces to be able to purchase something of greater value. He wasn't collecting just for the sake of collecting. Without accounting our collectors instinct takes over and we can end up heaping up things that have little or no value either in the present or in the future. Far from getting richer, such an instinct can actually stifle creativity, eliminate resourcefulness and promote greed. But with accounting we can get a better grasp of the relative value of things and make informed decisions like these men did. Revelation 3:18 rebukes the church of Laodicea for failing to see eternal riches as being of far more value than earthly riches, and as a result of failing to allocate some of the physical resources in such a way that it would lay up eternal dividends, promote spiritual growth and advance Christ's kingdom. He counseled them to use their money to buy gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments… etc. Now there is a lot that can be taken from the parable in Matthew 13:44-46, but just take home that one principle that accounting enables you to know the effecitve allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses - or when to exchange one thing for something of higher value.
It helps us to make priorities (Prov. 24:27)
Turn to Proverbs 24. This is a fifth reason to have accounting. It helps us to make priorities. Proverbs 24:27. Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house. One paraphrase puts it this way, First work your farm, and till the soil - then marry and set up a house… The idea is that there are things that are prerequisites to doing other things. Before you can start building a family you need to have a means of supporting them. And priorities for how we reallocate our scarce resources are seen across the board of economics. And accounting helps us to make the determination of when our priorities can allow for changes in allocation.
Scripture speaks of all kinds of ways to make money. Buying low and selling for a profit, trading, investing, selling of your labor, etc. And on all of those ways of making money you are determining that you won't place your scarce resource in one use because you have figured out that it is more profitably employed in another use. Actually, the previous parable dealt with this. We do it without even thinking sometimes. All things being equal, we prefer getting paid $15 an hour to getting paid $5 an hour. But all things are not equal. If that $15 an hour job means that you have to walk on narrow beams on skyscrapers that are being built, your fear of heights might make you determine that the higher wages aren't worth it to you.
But the point of this proverb is that we have to be able to figure out how much needs to be done before we can move on to our next step in the dominion process. Accounting helps you to determine that.
Accounting enables us to be prepared for greater responsibilities (Luke 16:10)
Please turn to Luke 16. I'm going to take the sixth and seventh reasons from this passage. I won't read the whole parable, but if you would look at verse 10, Christ draws out an application. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. We may think that we don't need to be accurate in accounting because of how little we have to spend. But the whole point of this series is to encourage you to get to the place where God prospers you financially far more than you ever thought possible. You're going to need accounting then. Why not start now? You need to be preparing yourselves for that time, and one way to do so is to start accounting with the little that you have. If you aren't faithful now, God assumes that you won't be faithful then.
It qualifies us for true riches (Luke 16:10-11)
But reason seven is given in verse 11. It's not primarily the money that is at stake, but spiritual riches in heaven. Verse 11 says, Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [mammon is money, and a better translation of this would be "the mammon of the unrighteous. Christ considers it very important that we wisely handle the money of the unrighteous, and if we can't He goes on to say,] who will commit to your trust the true riches? Money and spirituality are connected. If we don't manage money well, it is unlikely that we will be managing our spiritual health well. The principles of accounting money can transfer over into accounting for our spiritual assets. "If you have not been faithful in the mammon of the unrighteous, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" That's a great reason to get involved in accounting. It qualifies us for true riches.
It keeps us honest in our stewardship (Ezra 8)
There are many other reasons that could be given as to why we should be committed to accounting. The passage that we started with in Ezra 8 shows that accounting helps to keep us honest in our stewardship. We tend to be prone to self-deception. When we really want something we can convince ourselves on the spot that we can really afford this item, but as we look at the books, we realize that it wouldn't be wise. It just keeps us honest.
It is a blessing to our wives and children if our house is in order when we die
Another reason given is that it is a blessing to our wives and children if our house is in order when we die. God said to Amoz, set your house in order, for you shall die… (2 Kings 20:1) God is a God of order and He wants us to make it easier for our loved ones by having our finances in order. Does your wife know where to find the bank books, the birth certificates, the tax records, the mortgage papers, the insurance papers, etc., etc.
It prepares us to give an account to God (Rom. 14:12; Matt 25:26)
Another reason given in Romans 14 is that accounting prepares us to be giving an account to the Lord. So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God. Matthew 25 makes it clear that on judgment day God is going to ask us exactly what we have done with all the scarce resources He has placed within our hands, and our whole life will flash before us revealing what we have done. If we are used to giving an account, it can increase our assurance that we will receive His "well done, you good and faithful servant."
I won't bore you with any more proofs. I think it would be beating a dead horse. Hopefully I have proved my point for you. But with all of the commands given in Scripture, and all of the reasons Scripture gives as an incentive, I hope that you are motivated to go out and get your books in order (as boring as that may be), and to begin measuring, recording and evaluating the placement of all your scarce resources. And may God receive the glory, and may you be entrusted with even more resources as you are faithful with what you have. Amen.
Charge: Children of God, I charge you to take stock of your life capital.