The clear teaching of this book, “Obedience, the Key to Prosperity” continues to change for the better the life and testimony of tens of thousands of people. When you learn and apply the simple principle of obedience to the Provider, your life will never be the same again and you will become an instant recipient of the promise of II Chronicles 16:9.
During the past several years, literally thousands have benefited from the teaching presented in this book. We will not know until we reach heaven the millions of dollars that have been salvaged from satan’s deceptions and applied to missions and ministry throughout the world. Troubled marriages have been healed, total freedom from debt has been achieved, joy has replaced stress, and God is now being glorified in the financial lives of individuals, families, and churches.
God has surely appropriated a personal prosperity just for you. It is equal to the total cost to perform His complete plan for you life. It is activated by faith. When the apostles ask Jesus, "What are we to do?" He told them, "Follow Me." The words in this book will assist you in f0ollowing Him and managing His resources in a way that pleases Him and blesses you, resulting in a personal peace that passes all understanding.
What Leaders Are Saying About This Book
Mary, the mother of our Lord, gave us all some wise advice in Cana of Galilee when she simply said, “Whatever Jesus says do it!” It will not take the reader many pages into this volume by Wayne Coleman to find out that obedience is in fact the key to prosperity and blessing. This is really not a book about our finances although it certainly uses them to illustrate the significance of the important adage to “trust and obey.” Our finances generally mark the progress of our Christian pilgrimage; so much so that Jesus dedicated over one-third of his parables to the relationship between ourselves and our money.
The volume you hold in your hand is not simply a treatise of trite platitudes related to stewardship. These are principles thatWaynehas beaten out on the anvil of personal experience in his own life and the lives of those around him. These pages will drive the reader closer to the heart of God and lead us all to take serious the fact that we are simply stewards of God’s own resources along life’s journey. Read it and reap!
O. S. Hawkins
President and Chief Executive Officer
GuideStone Financial Resources
of the Southern Baptist Convention
"Why should you read Coleman's book when there is already an abundance of material on the biblical approach to stewardship? Putting it simply, Wayne Coleman is one of the best out there!Waynewas trumpeting the importance of spiritual stewardship long before the current rise of interest in this important subject. Years ago he captured the critical relationship between faith and obedience. In his newest book you will find a compendium of the stewardship truths he has garnered in over three decades of teaching. You just have to read this book!"
Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture International Mission Board Southern Baptist Convention
It is a privilege to have the opportunity to recommend to you the book OBEDIENCE (is still) THE KEY TO PROSPERITY and the ministry of Wayne Coleman. Wayne came to First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow several years ago and did a wonderful job in leading us to understand the principles of financial freedom. In his book, OBEDIENCE: (is still) KEY TO PROSPERITY, our people found a Biblical and practical guide on how to live financially free. In approaching the subject, he taught financial freedom on an individual basis which allowed us to also live debt free as a church. When the people learn to live debt free, the church can operate in financial freedom.
When he came to our church to teach these principles, we were $1.7 million in debt due to some previous construction projects. Because of his influence on our church, we were able to come to a position of being debt free and to relocate a campus, build new buildings, and do everything that was needed to house a growing congregation without ever borrowing again.
Wayne’s convictions regarding debt freedom, as well as his ability to deal with people on a personal basis, certainly were a great benefit to folks in our church. I recommendWayneto you with joy and with personal gratitude for what he did for First Baptist,Broken Arrow.
Pastor Nick Garland
Stewardship Properly Defined
Be honest with me! In the past years of your Christian life experience, when you have heard the word stewardship, has your immediate reaction been more positive or more negative? Over the years has the negative factor grown? Does the word automatically bring to mind financial matters? Does the word seem to arouse a spirit of obligation on your part? Do the thoughts of obligation generate feelings of guilt from past encounters with this word when they are remembered? Is your first reaction that of wanting to hide your wallet or checkbook because you feel that their content is threatened?
Most modern day Christians who have for years heard all the standard stewardship cliches spoken in most churches would have to answer "yes" to many, if not all of the above questions. Budget pressures within most churches force stewardship emphasis to be heavily overbalanced toward finances. When the stewardship of life is properly applied, financial performance becomes the effect of the stewardship, not the cause.
Satan is at his best when he can take a word intended of God to be positive, joyous, excitedly faith challenging, all encompassing, and through deceit change and narrow the definition of the word making it negative. By this process he robs the believer of the experiencing of God which so greatly enhances our awareness of His ways and who He is. Whether by intent or ignorance many religious leaders have becomes tools of this deception by improperly defining stewardship. Cookie cutter, clever, obligation causing cliches heard from peers and repeated in a chain reaction of deception may raise money, but in time will lead the hearer to answer all the above questions with a "yes".
"Stewardship" is most commonly presented as a noun. We have Stewardship Revivals, Stewardship Emphasis, Stewardship Banquets, Stewardship Seminars, Stewardship Month, and other events that begin with the word "Stewardship", almost all of which are designed to increase income to the entity sponsoring the event. "Stewardship" is at its best when used as a verb. It is the action word that proceeds the word "Steward". "Stewardship" can not be understood nor performed until a proper biblical definition of "Steward" is heard, agreed with, believed, and acted upon by faith.
A "Steward" is often defined as a caretaker, one who manages things that belong to someone else. That is a good biblical as well as practical definition. Biblically we must add that a steward is a creation of God. God created the stars, the earth, the wind, and "Stewards", along with the rest of His creation. Since we were created as stewards and there is nothing we can do about that, we must hear this, agree with it, believe it, act upon it by faith, understanding that we will always be stewards.
There is a truth to live by discipline here that is most often overlooked. A "Steward" by proper definition can not be an owner. Psalms 24:1 states, "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it." NAS If someone in church was to ask you if you knew that God owned everything, you would answer, "Yes." That indicates at least an intellectual knowledge of who He is. When this truth is translated by faith into wisdom it becomes a constant conscious awareness supplied by His Spirit to our mind that provides a performance enhancing discipline to our life. This is crucial to your performance as a steward. To lose the awareness of God's ownership quenches the spirit of God. Those who do not walk in this awareness, usually walk in a spirit of self-ownership. For a believer to assume ownership of anything is an act of open rebellion against God. Illustration. When you remove money form your wallet or purse to spend, are you aware that it is His money? Did you ask if you could spend it when, where, and on this item? If I were handling your money you would certainly expect me to ask you where, when, and on what to spend it.
The perquisite to understanding "Stewardship" is to spiritually submit to God's ownership to a point that it directs our lives. This is foundational. No one can proceed beyond this point and claim to walk with God. The instant we assume ownership, we abandon God's ways.
What does God own that we are Stewards of? Every ounce of grace He sends our way. We could categorize it as time, energy love and resources. From God's perspective you and I belong to Him by the rights of creation. Every heartbeat is an act of His grace in our lives. By the inherited nature of ourselves we deserve death, not life. Only by His grace do we live. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 confirms our source, "And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves as to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God." From His perspective, the '"Stewardship" of time, energy and love are equal to that of finances. As I have stated earlier, local church budget pressures have shifted the emphasis of "Stewardship" into an overbalanced position toward finances.
What is the real significance of 'Stewardship"? How is it measured? Is it by how often or how much you give of your time, energy, love and resources to others or the local church? No. Let me answer it this way, "Your evangelistic effect upon everyone you come in contact with will never exceed the obedience of your "Stewardship". You will never become a better father, husband, wife, mother, son, daughter, friend, employee, employer, or anything else that will exceed the obedience of your personal "Stewardship". You see, it really is His time, energy, love, and resources, not ours. We are managing it for Him. Stewardship is a lifestyle. It involves every aspect of your life. It begins with choice of thought. It is what you think, what you say, how you say it, who you say it to. It is the expression on your face, how you dress, whom you choose for fellowship. It is the quality of employee or employer that you are. It is your attitude about finances, how you earn, spend, invest, give, and manage His assets. Every physical aspect and performance of your life is an act of stewardship.
Romans 12:1-2 instructs us, "I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
It is my belief that deep inside the spirit of every believer is the desire to be the best steward possible in accordance with the will of God for us individually. That is why it is so important to properly define the word "Stewardship", but how do we get there?
Whether it is a personal or corporate goal to be accomplished, the first step is to properly define the "Objective". Keep in mind that in order for any "Objective" to be accomplished, purpose and responsibility become sub components that must be satisfied in order to achieve the "Objective". These two components will be discussed and diagramed later.
Let me illustrate the importance of "Objective". I am a fan of the Houston Rockets basketball team. In order for this team to succeed in becoming world champions, they must first submit to and commit all they are to a common "Objective" of winning the championship. At this point it is a team "Objective", but in order for the team to achieve its "Objective", each player must submit to and commit to the same objective. If one player is reluctant to define and focus on this "Objective", it may cause the whole team effort to fail. In this case the personal "Objective" of each individual member and the team are the same. Christianity is much the same. We share a common "Objective" with the entire family of God, and yet this "Objective" is very personal in definition. The difference between basketball and Christianity is that victory in basketball is contingent upon the ability of man and in Christianity it has already been accomplished by the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. Our victory is by the grace of our God, paid for with the blood of His only begotten son, Jesus the Christ.
Since "Stewardship" includes all of our life, how would you answer the question, "What is the one central "Objective" of your life? If you summed up all of your efforts, what are they aimed at? The husband and father might answer, " I want to be the best husband and father possible, or simply, I want to be a good provider to my family." The mother might answer much the same, "I want to be a good wife and mother." The single parent might answer, "all of the above." The youth or single person might say, "I want to be as good a person as possible." In each and every instance, the answer is an objective to accomplish something physical. Every physical thing in existence as well as every physical performance anywhere is the product of a spiritual source. In order to achieve the proper physical performance we must first choose the proper spiritual source and "Objective." As stewards, we should be about the business of achieving the "Objective" assigned to us from God. Paul best defines this in 2 Corinthians 5:9, "Therefore we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him."