by Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Bible has a lot to say about money. The word is used over 130 times; 16 of 38 parables refer to the handling of money; and there are over 2,300 references to money, wealth, or property. You are involved with money in some form every day of your life. You live in a house or an apartment that costs money. Your food, clothes and transportation all cost money.
How you think about money, how you spend it, and how you give it reveals a lot about your heart.
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
There is a tendency to think about “my money.” It is reasoned that since I earned it, it is mine and I will decide how to spend it, save it, or give it. But we need to recognize that God owns everything: “the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).
Acknowledging God's ownership of all things changes our perspective.
We come to recognize that rather than this being “my money” that I can do with as I please, it is God’s money and I am to be a good steward of it.
While money may be received through an inheritance, the usual method by which we secure the funds which supply our needs is through work. Throughout the Scriptures slothfulness and laziness is condemned and diligent work is encouraged. In fact Christians are admonished to work with the thought they are not just pleasing their superiors but are serving unto the Lord. As Moses declared to Israel, it is God who gives the power to get wealth and—while man must work—God gives the wisdom and strength to perform the task.
The Israelites were warned that when they had been blessed to see their flocks and their gold multiplied they should be careful not to forget the Lord. They were exhorted not to say, “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17). How easy it is to take pride in what you have accomplished and fail to acknowledge that what you have is a blessing from the Lord.
Most advertising is designed to make you discontent with what you have and therefore desire and purchase the product being promoted. The use of credit cards makes impulse buying easy and as a result millions of Americans today find themselves facing an indebtedness they may never be able to pay. Credit cards can be a convenient way of keeping a record of what you spend as long as the bill is paid when it is due, but when a balance is carried and 18% interest is paid this is failing to be a good steward of the money God has put in your care.
Paul puts things in perspective for us when he writers “godliness with contentment is great gain…and having food and raiment let us be therewith content”(1 Timothy 6:6, 8). In his letter to the church at Philippi the apostle said he had learned to be content whether he was abased or abounding. He indicated this was something he had to learn. Our flesh is prone to always be seeking more of the things of this world, but we must learn to pursue God rather than money and find contentment in Him.
Jesus taught that it is impossible to serve God and riches (Matthew 6:24).
Some seem to think they can ignore this declaration and actively serve them both; but Jesus said it is an impossibility. There is no way to separate our spiritual interests from our daily walk. We deceive ourselves if we think we can worship God acceptably on Sunday when the rest of the week we are pursuing an interest in material things with a greedy spirit. The dangers of pursuing riches are further described by Paul:
“They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
Money is not of itself evil but the love of it is. Whether it is a love for money or the things it can buy, we see that affection will lead one down the wrong road to the point they may depart from the faith.
So while the love of money can lead to destruction, godliness with contentment is great gain. Being thankful for what God has blessed you to receive and using these resources to the honor of His name brings joy to the believer’s heart.
One aspect of stewardship is giving as God has prospered. God cares about your giving. In Mark 12:41 we read that “Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury…”Jesus was pleased with the widow who gave but two mites, because she gave all she had.
It was not then the amount which was of prime importance but the spirit of sacrifice that influenced this giving.
Just as Jesus observed those casting in their money in that day, our heavenly Father sees our giving and knows the motives of our heart.
The key to our giving is revealed as Paul describes the generosity of the churches of Macedonia. He says they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5). If we recognize we are not our own but have been bought with a price and then give ourselves to the Lord, giving will never be a burden but always a joy. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Our giving should be done cheerfully, liberally, and consistently; and, most importantly, is should be done to the glory of God. In discussing the ministry to the needs of the saints, Paul writes:
“The administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men” (2 Corinthians 9:12-13).
What a blessing when one has developed the right view of money!
Remember it is God who owns all things. We are to be good stewards of what God puts in our care. We must not worry for He has promised to supply our needs. We are to learn to be content with what we have. We then find joy in giving. When God’s servants are supported by our giving, that support is a blessing in their life. When there is giving for the circulation of the gospel, those who receive the message are blessed. When the needy are cared for, it is a blessing to them.
The giver gives with joy, the recipient receives the blessing with joy and all are praising God for his abundant mercies.
What a blessing when the spirit of giving prevails in a church! A greedy, covetous spirit will cause a church to grow cold, but the spirit of giving brings joy and permeates the whole atmosphere of the body of Christ with love and joy.
© Baptist Bible Hour
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