Part 1 of 3-Part Series
Religion, politics, sex, and money are topics many people feel uncomfortable discussing. Conversations may get more difficult, even polarized when mixed, such as Christians and their money. Discussing money can become so anxiety-ridden that some pastors quake in their shoes when asked to preach on the tithe. Perhaps Jesus talked about money in 11 of the 39 parables and it’s referenced in some way in one out of seven verses because we need to hear the Godly worldview that fights against those who’ve turned money into an idol.
As a Christian who lives in the United States, I confidently estimate that I have more money than most Christians around the world. I say that, because I’ve walked the neighborhood slums in Africa, Latin America, and South America, conversing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I see the material poverty, I thank God for what I have and feel a heavy burden to use my resources to facilitate the Kingdom on earth.
Every Christian has a relationship with money? Every Christian should have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian should be asking themselves, “How does God want me to use the money I have for Kingdom work?”
How do you refer to money? Is it your money? God’s money? Or somewhere in between? I know many Christians who say that the money they earn is 90% theirs and the tithe is God’s. On top of that there’s debate whether the 10% is before or after taxes and whether a tithe is for the church or can be portioned out for God’s ministry. The pulpit then encourages Christians to pray whether they should give more than the tithe for special gifts.
Some Christians, who don’t want to give of their money, have convinced themselves that tithing doesn’t apply today. The New Testament doesn’t talk about the tithe and was a law of the Old Testament. The new has made the old null and void. Christians have all kinds of excuses not to tithe: they can’t afford it, they don’t have a church home to give it, and they give of their time instead. What they’re ultimately saying is that it’s their money, and they’ll decide how to spend it or give it away. Many Christians’ relationship with money has become so distorted that even when they marry and “…they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8 NIV), spouses still separately control the money they earn.
God made man, man made money, so the argument can be made that all money is God’s money. God owns all that man has created on earth. Money itself is not evil, but God is concerned with the relationship that man has with his money. Based on how people handle their money and are consumed with thoughts about it, money has become an idol for many and a priority above a relationship with God. It is the LOVE OF MONEY, not money itself, that separates us from God. Money is only a tool and not evil in itself.
If it was your money, you’d be able to take it with you when you leave this earth, but you can’t. One day money will be useless to you. When you put your relationship with God first, there’s no way you couldn’t believe that all money is God’s and want to pray in how to use it for His glory.
All money has to be God’s money, because if you don’t view it as such, you’ll think your wealth was of your own doing and perhaps you’d internalize that you’re a bit god-like in your own right. You’d might also believe that those who didn’t have money were less than or not deserving. Do you think even a little less of people who live in material poverty? Some of the poorest Christians I’ve met had the closest relationship with God, because they had to rely on God for their provision.
God tests us in how we handle money to determine our trustworthiness in dealing with others. You’re just the steward of His money while you live on earth. You’ll be judged in your faithfulness, industrialness, and wisdom of money invested in God’s Kingdom. Because it is God’s money: “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT).
Whose Money Is It?
What’s your relationship with money? Most Christians never examine their relationship with money, perhaps out of ignorance or fear in dealing with the big question. What’s your reason? Whichever it is, it’s in the past. Step into the future and start to ask yourself the tough question, because I can guarantee you that no one else is going to ask you.
Where will God fit into the picture? God wants to be above your money. Your relationship with money can put a level of separation with God. Once you decide that this is God’s money and you’re just a steward of it while on earth, your whole worldview will change and for the better. You will have freedom in spirit in ways you could never imagine.
There’s a difference between ownership and stewardship. You are a trustee of God’s living trust. How are you managing God’s money for the Kingdom? In some ways your money stewardship should be your life calling. If you’re committed to stewarding money God’s way, stay tuned for Part 2.
Scriptures to Pray On
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30, NIV)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV)
Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5, NLT)
Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NLT)
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT)
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops (Proverbs 3:9, NLT)
Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT)
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com