Handling Our Money God’s Way
Money… some say it makes the world go round. Others say that it’s evil no matter how it’s handled. But what does God say about it in His word? Let’s take a look and find out why it’s important to understand handling our money God’s way!
First, let’s look at some situations where money is looked at in a negative light, not because I think this is more important, but just so we can get that out of the way and move on to other references.
Matthew 19:24 (NKJV) And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
This scripture is often used completely out of context by people who want to try to convince everyone that money is evil and that God wants us all to be poor. Nowhere in God’s word does it ever say that He wants His people to be poor or live in poverty.
Poverty is a tool of the enemy used to keep people backed into a corner, feeling depressed, hopeless and alone. Poverty will cause people to despise their lives, always wishing for more money and wondering what their life is really about and whether they are worth anything at all.
Now, this isn’t to say that wealth can’t also ruin people’s lives, because it can. But havingan abundance of money can be managed whereas having none can’t be rectified simply by management. If there is no money, there is nothing to be managed.
So what’s the deal? Where does that middle ground lie and how do we manage our finances in a way that’s pleasing to God?
It all starts with keeping our priorities in order and making sure that nothing ever replaces God as our FIRST priority in life… not our money or the time we spend trying to earn it. If we can get this right (and keep it right), we will never have to worry about our money becoming our idol.
One of the things that can really help us with this is to live thrifty, even if we might not necessarily need to. Learning how to save money on the things we buy is just good common sense anyway 😉
As we learn to buy only the things that we really need, it helps us to keep things in proper perspective. And when we buy those thing, buying what will give us the most bang for our buck is even better, teaching us the value of what we have.
Some people don’t like to be bothered to take the time to compare prices, etc., and some people don’t think they need to do this (because they have more than enough money), but not doing it is wasteful and frivolous.
In the popular story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) we see that the father gave the younger son his inheritance when he was in his teens or early 20s. Had the son handled the money properly, saved it, invested it and learned how to grow it, he probably could have lived very comfortably for many years, if not for his entire lifetime.
Instead, he chose to spend it frivolously on what the Bible calls “riotous living”. Obviously not all of us engage in “riotous living”, but mishandling our finances will give us the same results as he had at the end of his wild spending spree.
So we need to spend our money carefully, using wisdom on all of our purchases, and even more so when it comes to major purchases like houses, cars, etc. We should take our time and count the cost when we are making major purchases. It’s easy to fall prey to slick sales tactics or pressures of wanting something that will impress people.
Luke 14:28 (NKJV) 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?
Not counting the cost can be a terrible mistake that leads to drastic consequences, especially with major purchases or projects. Paying for something in the short run doesn’t seem to be such a big deal, but when we fail to look at the long term, we can make errors that lead to near financial ruin.
Now let’s talk about wealth and see what God says about wealth… whether it is really evil to be wealthy or not. Here’s a scripture taken from Proverbs that shows us that God has no problem with us gaining wealth, as long as we do it the right way.
Proverbs 13:11 (NKJV) Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.
God seriously frowns on gaining wealth by dishonest means. He wants us to work for it, not steal it, swindle people for it, etc.!! In fact, take a look at the verse above. It tells us that if we work for it and gain it honestly, it will be increased!
Wealth obtained through dishonest means, though, is another story. Proverbs 13:11 says it will be diminished. When it comes to money and commerce, God says that dishonesty is an abomination.
Proverbs 11:1 (NKJV) Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.
So what exactly is an abomination? It’s something that causes disgust or hatred. If God calls something an abomination, he views it as disgusting. He loathes it. Definitely not something we want to be doing!
So go ahead… work hard and make money. Just remember to keep your priorities straight and do things honestly, with no funny business. God will bless what you do, provided it falls within His guidelines and isn’t stepping outside of His will for your life.
So what about the poor in spirit?
Matthew 5:3 (NKJV) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We often hear about “the poor in spirit” and how God blesses them and how they will see the kingdom of God. Sadly, though, this is just another case of a scripture being taken out of context.
Being poor in spirit doesn’t mean being lacking material possessions or living in poverty. Being poor in spirit refers to being humble and not boastful or proud. We are to live in humility before God, not being puffed up or egotistical.
Psalm 34:18 (NKJV) The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
And if we look at poverty truthfully, without anyone influencing us, we will see that poverty is not something that benefits us in any way at all. The best thing that can come from being poor is a sense of humility, but we can be made humble in many other ways.
Additionally, a lifetime of poverty is typically a lifetime of poor health, depression and suffering. And no… it is not suffering for the kingdom of God, as some people might imply. Suffering for the kingdom of God is willingly selling or giving our possessions away and choosing to live without things that we would normally like to have or could afford to have.
Let’s talk about debt…
Debt is another thing that God does not want us involved in. I know that might sound strange in today’s world, but it’s true. Debt is a form of modern slavery. Debt holds us in bondage to those that we owe money to.
The Bible tells us very plainly that we should owe nothing to anyone:
Romans 13:8 (NKJV) Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Some might argue that this has a deeper spiritual meaning, and while that might be true, it still states very clearly that we are to owe no-one anything. Period. So if we take it at face value and don’t try to read some deeper meaning into it, it tells us plainly that we should not be in debt to anyone.
Debt is like a weight hanging over a person’s head. It is a leading cause of stress and will lead to further problems if it is not managed properly and eliminated.
If we look at the companies that hold others in debt, they are always very, very wealthy, but not in a way that is pleasing to God. They make their billions by holding people in bondage with high interest rates and exorbitant fees on their credit card accounts, mortgages, etc.
And nowadays we have a plethora of companies that offer what is called Payday Loans. These are short-term loans for people who need money to get them through until their next pay day. This is the epitome of money mismanagement on the part of the consumer and the modern-day loan sharks are taking full advantage of this. Avoid these like the plague!!
So it all comes down to this: the money we have is not our own. It belongs to God, our provider, and we are simply stewards of it. We make the decisions on how we handle it, whether good decisions or bad decisions. And the choices we make will either make our lives easier or make them more difficult.
Those same choices will either please God or disappoint Him. I know we don’t like to think of it that way, but we don’t always make the right choices and those wrong choices do disappoint Him.
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That’s his way of saying it all belongs to him anyway. He created it all. It’s His.
So we can choose to ask Him how He wants us to handle it and then use wisdom in what we spend it on and how we spend it. Or we can do it our way and hope it all turns out OK. And let me tell you from experience. We’ve done both. And God’s way is definitely soooo much better.
Pastor Curt & Pastor Ellie