Money is such an important topic for Christians. Believe it or not, the Bible mentions money more than faith, love, or prayer! So, it must be important. Unfortunately, in our modern world, money is either preached about far too often and in a misguided way, as part of the ‘prosperity gospel’ of today; or preachers over-react to that false teaching and don’t teach about money at all. Both extremes fail to serve the mission of Christ and equip with Church.
Once you understand a few key financial principles from the Bible, a lot of the guilt and pressure is eliminated. So, let me share a few important financial principles from the Bible which, when understood, eliminate all the guilt and pressure experienced by many sincere disciples of Jesus.
Money is not evil …
I saw a meme on Facebook recently which said, “If money is the root of all evil, then why do they always ask for it in Church?” Of course, the Bible does NOT say that money is the root of evil, but that the love of money is the root of evil. There is a huge difference.
In today’s culture, however, it’s easy to think that people who have a lot of money are somehow evil. After all, if money is evil, then the more you have, the more evil you must be.
But remember, money is just a tool, like a knife, or a hammer. These inanimate objects have no will of their own. They take on the motivation of their handler. For instance, a hammer can be used to build up or to tear down, and a knife can kill or it can slice a pizza for a hungry person.
We should be careful about who we accuse of having too much money. If you earn more than $40,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of the rich people in the world. Perspective is a confronting thing at times!
Money won’t buy happiness …
Actor and artist Jim Carrey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see for themselves that it’s not the answer.” Those words sound as if they are pulled straight from the Bible!
The writer of Ecclesiastes, offered the same sentiment in chapter 6, when he wrote these words:
Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 “There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honour, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them … This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.”
Solomon was talking about himself! He had it all – power, fame, wisdom, and great wealth, but he was still unhappy. The problem is that money only makes you happy for a short time – a little like ice cream. It’s a quick burst of pleasure but eat too much of it and you will regret it. All the money in the world will not make you happy if you don’t appreciate what you have right now.
To be truly happy, you need to be content, and that only comes when you are satisfied with what you have, whether that be a lot or a little.
Money can be a huge distraction …
It is surprising how money pulls people away from God. When Paul was writing to Timothy, he was careful to warn his young protege about the pitfalls of riches.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
Did you know that Jesus talked about money more than anything else? Plus, almost half of all His parables dealt with money. For example, in Matthew 6:24 he said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
There’s an important distinction to be made here. Jesus did not say “you cannot have money and serve God,” he said you cannot serve money and serve God – not at the same time. The more you elevate the importance of money in your life, the more God will be forced to take a backseat.
It all came from God …
Everything that you own and everything in the whole world belonged to God – whatever you have is a gift from God. This is by far the most essential idea in the Bible when it comes to money.
Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”
When you recognize that everything you own ultimately came from God, the pressure is taken off of you. You won’t need to worry about money, or the lack of it, because it was all under God’s control anyway.
I can hear some people protesting and saying they worked hard and applied great skill and effort to earn the money they have now. That may be true, but who gave you the skill? Who gave you the health needed to commit to that training and skill development? Who gives you breath every morning so you can enjoy the fruit of your labour?
It may be your money now, but everything which brought you to this point and provided the opportunities for you to be richer than 99% of people in the world – was a gift from God. Money doesn’t make you happy. True happiness comes from the One who created everything, including the money you covet or cherish.