Money matters to everyone. It is important to know how to use it, and our constant challenge is to not be governed by it.
However, many of us know how to handle our money well, but we don’t really know what the Bible says about our money. Some of us are scrupulous savers, others of us are lavish spenders. Some of us have loyally paid off debt, and others have struggled for years to pay the bills.
The Bible doesn’t tell us every way that we should handle our money, but it does give us some great truths to govern the way that we think about our money and our spending.
Everything belongs to God, including money.
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord;”
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, or how much money you have earned, everything that you have belongs to God.
We are stewards of what God has given us.
In Luke 12:42-46 we find the parable of the talents. An owner gives his workers talents that they are to invest and for which they will be held accountable. This story reminds us that all that we have, not just our money, is simply on loan from God. He has entrusted us to care for what is His for the short amount of time that we have it.
Money reveals our hearts.
Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The way in which we spend our money often demonstrates that in which we trust. This is a general principle; all of us must examine our hearts. However, our money often follows that which we are worshipping.
Money will not make us happy.
1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy.”
We all must use money. However, having money or spending money cannot be the end goal. If you think that being promoted, earning more, saving more, or spending more will finally make you happy, you are in for a big letdown. Only God, who richly provides, can make us finally and fully happy.
It is not wrong to work hard and earn money.
Proverbs 10:4 says, “Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring riches.”
God has designed us to work. When he placed Adam and Eve in the garden, he told them to cultivate the earth and multiply. We continue to do that, however, we are no longer just cultivating gardens, but entire cities. We are cultivators of medications, arts, technology, and industry. God designed us to provide for our and our neighbors’ needs through work.
God has prospered some more than others.
It is important to understand that God has not gifted everyone equally. In His grace, he has conceded some people with greater skill, talent, and intelligence. Some people that we believe “should” prosper, do not. In other situations, those who “should not” prosper, end up prospering greatly.
This means that material blessing is not necessarily a sign of spiritual blessing. When we reduce God’s goodness and love to material prosperity, in many cases we are affirming that corrupt, selfish people are the most blessed by God because they are wealthy. This is not an accurate assessment of how God blesses both now and throughout Church history. (See Psalm 73)
We are called to give cheerfully.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.”
The Bible assumes that we will give generously, just as God has given generously to us. Those who are in Christ will do so because they now see Christ as their treasure of greatest value and will use their money to do and honor those things that God values.
The Bible does not promise that if you give money, God will give you more money.
The story of the Bible affirms that God has already blessed us infinitely and generously, despite the fact that we have been unjust and rebellious.
If what we are looking for is a system where God remunerates us for our deeds, then we would be eternally condemned to hell. The story of the Bible is not one of God justly remunerating people for their good works, rather it is the story of God generously blessing a community of rebels and transforming them into saints.
Money matters, and because it matters, we should seek to understand it in light of God’s truth.