By, Mike Sunderland, CFEI®, Wealth Advisor
Many people in the Christian Church and outside of it believe that God and money are bitter enemies. The Bible might appear to contradict itself over matters of money at times. On the one hand the Bible instructs that saving is wise, while on the other it appears that Jesus condemns saving because of His instructions to give generously and His imminent return. So which is it?
The instruction lies not in the money itself but in the hearts of humanity. God and money are not enemies. God and sinners are enemies. The deceitful heart and desires of our flesh use money for selfish gain instead of for God’s honor. Therefore, money’s potential for influence and power create a strong temptation upon the sinful heart to pull away from God. We are designed for worship and for service to another. Money’s lure makes it an incredibly attractive candidate to our sinful nature for ordination as our personal master. This is the reason for the famously misquoted verse, “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.” Money itself is an instrument, a tool. A godly heart uses it for the love of God, love for our family, and love for our neighbor.
Therefore, if we read the Bible in this light, the apparent contradictions are not contradictions at all. Obedience to God is to save and also to give, but the treasures of heaven lie not only in what we do with money so much as in the reasons why we do and how we do it. If our purposes and motivations are pure, then our financial behavior will reflect them. God instructs us to surrender all that we have to His control as we surrender all of ourselves to Christ, so that we may experience the abundant life that He offers. God instructs us to give to the needy and to help the poor, and we do not know when we might be poor and in need ourselves. However, we are also instructed to pursue godly gain and return with the money He has given us in order to supply for our needs, our family needs, and our neighbors’ needs. We are instructed to prepare for the future when trials come, when the summer of life turns to winter and we cannot work in same way that we once could. In the God-loving heart, money is given, saved, and invested together. It can be enjoyed but not hoarded for selfish gain. It is also not to be given or spent foolishly and wasted.
Wisdom from God requires a close relationship with Christ. Wisdom from God also requires disciplined money management and diligent planning without obsession. We cannot manage what we don’t measure, and whatever we do not manage well is bound to be wasted. This is an inevitable fact of our flesh’s continued pursuit for selfish gain. We believe God calls us to ask Him for specific goals for what He has given to us so that we can be as effective as possible in our calling in this world. Save in order to reach those goals without hoarding or being consumed by it. Make our giving and investing effective for advancement of the gospel and advancement of righteousness, justice, and mercy around the globe. We should be flexible and obedient to God, because He who has made great deposits in our lives can always request a withdrawal. We can also enjoy what God has provided for us. Wise management of money puts us in a position of financial freedom to serve God alone and to go where He leads.
God and money are not enemies. Let us be friends and servants of God, and use His money accordingly. The indescribable joy, peace, contentment, and satisfaction that God gives us through faithfulness to Him is worth every penny.
Financial Planning & Investment Advisory services offered through Beacon Wealth Consultants, Inc.