Money and possessions are mentioned more than 2,000 times in the Bible, more than prayer and faith combined. Of all the lessons Jesus taught during His time on earth, money occupied greater space than even heaven or hell. But why? If Christianity is all about faith and a relationship with God through Jesus, why does Scripture spend such an inordinate amount of time discussing possessions, prosperity, and wealth? It is precisely because money serves as a barometer of the heart. It measures what we value, what we treasure most supremely. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19). If we treasure Christ and enjoy Him above all, we will be free to use money for its intended purpose. However, worshipping money has the potential to derail faith and lead us down a path to destruction.
All the major characters of the New Testament spoke at length about the dangers of worshipping money.
- Jesus: “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24-25).
- Paul:”The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things” (1 Timothy 6:10–11).
- James: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire” (James 5:1-3).
Obviously, Scripture wishes to warn of the vast dangers that exist in idolizing material wealth and worldly prosperity. Jesus lays out qualifications for discipleship, and I believe the final condition proves quite convicting – “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). In other words, those unwilling to release all their money and possessions to pursue discipleship are not worthy of Him. Are we able to say with Paul, “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Phil. 3:7)? When we place our worth and value in how our portfolios fare in the markets or in our retirement assets, we show that we are utterly incapable of following Jesus and being His disciple. I fear we have begun to lose the conviction such a statement should bring in our heart. Where is our identity?
Jesus makes it clear that we have to choose whom we will serve – “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” (Matthew 6:24). Are you a disciple of Jesus or a disciple of money?
Storing Up Treasure for Eternal Joy
It is impossible to undo our devotion to money on our own. Jesus accurately says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection makes it possible to experience freedom from slavery to money.
We need a change in perspective. I often falsely believe that we are commanded to abstain from idolizing money only because God is jealous for His glory and wants all praise for Himself. While this is certainly true, God also knows that He can provide vastly greater joy to humanity than can money or possessions. Jesus said to the people, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroy” (Luke 12:33). The Christian that endures to the end is promised an eternal reward that vastly outweighs any short-term pleasure money can provide. That reward is God Himself, the epitome and creator of joy, pleasure, and happiness. Paul so eloquently states, “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Are we so nearsighted that we fail to see the infinitely greater reward in store, one that no thief can steal, and no moth can destroy? God, help our unbelief!
I exhort you to use the wealth you have been given to advance the Kingdom of God. Steward your resources in a Christ-honoring way, and experience the freedom found in generosity and unselfishness. This is God’s good purpose for money.
It is my prayer that we will break free from bondage to money, and have our eyes opened to the great and immeasurable reward in store for all who prize Jesus over all. May we be like the man in the parable who sold all his possessions because he found the ultimate prize.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
Rick and Cassie Laymon have committed their lives to helping clients leverage their assets and resources for the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel. They have found God’s good purpose for money and are using their talents to honor Jesus and serve others. I am grateful for their ministry and grateful to have spent my summer interning at Beacon Wealth Consultants!