Grow Rich God's Way
- Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Just about everyone wants to get rich. But the world's emphasis on having lots of money and material possessions doesn't lead to true wealth. God wants His people to be rich in the things that matter most, like grace and joy.
If you follow the Bible's principles, you'll find that God will not only meet your material needs, but also enable you to live a generous and fulfilling life.
Here's how you can grow rich God's way:
• Keep your treasures in heaven rather than on earth. Ask yourself questions to determine the attitudes of your heart: "What do I think about most?", "What occupies most of my emotional and physical energy?", "How do I respond emotionally when I see human needs?", "How do I respond emotionally when I hear biblical messages on what God says my attitudes and actions should be regarding material possessions?", "How do I respond when I feel I may need to part with some material possessions so they can be better used to meet someone else's needs or to help carry out the Great Commission?", "What priorities do I have other than making money (such as worshiping God and spending quality time with family and friends)?", and "What is my attitude when I do give?".
• Use your material possessions wisely. Put your faith in God rather than in what you own. Know that if you follow God's will for how to use the gifts He's given you, you will inspire love and unity among believers, and encourage non-Christians to believe in Jesus.
Have spiritual leaders model the way all Christians should use material possessions - with integrity, unselfishness, and pure motives. Be willing to make sacrifices to respond to special needs that arise among God's people. Share your possessions to encourage others, and thank people who share with you. Develop an efficient system in your church to help meet the material needs of other people in your congregation and community.
Realize that having a lot of material possessions may make it hard for you to recognize and acknowledge your need for God's grace in salvation. Make sure your possessions aren't keeping you in bondage. Ask God how you can creatively use whatever excess material possessions you have to help His kingdom work. Take care of your family members - from children to aging parents.
If you don't have much, don't feel inferior to those who have more. If you have a lot, be humble. No matter what your material circumstances, give what you can, cheerfully.
• Be thankful. Thank God daily in prayer for all that He gives you. Decide to put God first in all things, knowing that if you do, He will meet your needs. Remember how God has provided for you in the past, and trust Him to continue to do so in the present and future. Learn to be content no matter what your circumstances. Let your gratitude for all God has done for you motivate you to give to His kingdom work.
• Give generously. Give to honor God rather than yourself. Evaluate your motives before you give. Understand that your gifts please God only when you've done your part to be in harmony with your brothers and sisters in Christ before giving. Know that giving won't cancel out the results of a lifestyle that's contrary to God's will. Confess your sins and seek forgiveness before giving so you can be at peace with God and others, and give with pure motives.
Be willing to help everyone God leads you to help, even your enemies. Pay special attention to needs among your fellow Christians. Know that God will reward you when you give faithfully, based on the degree of sacrifice you make. Evaluate your giving patterns, asking yourself if you're giving unselfishly, proportionately, generously.
Every time you're paid, set aside a portion of your income to give to God's work. Organize your finances so you can plan to give regularly and generously. Make sure you're supporting those who are ministering to you spiritually. Make it a priority to support your local church. Strive to understand the lives of the people you're trying to help through your giving, and build relationships with them to draw them closer to Christ's love. Besides giving money and possessions to further God's kingdom, give your time and contribute your talents and skills as well.
• Be ethical. Realize that being entrusted with money to use for God's kingdom work is an awesome responsibility. Don't use the Christian message to try to benefit yourself. Remember that a church is not simply a business. Set up a system for your church finances that ensures accountability. Don't show favoritism toward wealthy people or prejudice toward poor people; treat all people equally. When you do your financial planning, make it a priority to fulfill God's will in every respect. Ask God to help you overcome temptations to be unfair, dishonest, self-indulgent, or greedy.
Work hard to earn your money rather than trying to obtain it through get-rich-quick schemes or gambling. Show responsibility in your work so you will represent Christ well. Strive for excellence in all the work you do, knowing that God is your ultimate boss. Treat employees fairly in every respect, including paying them fair wages. Be a good citizen by paying all government taxes and fees when they're due.
When you need financial help, be open and honest about your need while avoiding any form of manipulation. Be on guard against false teachers who mix truth with error in order to exploit people. As a Christian living in an affluent society, be on guard against self-deception and rationalization.
• Handle lending and borrowing well. Strive to always pay your bills in full and on time. Avoid consumer debt, especially when it hinders your ability to give God the first fruits of your income. Never knowingly borrow money you can't pay back according to a predetermined agreement. Before borrowing money for any purpose, seek wisdom from others who can help you evaluate all aspects of the decision.
Demonstrate grace to people who borrowed money with good intentions but encountered crises beyond their control that make it hard to repay their loans on time. Before guaranteeing another person's loan based on your own assets, make sure you'd be able to repay the entire loan yourself without defaulting on other financial obligations.
Adapted from Rich in Every Way: Everything God Says About Money and Possessions, copyright 2004 by Dr. Gene A. Getz. Published by Howard Publishing Co., West Monroe, La., www.howardpublishing.com.
Dr. Gene Getz has been involved in a variety of ministry experiences, including church planting, pasturing, Christian education, radio, music, conference speaking, and college and seminary teaching. He has authored more than 60 books that have been translated into 35 languages. He is the founder of the Fellowship Bible Church movement, with more than 350 churches tying their roots back to the original Fellowship Bible Church in the Dallas area. He is currently serving as executive director of the Center for Church Renewal, host and teacher of Renewal Radio, and pastor emeritus of Fellowship Bible Church North in Plano, Texas.
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