But I think a lot of people misunderstand that.  The word seems heavy, like a burden.  It’s as if they’ve been given managerial responsibility over some stuff and misheard the instructions as: “Whatever you do, don’t break or lose any of this stuff.”

Those aren’t the instructions we’ve been given at all.

In Matthew 25:14, a wealthy man entrusts three servants with his stuff, goes on a long journey, and then returns to see how they did.  One servant got the instructions wrong.  He hid what was entrusted to him and then returned it to his master.  He hadn’t lost or broken any of it.  For his efforts, or lack thereof, he received a harsh rebuke.

The other two servants were different.  They turned what had been entrusted to them into something more.  For their efforts, they received strong words of affirmation.  Oh, and on top of that, the master then entrusted them with more stuff.

Of course, the master represents God; the servants represent us.

The Art and Joy of Being Ourselves

We weren’t designed to destruct – to use stuff up. We were designed to construct – to create, build, make something more of what has been entrusted to us.

What is that something more?

Modern day happiness researchers who think they’ve stumbled on some new discovery have only discovered what the Bible has taught for thousands of years.  Of course, the Bible gets a bit more specific.  It says we were designed to live not just for something more, but for Matthew 22:34.  So, the first purpose of money is to use it in ways that glorify God.

The Bible says the second most important priority in life is to Matthew 22:39.  It never says that money or things are inherently bad.  It just teaches us not to love money or things, but to love people.  So, the second purpose of money is to use it in ways that strengthen our relationships with others.

And the Bible says we’ve all been given certain talents and passions in order to 1 Corinthians 1:7.  So, the third purpose of money is to use it in ways that enable us to make our unique meaningful contribution to the world.

Those are the three overarching purposes of money: use it to love God, love others, and make a difference with our lives.  They are the guiding principles for how we are to prioritize our use of money.  They are the path toward a meaningful, successful experience with money.

If you were to honestly evaluate your current use of money, how well does it line up with these three purposes?

Matt Bell is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, leads workshops at churches and universities around the country, and serves as Associate Editor at Sound Mind Investing, America’s best-selling investment newsletter written from a biblical perspective. To learn more and for a free subscription to the Sound Mind Investing blog, go to www.soundmindinvesting.com.