One Good Approach
Slide 4 of 4
Gospel Approach: We use our money as a means to serve God.
In a long, fascinating story in Luke 16 about the power and influence of money in a person's life, Jesus ends his parable with this incredible statement:
Luke 16:13 "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
It's incredible to think that the most critical and powerful force that rivals our love for God is our love of money. Think about that. Jesus is stating that the one thing above all else that will drive us away from our love of God is the love of money. Money is neutral, but in a person's life, it never is. We must always pick aside.
Here are the two actions ( I believe) that accompany which side you pick:
When We own our faith, we manage our money.
In this sense, we see money as a tool, a resource to honor God. It's a means to showcase to God and to the world where our ultimate allegiance is — to God. We can keep some of it as God allows us to get what we need by God's grace. But we must also invest it in His kingdom by giving back to the church and be generous by giving it away to others in need. When we do this, we own our faith by becoming money managers rather than owners. This is the proper and only good perspective to have when it comes to money — we don't own any of it; we just manage it for God as He's asked us to.
When We own our money, we manage our faith.
The problem is when we get these two things reversed and see money as something we own. We've worked hard for it, sacrificed for it, and saved it over a long period of time. We've earned it through our skills, education, and determination. It's ours. And when we think this way, we'll manage our faith.
We'll say things like, "God really doesn't need my money, so I don't really have to give it back." Or "My church seems to be doing fine; they don't need my money or for me to give any more." Or maybe even "I give back in my time, my skills and by volunteering, so I don't need to give." All of these are faith managing attitudes, not money managing actions. We can easily justify keeping more of what "we've earned" rather than giving back what God has given us.
Money is undoubtedly a tricky, awkward, touchy subject when it comes to our faith. But honestly, we need to talk about it more often. In the New Testament, Jesus is pretty clear about where He stands on the topic and how we are to be on our guard about its influence in our lives. Again money is never neutral in the life of a person. And in the life of a Christian, it not only can't be neutral, it should only be used for God.
When we provide for our families and friends and have what we need, it honors God. We can say thank you with gratitude that He has provided all that we need, even if it's not all that we want. When we give it away to others in generosity, this honors God, too, as people see our heart for generosity. Then we can tell them it's because God was first generous with us that we can be generous with others. And finally, when we give to the church in faithfulness, obedience, but especially in cheerfulness, this honors God too. We agree with God by saying - "This is all yours, God, thank you for entrusting it to me."
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Enterline Design Services LLC