Saturday, June 1, 2013

God And Money

Money is an essential part of life. We need it to buy food and clothing. It pays for our cars and fuel to get us to work and back so that we can earn the money to get those things we want in life. But the love of money ( 1 Tim. 6:10) can also get us into problems that not even money can get us out of.  When we focus on money rather than the provider of money. We begin to fall into the trap of idolatry.  (Col. 3:5)

Jesus, The Son of God, says to us, “You cannot serve God and money. You will either love one or hate the other or hate one and love the other.”  (Mt. 6:24) We can trust Jesus’ words for they exhibit to us the knowledge of God’s love for us. It was he who said do not be anxious for tomorrow for our Father in Heaven will take care of us better than He will take care of the animals of creation. (Mt. 6:25-34) Service to God is knowledge that He will provide for us.

And God will provide for us as He is the creator of the universe. He owns the world. And we are a part of the world. Remember the Bible begins with the story of creation. Everything was good. Then God made man and put him the Garden. Everything was provided for him. But because of disobeying God’s word, we could not remain in the Garden but had to work the ground. (Gen. 3:19) Yet the ground was there to be worked provided by God.

King David was well aware of this as he took up a collection for the new Temple his son was to build as he prayed, “ …for all that is in heavens and the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom O Lord and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you and you rule over all…. For all things come from you and of your own have we given you.  (1 Chron. 29:11-14)  Everything belongs to God! Everything comes from God. Our money belongs to God! And so how do we say thank you?

Like King David, we give back what God has given us. We use what belongs to God for His purposes. This means in every area of our life, our money and our possessions which are not ours to begin with are to be used as God wills it.  The Old Testament set guidelines for giving back our first fruits. (Dt. 14:22) In other words, we put God first. We give Him our best. When we get paid we should set aside our first fruits giving to the church for the spread of the Kingdom.

This may be hard if we have bills to pay.  But everyday is an opportunity to turn back to God. The first step is to look at what 90% of your income looks like.  This is what God wants you to be a steward of.  Look at your necessities. Is there anything you need to trim or cut back such as cable programs or phone plans. God says he will provide for us but all too often we want more than what God is providing. It is no wonder the very last commandment of the Decalogue is “Thou shalt not covet!” Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we see what appeals to our eyes and we reach for it. Let us not forget our God will cleanse us of our sins when we confess them to Him. (1 Jn. 1:9) He is in the heart changing business.  Begin with asking God to help you rearrange your priorities. Ask that your finances be Christ-centered and not self-centered. Once you begin to do this, you will be trusting in God’s promise of provision.  And once you start living for Him in all aspects of your life, you will be free to give to God what already belongs to Him. And God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Cor. 9:7)

Return to me and I will return to you says the Lord of Hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?” Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, “How have we robbed you?” In your tithes and contributions. …..Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Malachi 3:7-10)