The money talk. I know it is a touchy subject for many people. However it was one of Jesus’ most common topics. Paul puts it into the conversation of joy because it has such an influence on it (see Philippians 4:10-20). I want to share 7 Bible Truths About Money, then give some practical actions to help you adopt generosity to find joy.
#7 – Money Competes with God for Our Hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 ““No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” After salvation, the Lordship of Jesus in your life is the most important lesson you will ever learn. And until you learn it in regard to your money, you will never discover contentment and joy. You will never experience the abundant life the way God intended for you.
#6 – All Our Money and Assets Belong to God. When talking about sacrifices, God says in Psalm 50:10-11, ““For every beast of the forest is Mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 “I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.” Likewise in Deuteronomy 8:17-18, “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.”
Let me quote two people from both sides of the political aisle: “You didn’t build that!” and “Talent on loan from God.” Either of these statements may make you mad. But both of them carry some biblical truth. God enables us to build our wealth. He gave us our life, talents and the opportunity. He also owns everything so everything is only ours on loan.
GOD LOANS YOU EVERYTHING!
As our kids were growing up we taught them that everything is God’s. We know that at least they heard us when we told one of them as they were throwing a tantrum that they would not treat our stuff like that. They quickly retorted, “It isn’t yours, it’s God’s!” To which I corrected myself, “Yes it is His, but I am responsible for it!”
#5 Tithing Is a Pre-Mosaic Law Principle. While it is true the New Testament does not command the tithe, it is not exclusively a Mosaic Law thing. Abraham tithed (gave 10%) to the King-Priest Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7). Melchizedek was an Old Testament type of Christ. We honor and respect Christ with our tithe.
#4 Tithing Is a God-Approved Test Zone. In Malachi 3:8-10, God says the Israelites have robbed Him by not bringing in the whole tithe to the storehouse. He goes on to give permission to test Him in the tithe to see if He is not faithful to provide all we need. The scripture is clear we are not to test God, but tithing is the one place God gives us permission, actually challenges us to test Him.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
#3 Generosity Is the New Testament Standard. Paul highlights his friends in Philippi for their generosity in 4:16, “for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.” As I read it they sent him a minimum of three gifts to supply for his needs. Jesus talked about this in Mark 12:44, when He declared that the rich men gave out of their surplus and a widow gave more than all of them when she gave out of our poverty.
#2 Jesus Provides the Strength to Follow Him. Paul writes one of his most famous quotes in 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Most of us probably didn’t realize this was written in a money talk context. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
Listen, God is concerned as much or more about the money you keep than the money you give back to Him. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Your tithe, your generous giving is more for you than it is for Him.
#1 Contentment Precedes Joy. Paul writes in Philippians 4:10-12, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
Listen to me, the more you look to physical things, the more you look to financial things, to make you happy the more you will need. Things of this world are temporary. They are fleeting.
If you know anything about addictions, you know that the high eventually drops you lower than where you started, and you need an ever-increasing fix to satisfy you. An addiction is our sinful nature on steroids! Jesus provides the strength to overcome. Jesus gives victory. The truth is sometimes it miraculously. It comes instantaneously, but most of the time God uses the storms of the journey to reveal His faithfulness and the value of righteousness.
For too many of us we are addicted to our money. It not only competes with God for our hearts but owns them. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
Let me get to the practical side of this post. I want to challenge all of us to Make a bold step towards contentment. We will never experience the joy filled life if we are not content. We will never be content if our hearts value money over God. Here are two things to do to help you process if your money has you or if you have money:
- Examine your heart. Do a personal inventory: Is your bank account more important than your Bible? Do you manage your money by faith? Have you budgeted what you are going to give based on what you make or what you have left? Do you give to God first or do you pay your bills first? Is your body more important than your soul? Do you give from your surplus or your heart? Faith giving is counter intuitive to the world. It is a trust/risk thing, not a practical thing. God honors faith giving not giving from our surplus. Do you give joyfully? Do you give out of guilt or religious duty? Do you give out of love to honor God? It would be a huge step of faith to go from zero giving to giving 10%. I am not saying you should or shouldn’t, but this is something you need to pray and talk about. Do you have the faith to give 1% of your income? Do you have the faith to give 5% of your income? Do you have the faith to give 10% of your income? How much faith would it take for you to increase your giving by 1, 2, or 3%? Giving is an act of worship.
- Test God on this! God has given His permission to test Him in the area of your giving. Test Him and see if He doesn’t supply all your needs!
(I want to thank Pastor Barry Cameron for some of the phrases in the personal inventory above. They have helped me process my heart.)