Hi there! Glad you chose to step in and brave the topic. Tomorrow is payday, so I was thinking about money. Get your favorite beverage and grab a comfy seat. Relax. Smile. Ready? Great!
Okay, so I know nobody likes to talk about money unless it’s coming to them. But did you know that Jesus talked more about money than he did even about Hell? It’s true. Money is very important to God. Actually, our attitude toward money is very important to God. He wants our hearts.
There are lots of things I could quote – “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil”. “You cannot serve both God and money.” “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (referring to paying your taxes!) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse…” Notice that it’s the love of money that’s the root of all sorts of evil, not the money itself. Money is amoral; that means it has no right/wrong or good/bad in and of itself. It’s all in how we use it and our heart attitude toward it.
The Sacred Scripture is quite clear about how to handle money. We are to use it as a tool, not an end in itself. We are not to store it up, save it up, or treasure it up – to excess – not to hoard it. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a savings account, or have investments. But we are to share with those less fortunate, give to the poor without expecting any return, and give to the ‘storehouse’ which is the church, to further the Gospel of Jesus and to help the poor on that level. If we were more obedient to the Sacred Scripture on this topic, pastors would have no reason to preach on it!
The Sacred Scriptures say that “God loves a cheerful giver”. The word ‘cheerful’ in the Greek actually can be translated ‘hilarious’. When was the last time you literally laughed out loud with joy as you gave? Believe me, it’s possible!
So, are we tithing? Are we giving that first 10% back to God in gratitude for all that He’s given to us? Are we giving to help the less fortunate?
Or are we holding on to our money, thinking it’s ours? After all, we’ve earned it, so we can spend every dime on our own bills (and how many of those are for the latest and greatest gadget?) Have we backed ourselves into a financial corner, so ‘there’s nothing left. Sorry God!’
The book of Malachi specifically speaks of ‘robbing God’ in this area. If you want to know where the power to do that job and gain that money comes from, take a look at Deuteronomy 8:11-18. And don’t try to weasel out of it by saying these are Old Testament verses. Jesus often quoted the Old Testament prophets. He saw them as valid, and even said He had not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
If you’re not giving, then start. If you don’t have a budget, make one. If you’re in trouble, find a financial counselor. The folks at Dave Ramsey and his ‘Financial Peace University’ are a great resource. Another Christian financial resource I’ve seen is Crown Financial Ministries. I’m sure there are others, check with a priest or pastor.
Giving is much more than obedience to a command, although obedience is important. Giving frees us from being the slave of money – the earning it, managing it, spending it, caring for all the stuff we own, etc. Giving frees us to acknowledge that it all comes from God, anyway. It helps us detach from the drive of greed to gain more and more and more, and from the selfishness that would keep it all for ourselves. Giving helps us practice being thankful for what we have, especially when we share with others who have so little.
Ask God how you can give. Then follow through, laughing all the way from the bank to the joys of heaven. Now, while we don’t give in order to ‘make’ God give to us, I’ll guarantee that you cannot outgive God. He will supply all your needs and can bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Malachi 3:6-11 is the only place in Sacred Scriptures where he literally says to test Him.
So, to answer the question, “Whose money is it, anyway?” I’d have to say it belongs to God, we’re just taking care of it for a bit. Let’s ask Him how He would like to use the amount He’s given us to care for!