Money is on almost everyone’s mind today. We wonder whether we’ll have enough to make ends meet each week, to pay for our children’s education, to support our retirement, or to get out of debt. There’s nothing inherently wrong or evil about having or using money. Where we sometimes go astray is in how we use it or why it’s so important to us. Since handling money is a necessary and important part of life, we need to develop a personal conviction about it, based on God’s Word. Only then can we live wisely and please Him in all our ways.
The World’s Viewpoint About Money
The key word that describes the world’s perspective is accumulation. It’s all about receiving. The goal is to get as much as we can and keep as much as possible for the future. The primary focus is self-interest—personal desires, needs, pleasures, and security. And once a sufficient amount is obtained, the next task is to protect it.
This world view promises happiness and financial security for those who accumulate an abundance, but these are empty promises. Some of the richest people in the world may in fact be the most miserable, and there is no guarantee that their wealth won’t be lost tomorrow.
God’s Viewpoint About Money
What we believe always influences how we handle money. That’s why it’s important to let our convictions be shaped by what the Lord says.
God owns it all. According to Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” This is the first and primary truth we must understand. Everything we consider to be ours is really His.
We are stewards of God’s money. If the Lord owns it all, then we are the stewards or managers of His possessions. Everything He entrusts to us is to be used as He directs.
The Lord’s key word is distribute. Unlike the world’s view, which emphasizes accumulation, God wants us to distribute what He gives us. Instead of working to receive all we can, we need to become people who work to give all we can.
When Christ talked about generosity, He encouraged His followers saying, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38).
What we do with our money determines what we receive. Either we rely upon ourselves to get whatever we can, or we give as God directs and receive what He generously provides. The Lord not only owns everything, but He also has complete control of it and can direct it to us if He chooses. If we give as He desires, He will reward us for our obedience.
But there’s a warning to be heeded as well. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
Money can be dangerous when it’s not under God’s control and used in keeping with His will and purpose. Instead of longing for riches and falling into temptations and snares, the Lord says, “Flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (v. 11).
After hearing God’s encouragement and warning, we must each make a choice. One option is to be obedient to the Lord in our giving and trust Him to keep His promise to provide for us. The other alternative is to seek satisfaction through accumulation, even if it requires going into debt. The second method never leads to happiness, because that is only found in a right relationship with God and obedience to His will.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Your Convictions About Money,” which airs this weekend on TV.