The clang of coins is pleasing to anyone’s ear. The picture of Caesar or some other official emblem is engraved on one side. That shows who is the issuing authority. But to whom does money really belong to? It belongs to you. Or does it really? Think again. It is in your hands, all right. But does it really belong, to you?
The answer to this question is important to your life and your future. God has given us guidelines to manage money wisely. Let us explore the simple principles given to us for our prosperity.
This article teaches you:
- Serving God or Money
Now let us go back to the question of to whom does your money belong to.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1 NIV).
Absolute ownership of everything is the Lord’s. Logically it follows that money is also owned by God. King David in his prayer echoes these thoughts beautifully.
“Wealth and honor come from you. Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you” [author’s emphasis] (1 Chronicles 29:12a, 14b, 16 NIV).
The first thing to joyfully accept with regard to the money box in your heart is that God owns it all.
If God owns it all, then what is your role in handling money? That is again a logical question. The key passage that answers this question is Matthew 25: 14 to 30. Here, Jesus teaches what you are supposed to do with money.
First of all, Jesus teaches that you are entrusted with property and money. That means that you are made responsible for managing it. Stewardship also means the same thing; to take care and manage something like money.
Secondly, the talents (denoting the amount of money) were given to each according to his ability. This is important. God gives you responsibility of handling money according to your ability. The amount that each person in the Parable received was different because their abilities were different. Therefore you need not worry about how much others have; but you need to be concerned with how much you have been given. Your role is to manage that money wisely.
Thirdly, God expects you to use your money. He wants you to put it to work. In other words God wants you to grow the money that is given to you in a wise and ethical way1. One of the ways to use your money is to help others. Jesus said: “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9 NIV). Here, there is a word of caution too. Money that is yours today can be gone tomorrow for any number of reasons. So use money wisely today so that others may help you out tomorrow even when it is gone.
Fourthly, God rewards faithfulness in His servants. Those who have handled money wisely will be put in charge of many things. More will be given to them. They will be promoted highly in His kingdom. And more than that they will be rewarded with their master’s happiness.
Finally, God punishes those who do not put their money to good use. Whatever money was originally given to them will be taken away and given to others.
So, the second thing about is to put to use the money, that God has given you according to your ability, and manage it in a wise manner and make it grow.
Serving God or Money
One of the saddest things in the Christian world is to see the unwise use of money. It is then that money become the master of people. This is never God’s intention when He entrusts money to His people. He wants His servants to serve Him and make use of money. But many Christians end up serving money. In other words they becomes slaves of money. And it is a very sad situation.
Jesus said that it is impossible to serve both God and money: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 5:24, Luke 16:13 NIV). Note that Jesus said: You CANNOT serve both God and money.
When Jesus said this, Luke records that, the Pharisees, WHO LOVED MONEY, were sneering at Jesus. So He told them that God knew their hearts and, “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” It is important to note that Jesus made that statement in the context of love of money.
The love of money can really destroy lives. Paul makes that very clear: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9,10 NIV).
Paul here uses the symbolism of “Root.” Usually out of one root one type of plant and one type of fruit grows. Here, Paul warns that the love of money is a root for ALL KINDS OF EVIL. That is very important. It means that if you love money more than God, then out of that root of wrong love and affection, would spring up many evils that would destroy you.
So, another point is that you should not love the money in the money box in your heart. Instead, you should serve God and make money your servant.
Much confusion has been created over tithing. Actually it is one of the clearest teachings in the Bible.
In the Old Testament: The first recorded tithe was given by Abram to Melchizedek (Ref. Genesis 14:20). Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, on another occasion promises to give God a tenth of all God would give him (Ref. Genesis 28:22). Again, the Levites were not given any inheritance in Israel. But they were given the tithes given by the Israelites. And God commanded the Levites to give to Him a tenth out of the tithes that Israelites gave them (Ref. Numbers 18:21–29). God also told them: “You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you” (Numbers 18:29).
Finally there is the great complaint that God had against the Israelites: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me” (Malachi 3:8a NIV). God pointed out that they were under a curse–the whole nation–because of robbing Him in tithes and offerings. So God gave one of most unusual promises in the entire Bible challenging us to “Test me in this.” He asks everyone to bring the tithes into His storehouse. Then He promises to open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that people will not have room enough for it.
In the New Testament: Jesus affirmed the practice of giving tithes (Ref. Matthew 23:23). Paul says that all who believe are children of Abraham and those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham (Ref. Galatians 3:7,9). Since Jesus affirmed giving of tithes, and as children of Abraham we are bound to continue giving tithes, let us continue to do so.
Back to the Old Testament: You cannot escape the law established by God. It says that the tithe belongsto the Lord: “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30 NIV).
Back to the New Testament: The Bible teaches the attitude with which you should give. Paul quotes Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35z NIV).
The whole confusion in tithing has been created by teachers who teach that giving to God is a means to get much in return. This attitude is wrong. Though God will bless the giver abundantly, give to God cheerfully because it is written that it is more blessed to give. Do not try to manipulate God to give you a “big” blessing when you give.
What if your “big” blessing that you expect from God is small like an ant compared to the “big elephant-like blessing” that God originally planned for you!
So, give a tenth of your income to God. Do that first. When you do that God will bless you in ways that you never expected. It is silly to expect God to return what you gave in terms of money alone. Wait and see the all-surrounding ways in which He will bless you.
So, the tenth of your money in your money box in your heart belongs to God. Give it to the Church, to missions, to spread God’s Word, to the poor and needy. You can even give more than a tenth as God gives you grace and ability to do so. But do it prayerfully. Pray much and seek God’s help and guidance to know when and where to give. This will save you much heartache concerning the tithe in your money box in your heart!
1 God does not honor shady channels of making money. For example read: Deuteronomy 23:18).