Habits + Disciplines

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Part 1

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We’re back with another two-part mini-series! We’re going to be diving into a new perspective on money. There’s so much to say about this, so we’re splitting it into two episodes for your sake (you’re welcome)!

The Issue with Our Perspective on Money

So many Christians have become too much like the culture when it comes to how they view, handle, and use their money. I believe that Jesus and the New Testament authors would be appalled….

Too often, we view money as ours. We earned it, we worked for it, and it’s in our possession, so we can choose what to do with it. We may not explicitly think like this, but the way we talk about money demonstrates that this is indeed the case. 

Rather than viewing money as our own, we ought to view it as 100% God’s. It is His money, and we are merely stewards of it.

This idea is really hammered home by Randy Alcorn. I (Nathaniel) have talked about him a good amount lately, but I LOVE his books and recommend them all. 

If 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us to do all to the glory of God, that means that every single purchase we make should be glorifying Him as well.

Would we be able to answer to God for every single purchase that we’ve made? 

First Things First (from the Bible)

Let’s talk about a few thoughts from a biblical perspective. We talked about a few of these long ago on our managing money podcast episode.

It can be very easy to justify the idolatry of money based on the good you can do with it. “I wanna be rich so that I can help people….” While this might sound like good intentions, what are you doing now with your current resources to help others?

“Good People” and Money

We also hear, “Money in the hands of good people is a good thing.” That would be true if we were inherently good people, but we’re not. We’re inherently sinful and so we’re always going to be tempted to use money for impure or self-serving things. Even as redeemed believers, we are not immune from temptation or falling into sin. We still fight against flesh and blood, so we need to be cautious about how we use our money.

The Poverty Gospel

It can also be easy to take on a poverty gospel. Don’t overcorrect and swing the pendulum to the other side. You don’t have to be poor to be a good follower of Jesus. It truly is all about the condition of your heart, regardless of if you are poor or rich. God calls both the poor and the rich to Himself. Both Zaccheus and Lydia were followers.

The Love of Money

Scripture also tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil. John Piper discusses how the love of money is equivalent to faith in money to meet your needs and make you happy.

He writes: “He (Paul) meant that all the evils in the world come from a certain kind of heart, namely, the kind of heart that loves money….. the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer…. So, the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money — belief (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy.” 

John Piper

Whether you are poor or rich, you can easily fall into this trap. Money itself is not evil- it is a tool that can be used for both good and bad. However, it’s important to realize that the more we hold on to money, the more of a hold it has on our hearts.

“Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart.”

John Wesley

God’s Desires

God does not desire all of His people to be rich. Some of the most faithful believers throughout history have been poor and suffered greatly. Jesus and His apostles worked with their hands and were not wealthy.

Jesus also talked more about the danger of money than the benefit of it.  In Matthew 6:19-31, He says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth….. You cannot serve God and money” 

If you are listening to this podcast, you are wealthier than 99% of people throughout history. It is so dangerous to think that God desires for His followers to be rich. So many solid, faithful believers are poor.

Side note: It is a myth that Jesus talked about money more than anything else. He talked about the kingdom of heaven more, although he did talk about money a lot!

Your View of God

Your view of God is demonstrated by the way you handle your money.

If you steward it well, are quick to give it away, and don’t cling to it, it shows that you don’t view money as your own and are not living for this life. 

If you hoard, protect, and spend it all on yourself… it demonstrates that you view money as your own and not God’s. You don’t view yourself as a steward, you view yourself as a leech. 

How often do you think about those less fortunate than you? Do you ask God whether you should give more and live on less? How often do you evaluate your budget and ask where you can cut spending on yourself so that you can give more to God’s kingdom? Do you have a budget?

Randy Alcorn uses an analogy that I (Xan) love. Think about a person living in the South near the conclusion of the Civil War who had a lot of Confederate currency. They know it’s about to be useless. Would they hoard it? Of course not! They would keep enough to supply their short-term needs (food, clothes, etc…) while converting the rest to other forms of currency that will last (US dollars, gold, etc…). 

If we believe that we are on this earth for a short time and that heaven lasts forever, why would we not invest our money in eternal matters? Why would we not give it away, seeking to make an eternal impact rather than spend it on ourselves for short-term pleasure? In the analogy used above, we are like people hoarding Confederate currency knowing that it will be useless in just a short amount of time. 

Is Being Rich a Blessing?

Oftentimes, being rich is not a blessing, it’s actually a test.

People will say “Oh, we are just so blessed by the Lord with all that He has given us.” In Luke 6:20, Jesus actually says “Blessed are you who are poor…” This flies in the face of traditional thought!

What if instead of a blessing, we view money as a test… it then becomes a scary thought. Because if it’s a test, a lot of times, we fail that test. 

Key Biblical Passages on Money

What are some key biblical texts on money?

  1. 1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

    Again, the love of money is the issue here… not money itself. You can be rich or poor and have this be the case. The way you live your life, what consumes your thoughts, and how you handle the money that you have or lose demonstrates whether or not you love money.
  2. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 – “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

    We want to note that Paul doesn’t say “to the rich of this present age, go and sell all that you have and become poor.” However, they are to put their trust in God, be rich in good works, and be generous.

    Too often we can say “Yeah, I do that. I give to my church and a few other charities- I am a pretty good person.” Compare your generosity to what we see in Scripture and to what we see Jesus expect, not to what we see around us. 
  3. Matthew 6:24 – “You cannot serve God and money”
  4. Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    Another way we can tell if we have a love of money. Are we content with what God has given us? Or are we constantly thinking about a new car, new clothes, a new house, etc…
  5. Luke 12:13-21 – The Parable of the Rich Fool.
  6. Luke 21:1-4 – The story of the poor widow who was commended. She gave all she had out of her poverty.

Does your life look more like the rich fool’s or the poor widows’?

We can be quick to gloss over the warning passages about money throughout the Bible. We are quick to justify and rationalize our own behavior that goes against Scripture.

Let’s be honest, our lives probably look more like the rich fool who was condemned rather than the poor widow who gave her last two coins and was commended.

This episode was a lot of the foundational principles… Join us next week as we get into a more practical discussion. See you next week!

One Degree Shift

Evaluate your budget, pray, and ask God if you can live on less and if you can give more. 

Want to Stay a Little Longer?

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