The Truth About Money. We’ve kicked the series off with a few words about the pursuit of wisdom and why anyone in their right mind would choose this disciplined lifestyle. Now we’re on to the actual words in Proverbs that speak directly into how we are to view and handle our wealth.
You know what the first verses specifically dealing with money have to say?
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
I think that’s pretty telling that the first verses talk about giving your money away. Chew on that a second.
I am not about to get into the theological debate about whether or not “tithing”- giving 10% of your income to the church- is required in the New Testament. I don’t honestly care. The Bible says a bizillion times that we are to be generous, so that’s what I’m going to aim for, whatever that looks like.
The thing is- I’m not a very generous person. It doesn’t come very naturally. Sure, if I have $1000 in my pocket, I might put $50 in the offering plate at church and feel really good about myself for being so “generous.” But what about the times (more often than not) that I have $100 in my pocket, and someone asks for $50 to go serve the poor in South America? Hmm… that might actually hurt a little bit to give.
What does it mean to “honor the Lord with [my] wealth”? To give Him the firstfruits? Mike and I have a policy- we try to give something to all who ask, wether it’s time, money, or talent. Something. And it is SOOOO not because we are super awesome generous people. Actually, it’s the opposite. We are SOOOO not inclined to giving out of our poverty that we put this policy into place in the hopes that just taking the step of obedience will eventually cause a heart-level change in us. It’s slow going, people. Very. Slow. Going.
But here is what I believe, at least in my mind (my heart, as usual, is a little slow in catching up.) When that Proverb above says that my “barns will be filled to overflowing” (insert “bank account” in place of “barn”), it means that God is interested in partnering with me in meeting needs on the earth. If I can learn to honor him with my wealth, meaning I look to Him and trust Him as He directs me, He will bless me.
Again, I don’t think this is a “health, wealth, and happiness” principle– sorry Charlie. Real life just doesn’t support that idea. What I think is that when we posture ourselves to live life and manage our money and resources with wisdom, when we learn to give generously even when it hurts, heaven may entrust us with more not so we can have more necessarily, but because He wants to use us to release more and use us as instruments of blessing to others.
No, it’s not wrong to have a big house- but when someone needs a warm bed, do you turn them away or invite them in? No, it’s not wrong to have a fridge overflowing with food- but when someone needs a hot meal, do you open wide those fridge doors and load them up with the bounty?
Mike pointed me to Matthew 25: 14-46 in which Jesus himself illustrates this idea in a parable about a man who gives his servants different amounts of money and then leaves them for a time. When he returns, the two to whom he entrusted a large sum of money to have doubled that money through wise investment, but the third just buried that money (maybe in his savings account???) and was only able to produce back exactly what he had been given. The master strips this man of what little he had been originally been given, and gives it to one of the wise men who had managed his money well.
Jesus then gives a strong condemnation of this third man. ” For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Verse 29). YIKES! It’s not that Jesus hates poor people and wants to take whatever they have to give to the rich (not at all!), what Jesus is talking about is this idea of generosity and wisdom. Do we know when to give out of what we have instead of sitting on it and hording it? How silly would I be to get to heaven and hand God my savings account statement and say, “Gee, thanks for helping me stockpile all that!” while He’s just shaking His head saying, “Yes, but didn’t you see your poor neighbor who was struggling to make ends meet? Didn’t you recognize the single mom who was drowning in the struggles of life? You could have multiplied that blessing I gave you ten times over! Read on in Matthew 25 to verses 31-49…
O.k. That’s my word for the day. Can you tell I feel strongly?? I could keep going, but I won’t.
Meditate on this and go back and read my cross references in 2 Corinthians 8 and Matthew 25. I invite you to read these passages and see if you draw a different conclusion. And leave a comment. 🙂
Next we’ll pick up with more Proverbs- keep reading through and highlighting or underlining everything that has to do with wealth or money. That’s what we’re doing, and boy is there a LOT just in Proverbs alone! I had no idea…
Read more Truth About Money here!