Money might be one of the most misunderstood issues among Christians. After all, by just eliminating a word or two from a verse or cherry-picking which verses about money to learn vs. seeking a comprehensive knowledge of what Scripture says as a whole, misunderstanding is easy to do. So we’re doing our best to answer the money questions we’re asked the most often from a Biblical perspective. (But heads up – we’re not claiming to be the Holy Spirit either. See the last question for more on that.)
Here you go:
IS TITHING JUST FOR THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD IT?
Proverbs 3:9-10 says: “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”This proverb, stemming from the instruction from Deuteronomy 26:9-11, commands us to give of the first and best of the harvest. God doesn’t ask us for our leftovers because everything belongs to Him anyway. Rather than questioning why He requests us to give our first tenth of what we have, we really should live in awe and gratitude that God allows us to keep 90% of what is His. We are managers of God’s resources, not the other way around. Yes, it will require faith. And you may even have seasons where tithing doesn’t make budgeting sense. But tithing is the one area where God tells us to test Him and see if He doesn’t provide in overwhelming ways (Malachi 3:10).
SHOULD I FEEL GUILTY FOR CHARGING FOR MY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES AS A CHRIST-FOLLOWER?
Paul said it best in Acts 20:33-35: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”A few principles we can take away from Paul’s words: So no, when you are working to care for your needs, the needs of those who work with you, and the needs of your mission, there is no reason to feel guilty. But when and if you feel guilty, examine your life honestly for evidence of greed. No greed? No guilt. We should be content with what we have, not consumed with what others have. It is good to work hard to care for your own needs and those entrusted to your care; when your motives move from beyond needs and toward wealth, that’s when your actions and attitudes become questionable. Be known for your extravagant generosity, not your extravagant lifestyle.
AM I A SINNER IF I AM WEALTHY?
No! Wealth is not a sin, just as poverty isn’t a sin. Scripture says in 1 Timothy 6:10 that money isn’t the issue, but the love of money. We can’t avoid money altogether, but we do have to avoid letting it become an idol in our life. If you’re blessed in the way of finances, be grateful for God’s provision. However, balance your gratitude with generosity. Luke 12:48 shares that to whom much is given, much shall be required, so the more money you have, the greater your responsibility to be generous.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL AND THE POVERTY GOSPEL?
Quick definitions first:
- Prosperity Gospel: My earthly rewards prove my righteousness.
- Poverty Gospel: Self-denial earns my righteousness
- The Gospel: Jesus came to earth, lived the life I never could, died the death I deserved, and defeated the grave so that through my belief in Him, I could share in His righteousness.
Anything that adds to the gospel takes away from the gospel. God’s faithfulness does not equal prosperity and doing God’s work does not require poverty. God sees only our hearts, and He reveals Himself to us in a multitude of ways, many that have nothing to do with prosperity or poverty. God has promised us that He will take care of us and that we need not worry about how He will do it (Matthew 6:25-31). Our responsibility is to seek for His Kingdom and then everything else will be added (Matthew 6:33).
WHY DID JESUS TALK SO MUCH ABOUT MONEY?
Jesus knows that money is a top competitor for your heart. Whether discussing tithing or generosity, Jesus is not after your money, but He is after your heart. It’s not hard to see: many hearts have been led astray from Jesus due to the pursuit of money and possessions. So whenever you see Jesus talking about money in Scripture, He isn’t insulting the wealthy or shaming the poor. But He knows that in the fallen world we live in, money is often the security people turn to other than God, so He consistently points to the truth that stuff can’t satisfy (only He can!)and when we have earthly security in money and we have less reason to depend on Him, it’s easier for our hearts to be led astray.
It’s fine to have money.
It’s dangerous to depend on money.
It’s a sin to love money.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM SLAVE TO MONEY?
Bruce Frank once shared these questions to consider if you feel you might be a slave to money:
- Do you think/worry about money often? Do you always pursue whatever avenue makes the most money?
- Do you care too much about your possessions?
- Are you generous?
- Are you in debt?
BUT WHAT ABOUT _________? SHOULD I _____________? I FEEL CONVICTED ABOUT ________________.
Heads up: We’re not the Holy Spirit, and we’ll never try to be. Scripture gives us clear guidance, but many times, how we are called to live out His principles will not look exactly the same for each of us. God gives each of us different paths so we can reach more for Him. As you make decisions, you won’t always have a specific answer on exactly what you should do. Those are the moments to hit your knees and seek His face. And if He convicts you to do something, our job is to respond to His conviction with obedience. So use His Word to align your mind with His truth, then pray for His wisdom as you live out His commands.
The great theologian Biggie Smalls put it this way: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” (Okay, maybe he wasn’t a theologian, but the theology of that statement IS spot on!) So for the entire month of March, we are going to look at what the Bible says about money. And there’s a lot. In fact, 16 of Jesus’ 38 parables concerned how to handle money and possessions. And since money and work go hand-in-hand, we need to have a biblical worldview on this subject.
Here’s what’s happening inside the membership this month:
Can’t wait to dig in with you, members! And yes, this is your reminder to JOIN if you’ve been waiting… it’s time. We are pumped to meet you!