My wife and I are rich in terms of the fact that we have a roof over our heads, food to eat, water to drink, healthcare, education, and the ability to enjoy a little bit of fun from time to time. If you were to ask us, though, we are nowhere near rich because we base the definition of rich on seeing others with more “stuff” or money than we have. Maybe they are taking all the cool vacations and we are not. Maybe they are eating a 4 and 5-star restaurants. Splurging on a restaurant for us is typically going to the little hole in the wall that sells Mexican food for cheap.
We don’t typically have a lot in our bank account at the end of the month. I read an article the other day about people who save and save with the expectation that they will do good things with their money when they get enough of it.
But what happens if that day never comes?
You could walk out the door and be hit by a bus and never come to realize the good that you could have done with that money, or time, or love.
Money, as with anything in this life, can easily be a burden, a blessing, or a barrier.
Solomon says it best
Proverbs 30:7-9 – “I ask two things from you, Lord. Don’t refuse me before I die. Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don’t make me either rich or poor; just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’ If I am poor, I might steal and disgrace the name of my God.
As we go through what is left of our lives, we really need to understand how to look at money.
First, the burden.
If you spend all your life chasing money, then you have become a slave to it. You might desire to do good things with it, you might even do good with it from time to time, but you have determined that your money is YOURS and you ultimately have the decision over it.
When we find money as a burden, we spend our days chasing it. We live paycheck to paycheck. We can’t seem to get out from under the drive that money has over us.
When money is a burden, you feel as if you can’t get out from under the mountain of debt you have acquired. Your spending feels out of control. Every decision you make financially means that you will have to eliminate something out of your budget or else you will have to increase the debt. It creates a deep hole of debt that you can never get out of so you have to work more, or maybe even take a second job.
You begin looking at money in a negative way. You almost never tithe, and when you do it is much less than what you should. Work begins to become a negative thing as well.
You are burdened.
But our God is not a God of burdens, He is a God of relieving burdens.
It is at this point that resetting how you look at money is needed.
You might believe in God and lean on Him with almost every aspect of your life. But with money, you don’t, at least not until you feel you have to.
Then there is the other end of the spectrum. Money can be a barrier to God as well.
In the modern church today, especially with many of the pastors in the prosperity arena, God wants to bless you physically and monetarily as well as spiritually.
I don’t completely disagree. But I also don’t completely agree.
Proverbs 23:4 – Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.
Many times when we have plenty we find ourselves doing everything in our own power. We leave God out of the equation altogether. Much of what we can do in this world to be successful doesn’t necessarily require God to bless it. He has given us abilities, even if we decide to use them for only ourselves.
During this time you might pray to God. You might even tithe. But you don’t truly understand what it means to lean on God for all your needs. If you need more money for something, you work a little harder. You make personal financial investment choices before considering the community of believers.
You need to learn that money is simply a tool. It is a means to an end, and none of it is yours. Apart from the argument that it all belongs to the government, it truly all belongs to God. He gave it to you. He wants you to use your money and/or position to further the Kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
Finally, money could be a blessing. While the Bible shows many cases where being rich is not necessarily a good thing, one point is very clear: God will provide your needs.
In the verse above God not only provides our needs but gives us plenty leftover to help others.
Notice something here, God does not say that he will give us plenty leftover to plan retirement or take a cruise or eat lavishly (this one hurts a little as I love food). But He gives us plenty so that we can help others with it.
The Christian life should never be one of comfort.
We should always be needing God to supply our needs, whether that be a mortgage, a car payment, or food.
But in return, we are promised that we will have everything we need, and more, so long as we provide for others with the excess.
So how do you see money and work? Is it a burden in which you are spending your entire time and life scraping by paycheck to paycheck without being able to celebrate the Kingdom of God with it? Is it a barrier that hinders your ability to seek God? Or is it a blessing, not just for you but for others with the excess that God has given you?
It may require some restructuring of your finances. But if you do, I promise, as does the Word of God, that it will be worth it for you.