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God and Money

Laura Allen

Jesus talked about love, kindness, forgiveness, the kingdom of God, heaven, and hell. He also talked a lot about money. In fact, Jesus talked about money more than he talked about heaven and hell combined. Apparently, Jesus thought money was important.

If you want to know someone’s priorities, look at his or her calendar and bank statement. How people spend their time and money says a lot about what they think is important.

First Timothy 6:10a (NRSV) says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Many people have misunderstood this verse and think that because money is bad, Christians shouldn’t have any. But the Bible doesn’t say that money is evil. It simply warns us not to love money.

Laura1.2 BWe use money to buy food, clothing, and shelter; but we easily let money become more than that. I have a friend who always has to have the best of everything: a new car, new clothes, expensive jewelry. She pays with credit cards, so she is not only buying things she doesn’t need but also using money she doesn’t have. With interest, she will pay for those items many times over.

Often we think, If only I could have brand name shoes, a bigger house, or a newer car. This kind of thinking can quickly make us slaves to the pursuit of money. Do you know people who love money? Are they bitter and unpleasant to be around? The love of money makes some people stingy and tempts others to spend like crazy.

Jesus explains the attitude we should have toward money. In Matthew 6:19–21 Jesus warns us not to store up treasure on earth, where it can be ruined or stolen. Instead, he urges us to store it in heaven, where it is safe forever. What does he mean? I think verse 24 (NRSV) gives us a clue: “You cannot serve God and wealth.” How foolish it is to spend our short time on earth storing up treasures! If we become preoccupied with money and what it can buy, we are serving money rather than God. We are also wasting our lives, since the things money can buy won’t last for even a few years, much less for eternity. But how do we store up treasures in heaven? We spend our money in ways that have an eternal impact. If we give to the poor, to mission work, to the church, and to people in need, then we are investing in eternity.

Instead of trusting money to provide for our needs, Jesus challenges us to trust God. In Matthew 6:25–34, Jesus tells us not to worry. Think about the birds, he says. Don’t they have enough to eat? And the flowers—are they not beautifully clothed? God knows what we need and will provide for us as well.

 

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Photo Credit: Ken Wilcox. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Ken Wilcox. via Compfight cc

Keeping your attitude about money in check takes practice. Try these ideas:

  • Avoid debt. Proverbs 22:7b (NRSV) says, “The borrower is the slave of the lender.” What does the proverb mean? If we are worried about paying back a debt, then what are we unable to do? What are some ways to avoid getting into debt?
  • Create a budget. If you have income from a job or an allowance, determine ahead of time where the money will go; and stick to your plan. Here is a sample budget:
       >  Tithe 10%
       >  Gifts that Help Others 10%
       >  Savings 20%
       >  Entertainment 10%
       >  Necessities 50%
  • Ask God for help. Pray. Read what the Bible teaches about money. Count your blessings. Give to those in need. Tithe. Trust God in all things.

 

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Laura Allen sings with the contemporary Christian band No Other Name. She is also a wife, a mother, and a bargain shopper.

 

 

Photo Credit: Photo of Laura Allen by Caleb Kuhl

—from devozine (July/August 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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