What do you do with your money?

“It’s my money,” is an interesting thought when considered in the light of God’s will.

The Old Testament prophets identified the tendency to gather possessions only to squander them as a serious problem.

God’s Law taught that all of the land belonged to God. God’s people were to use the land as agents for God, not as their personal possession.

Leviticus 25 prescribed what should happen with the 50th year, the Jubilee. If people lost their property due to debt, at the Jubilee they were to get back what they had lost.

My partner with whom I produce YouTube videos often speaks about how through God’s love and grace humans will get back what they have lost.

The Bible teaches that the philosophy “It’s my money” is a wrong conception.

Jesus put the issue in the correct perspective. He taught, “For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” (Matthew 16.26).

If gaining the world is the wrong approach, then what is the right way to respond to God?

Jesus summarized the best priority: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6.33).

Commands About Money

Paul reflected the will of God concerning money and instructed Timothy.

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches but rather on God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,

Thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life (1 Timothy 6.17-19).

Paul’s counsel included what people should do and not do along with the result of that kind of behavior.

— What not to do.

(1) Wealth should not be a source of human pride. A vanity plate on the back of an obscenely expensive car read, “EARNIT.”

The message of the car’s owner was that he earned the right to possess the car. If lesser humans wanted a car like his, they needed to work as hard and smart as he did.

The world’s valuation of wealth is as misguided as the man’s vanity plate. God’s wealth is on load to humans. We are stewards of his gifts, not owners.

(2) A limited view of wealth believes that the “money pie” is only so large. Humans have to protect their slice of the pie or lose out.

The Biblical understanding of wealth believes that God can make the “money pie” as large as he desires.

Jesus expressed this truth in the passage about worry while preaching the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6.25-34). He promised his followers that if they sought to live by kingdom principles he would take care of their needs.

— What to do.

We are “to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share” (verse 18) with the resources God has given us.

Both Richard Foster and Dallas Willard emphasize that it is our responsibility to follow these instructions. If God has entrusted wealth to us, he trusts our judgment to follow the Spirit in the distribution of it.

If we recognize that all of our possessions are on loan, then we can ask the Holy Spirit what to do with them. As God’s agents, he will show us what to do with the resources he has put in our hands.

A meditation on verse 18 should lead us to ask the Spirit what good work he wants us to join him in. Along the way, we will develop generosity and a heart willing to share.

— What are the benefits?

Paul highlighted the benefits of a giving lifestyle that is directed by the Spirit.

He wrote, “Thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life” (verse 19).

A preacher once said, “I never saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul.” That picture emphasizes another saying, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.”

Beyond the benefit of heavenly reward, there is a here-and-now impact on the life of generous stewards. While we follow the Spirit’s leadership, we “take hold of the life that is really life.”

The Spirit will use our wealth to direct our hearts into the most genuine style of life possible.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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