Often, this is the last question we want to ask. Our money is ours! We should be able to do with it what we want. This is what our society teaches us and how everyone acts—whether Christian or not.
Money is serious business
However, whether we have a whole lot of money, or whether we have a little, how we use our money will determine how God will use us. (Luke 16:10-12) And if we use our money without regard to God’s desire, then we will certainly not receive God’s salvation, no matter how holy we are in other areas (Matthew 6:24; Mark 10:17-21; Luke 12:33-34). How we use our money indicates whether we really have faith in God or not.
We do not need money, we need God
Money will not meet our needs. We can’t eat or drink money. Money will not shelter us from rain. Money will not give us pleasure. Money is just a means to an end. We need food and drink. We need a roof over our heads. We need companionship and security. Money can be used to give us some of these things, but we don’t really need it. All good things come from God, and so he is the one we should seek. (James 1:17) Do not focus on money—focus on God (Luke 16:13). He is the one who will meet our needs, and he is the one who teaches us what to do with what we have (Matthew 6:25-33).
Money is not ours
The first thing we need to realize is that our money is not actually ours. Perhaps we have worked for it, or it was given to us, but nothing we have is actually ours. It is all God’s. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Psalm 24:1. We do not own anything—rather, we care for it for God’s sake. God has placed things in our care, and we are to use all these things in accordance with God’s instruction, for it is all His.
We are to use money to build God’s kingdom
If we are committed to Jesus, then we have surrendered everything we have to his use—our relationships, our possessions, our labor, and our money (Luke 14:25-33). They no longer belong to us, but to Jesus. And Jesus tells us that to use our resources in his way is to build up God’s kingdom and to increase our righteousness in God’s kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Nothing else should be so important. And whatever is important to us is what we will use all of our resources on (Luke 12:34).
We are not to think that paying for an elaborate building or establishing things in the here-and-now will build up God’s kingdom. Tangible things and buildings and collections of books or CDs or videos will not build God’s kingdom. Rather, it is people that will survive to be in God’s kingdom. Political entities and nice cars will all be destroyed. God’s kingdom is built by giving to people and their needs (Luke 12:33-34; Luke 16:9; Acts 4:34-35).
What Not To Do With Money
Do not increase your debt
Even if you are looking to meet your needs, do not increase your debt. Try to rely on God’s people, not on those who will charge you interest and cause you difficulties. (Romans 13:8)
Do not build up your life on earth
It is pointless to increase our possessions or our life on earth. All of these things will be destroyed and are of no use in the kingdom of God. Rather, we are to focus on the things of God. ( Matthew 6:19;II Peter 3:10-12)
Do not pursue your own desires, comforts or entertainments
If we use our money to meet our whims or comforts, then we are in danger of gaining nothing when the Lord returns. Again, the Lord insists that we use our resources for his sake, not for our own comforts. (Luke 6:24-25; I Timothy 6:6-10)
Do not give to teachers insisting on your money
There are many teachers today who say to receive God’s blessing you should give to them, their ministry or their church. However, the scripture is clear that teachers who insist on their own gain are false teachers, and no deserving of our money. We are not to give any kind of help to false teachers—not even to welcome them into our house. Do not throw your money away by giving money to false teachers who oppose Jesus’ words—“Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8; II John 9-10; I Timothy 6:5)
Tithing To Our Churches
Tithing (giving 10% of) our money and giving it to our churches is a good idea, but how it is accomplished today isn’t found in the Bible. The ancient Hebrews had three annual taxes of 10 percent each and another tax of 10 percent taken every third year—equaling to 33 1/3% of their income every year going to things. Jesus isn’t requiring such a tax to meet the needs of his churches. Rather, he is advocating that everyone grant him all of their resources, and that they redistribute their income according to the following guidelines:
Jesus’ plan: What To Do With Money
1. Care for your own needs
We are all responsible to meet our own needs and not to depend on the church or their family to provide for us, if we can do anything about it. (II Thessalonians 3:6-10) This does not mean that we must all have a “job,” but we must work to meet our own needs. Thus, if we have money, then we should use that money to provide for our own needs.
2. Care for your family’s needs
If we have family that is dependant on us for sustenance, then we are responsible to care for them (Mark 7:10-13; I Timothy 5:8). This could mean children in our care, or aging parents that can no longer care for themselves, or someone who through injury or illness is unable to care for their own needs. By whatever means we care for our own needs, we must care for our family.
3. Pay your taxes
The government we live under now requires money. The scripture says that we must be faithful to give them what they ask, whether we agree with their policies or not. It is a part of the honor we are responsible to give them. (Romans 13:7)
4. Give to those who sacrifice themselves to build you up in the Lord
If our needs are met and our family’s needs are met—not everything they desire, but just their basic needs—then we are responsible to care for others as well. The first ones we are responsible to care for are those who have sacrificed their own well-being in order to bring us closer to the Lord. This could be teachers or healers that travel from town to town, or people who regularly teach us God’s word in our congregation—but the Scripture is clear that we are responsible to make sure that their needs are met, as well as those of their family. (Luke 10:5-9; Matthew 10:40-42; Galatians 6:6;I Timothy 5:17-18)
The Key: Give to the needy
If we are able to care for our basic needs, and our family’s and our minister’s, then we are also responsible to meet the needs of others, especially those who are following the Lord. If we see someone in need, and we do not respond with what we have, then we are not responding with the Lord’s love. To give to the needy is showing our faith in the Lord. If we fail to give to those who follow Jesus in need, then we will rejected by the Lord on the final day. (Luke 12:33; I John 3:17; Galatians 6:10; Matthew 25:31-46;
Planning and Giving
To redistribute our income in the above way is difficult and, in some ways, painful. In order to demonstrate our faith in giving to the needy, often we will have to sacrifice our desires and some of our needs so that others may be helped. Sometimes the Lord calls us to put other’s concerns and needs before our own. But if we are going to do that, we have to plan. It is so easy to overspend in our society, with commercials telling us every minute the newest thing we “need.” But the Lord says that what we need to do is to give to the needy. That is a part of our salvation—not a kitchen gadget or a better car or the food we always wanted to try. It isn’t easy to follow Jesus’ plan on redistributing our money, but if we pray to the Lord and seek the counsel and assistance of his Spirit, we can make the first steps.
If you have not been faithful to God in the use of worldly money,
how can God entrust true riches to you?
-Jesus Luke 16:11