Tuesday, July 7, 2015

You Don't Own It

God tells us that he owns all the money in the world, “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine, declares the LORD of hosts.”

Since the Bible was written in the social context of an agricultural society, the Lord reminds those who view their livestock as money, “For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”

In the second chapter of Genesis we are reminded that God created gold and declared it to be good.

Think about it. Can an individual or any of the world’s governments ultimately control the creation, destruction, or flow of money in this world for even a ridiculously short period of time—like, a thousand years? Can you take any of it with you to the grave?

In this world we are stewards of God’s wealth. It is a very serious responsibility. At the judgment, I will have to account for how I earned money, how I spent it, and how I invested it. I will also be held accountable for how I gave, where I gave, and how much I gave. There are plenty of scriptures that indicate if you screw up in this arena the consequences could be pretty serious.

Before you make a significant decision involving your interactions with money, stop and say a prayer. Ask God for wisdom. Ask God for guidance. Don’t be hasty. If you mess things up in this world, money mistakes can be quite painful. If you mess up things in the world to come, you may be in trouble for all of eternity.

There is no need to get neurotic about this, the Bible says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” As for the question of giving, talk to God about it. Christianity is a religion of freedom and grace. How much you give and where you give, those are questions you need to discuss with your creator.

Many years ago, I listened to Larry Burkett, the Godfather of Christian personal finance gurus, on the car radio during my drive home from work. He received phone calls from women (always women) who wanted their family to give more to their church or some ministry than their husband. His advice was always the same. Tell your husband to pick a number that he is comfortable with that is a little higher than your current level of giving. Tell him agree to give at this level for a year then take a look at our financial situation in comparison to our current state. If it has improved, we can talk about giving more. If it is worse, I promise never to bother you about giving again. Burkett claimed that while he received many phone calls from families who improved their situation by taking this challenge, he never received any from people who did worse.

Psalm 112

4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
5 Good comes to those who lend money generously
and conduct their business fairly.
6 Such people will not be overcome by evil.

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