What Does the Bible Say About Money?
We all need money to live on this earth - it's how we buy food, pay for shelter, afford clothing, and support our families. Even though money is such an integral part of our lives, very few young women are trained up in how to be good stewards of their financial resources. At Tirzah, we are passionate about integrating the Gospel into all areas of our lives, so today we're doing an in-depth study on personal finance.
Remember, the money isn't yours.
For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? -1 Corinthians 4:7
Everything on this Earth belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1). We may think that we earned the money in our bank accounts or that it is our own efforts that provide us with the lifestyle we are accustomed to, but the truth is: it's all God. As Job says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away" (Job 1:21).
Have you ever been left in charge of someone else's money? Maybe you worked as a cashier and had to balance the cash register at the end of each night or received a scholarship award that had stringent requirements on how to spend the money. We tend to treat borrowed things with greater care than the stuff we own outright. Maybe it's because we know we have to answer for every missing penny or for any damage done to the items lent to us.
The money in your bank account is entrusted to you by God. He foresaw your needs, and He provided for them. He also probably gave you a little extra (we'll talk about that in a bit!), but how often do we forget that our money is not our own? God made you a steward of His resources, and He holds you accountable for how you use it.
Your actions determine your future.
His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." -Matthew 25:21
The parable of the talents is a well-known story in the Christian circles. It is often used as an analogy for how we live our God-given gifts, skills, and talents. But it also applies literally to our finances. God sees how you spend your money. If you use it wisely, you may be entrusted with more. If you spend it frivolously and irresponsibly, even what you have will be taken away (Matthew 25:29).
Today, I urge you to an accounting of your finances. Track where you spend your money, and then see how that aligns with Biblical principles.
Looking even further down the road though, Jesus tells us that where our treasure is, there our heart is also (Matthew 6:19-21). If we put stock in our wealth and material possessions, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment. Because everything on this world holds no real values. The stock market plummets. Economies fail. Collectibles and all the stuff we have wear out with age. You can wake up tomorrow and realize that the dollar is suddenly completely worthless and all those bills are just papers lining the streets like trash.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. -Isaiah 55:2
That's why God calls us to find our worth in Him and to store up treasures in heaven with good works. There is nothing wrong with being rich in this world - in fact, God blesses many people with great wealth - but how you spend your money and the relationship you have with money can make you or break you spiritually (1 Timothy 6:17-19). That is why Jesus once said that it is incredibly difficult for a rich person to get into heaven. Take the rich, young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22, he lived an otherwise Godly life, but when asked to part with his wealth, he could not obey the Lord.
Money will not satisfy you.
Humans have always derived their worth from wealth. The worldly motto seems to be that the more you possess, the more successful you are. But, that's not God's motto. Instead, He calls us to forsake everything else, including material possessions and wealth, and follow Him.
He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 5:10
Money is a tyrannical master, and we can't ever seem to get enough. But, as Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, we can't serve both God and money. We have to choose. How does that look in our daily lives? It's choosing to go to church or spend the evening with your family instead of accepting overtime. It's choosing a simpler lifestyle, even if it means having a smaller house, car ,or outdated technology and clothing. It's working to live, not living to work. It's always a choice, and it's your choice.
As 1 Timothy 6:10 says, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. On a bigger scale, money greases the wheels of some of our world's darkest industries: human trafficking, weapon sales, wars, dictatorships, corruption, and slavery. But money also plants roots in our daily lives. It offers ways to keep up with your neighbor's lifestyles. It promises that once you hit that number in your bank account, you'll finally be happy and can relax. Money offers control over your life, comfort, and a better future. And like Eve in the garden of Eden, the enemy tricks us into believing that we don't need God or His provisions.
Give me neither poverty nor riches - feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. -Proverbs 30:8-9
The scary part is that when money is your safety net, any negative changes in your financial situation can lead to depression and even suicide. In fact, after the last recession in 2009, suicides increased by 6.5 percent. Which doesn't sound like much, but when you look at the numbers, that is more than 10,000 people who took their own lives when their wealth plummeted.
Is your joy or worth connected with how much money you have? Do you determine success as having a well-paying job or by having the hallmarks of wealth, like a big house, the latest designer clothing and the newest technology? If all you had today was taken away, would the Lord still be good?
But you still need to work.
That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. -1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Going to school and working full time can feel like we're wasting our lives away instead of serving the Lord and making disciples like the Bible tells us. We dream of quitting the 9 to 5 gig and moving to Africa to help orphans. But friend, God needs people in all places, so He gives us different jobs and careers as a way to serve Him and provide for our families. This is a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
Although He provides us with what we need, He also requires us to work with our hands to provide for our needs and that of our families. In fact, 1 Timothy 5:8 says that if we do not provide for our own household and relatives, we deny the faith and are worse than unbelievers!
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. -Ephesians 4:28
Give, for in giving, you shall receive.
Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase. -Proverbs 3:9
This is probably one of the most important aspects of being a Christian: we are willing to serve others in need with our finances. From the very beginning, God has called His people to give up the first of everything we have. This includes money.
There are two main ways to give: to the church and to those in need. The church has a tithing recommendation of 10 percent, which I think is a good starting place. But, in the end, you should give from the heart. Like the widow in Luke 21:1-4 who gave her entire financial worth - even though to most people it was merely a penny - God sees your financial situation and your heart. Whether you give directly to your church, donate to a non profit, or send cash anonymously to a family in your community you know is struggling financially, give generously and freely.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:6-7
There are grave consequences if we only tailor to our own needs while God's people, especially widows and children, go hungry. In Malachi 3:8-10, the prophet accuses the Israelites of robbing God. The people were growing their wealth, yet the Lord's house remained empty because the people stopped bringing their tithes and contributions as they were instructed to do. As a consequence, God told them that He will not open the windows of heaven or pour down blessings until there is no more need among His people.
Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. -Luke 6:38
Friends, all in all, the resources we have been given are not our own. Let us be responsible with what God has given us and to be generous in supporting those in need.