Money: Two Perspectives for Success
Last time we took a look at what should be our attitude toward money. I argued that we need to develop a healthy detachment from money. It can come, it can go, because our satisfaction and security are found elsewhere – in Jesus Christ.
We obviously we need money to obtain the basic necessities of life and to provide for our families. It is also prudent to save for the future and to give some thought to investing money for the future. Having and investing money is not wrong. Remember it is the love of money which is a root of evil, not money itself. Yet, money can tempt us so strongly. Once we have it, it is often difficult to let go. How, then, do we work toward lessening the lure of money so as to develop a healthy detachment to it? We need to develop two perspectives.
First, we need to focus on eternity. We need to be reminded that “we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim 6:7). Yet we know that, for the believer, life will go on for an eternity in the splendor of heaven where we will be richly cared for by our Savior. Recall the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12 who stored up wealth in this life but did not live to enjoy it. All that we amass here will stay here so life should not be about the pursuit of accumulating wealth. We are like a breath and our days here are like a passing shadow (Ps 144:4), then…forever. What are you living for? The best this life has to offer or what heaven has to offer? Aim high. Go for Heaven.
Secondly, we need to realize that we are but stewards of all that God blesses us with. The world and its fullness belong to God (Psalm 50:12). A steward is a manager of the master’s possessions. Imagine the displeasure of the master if a steward hoards the master’s wealth for himself over and above what is reasonable as a steward’s wage. Rather than being a dam we need to be an open sluice gate. Wealth that flows in should be free to flow out if and as needed. Paul says in 2 Cor. 9:11 that the Corinthians were enriched in every way so thatthey could be generous in every way. We have a master who cares deeply for us, his stewards. Will he not meet our every need? Of course he will (Phil. 4:19). Surely, then, we can rest in his care for us and don’t have to look to the accumulation of wealth as a means of security.
The answer to avoiding the snares of a love for money is not to go to the extreme and hate money. Monastic vows of poverty are not required. Living only on minimum wage and giving the rest away is not required. Some may understand John Piper’s living in a “wartime mentality” to mean just that. Rather, he means that we should be so detached from wealth and money that we freely give where we can with the aim of advancing the gospel, even in monetary ways. We live in a spiritual war time. We have been given much so that we can in turn give back to the war effort.
It is not for me to say how much you should give as, “Each one must give what he decides in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). A tithe of 10% may be a good place to start but when considering giving, we should be praying that God will enlarge both the generosity of our hearts and the joy we experience in being able to give. May God grant us a steward mentality with a heavenly focus.