What are 6 important lessons from the Bible about money and what a Christian should do with it?
Money to Give
One of the most obvious things Christians should do with their money is to help the poor. I have heard it said that there are just too many people to help and so they can’t do anything but we can all at least do something. Look in our own neighborhoods or cities. There is always the need to help those who have little. This doesn’t mean you walk up to a homeless person and hand them cash. You might be enabling them to continue a drug or alcohol addiction and that will never solve their problem. I know of a friend of mine, a pastor, who went around helping the poor but what he did was he took them to dinner and then went to a local thrift store to have them buy some clothing, blankets, or accessories they needed. He was careful not to buy them what they wanted but what they needed. God promises to bless those who bless the poor.
Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
Proverbs 14:21 “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.”
Luke 14:13-14 “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Money to Sow
There is genius in generosity because once a person gives, they receive more than they give but not necessarily at the time that they give and they don’t always receive it back in money but in other ways. It is more blessed to give than to receive because the giver receives the blessing of God. Money comes and goes but a blessing from God goes on and on. Even non-believers have learned that there is nothing quite like helping others with their needs.
Second Corinthians 9:6 “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
Galatians 6:7 “God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
Proverbs 11:25 “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Money for Ministry
The word tithe comes from an old English word meaning tenth. Even though the tithing system is no longer valid, if a person withholds their money from their local church, they are simply coming to church and expecting something while giving nothing. It is like robbing God. When a person gives nothing in helping the church pay for church supplies, salary, or other miscellaneous expenses, they are simply taking without ever giving. They are really robbing themselves of a blessing. Not that a person should be required to give 10% or so but that they should at least give something and give what they are able to give, and so “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).
Malachi 3:8 “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.”
Luke 11:42 “For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
Luke 6:38 “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
There is nothing wrong with wanting to provide needs for family and this takes money but the wisdom is in knowing what needs are and what wants are. Everyone wants to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing and all of the other necessities for themselves and their family but how much is enough? It is so hard to tell how much is enough. Money can easily become the goal of life and take the place of family. Have you ever known of anyone who was such a workaholic that they ended up very wealthy? Someone who had really made it! They had a cabin in the woods, a fishing boat, and a beautiful home but during the process of accumulating all of these things, they lost their family because they never spent adequate time with them. This is why Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:15-21:
Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Cheating the Laborer
There are literally thousands of companies who have their employees work for them but keep them just under forty hours. This way they don’t have to give them full-time benefits or pay them the standard wages for those jobs and so frequently these are the employees who are severely underpaid. They take advantage of those who are desperate for a job but they cheat their employees in many different ways and not only by paying them the lowest wages possible. By cheating their laborers, they are inflating their own wallets. Some of the companies that practice these things are billion-dollar companies that you probably know by name. They make millions and sometimes billions of dollars in profit but they do it at the expense of part time and even full time employees. The Word of God has harsh words for people like these where the bottom dollar is more important than the human equation.
James 5:4 “Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.”
First Timothy 5:18 “For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
Luke 10:7 “And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.”
Money Brings Power and Power Corrupts
There is reason to believe that a person cannot run for congress or the presidency unless they are at least a millionaire or a billionaire. Only those who are rich enough can afford to campaign and advertise. It takes big bucks to run for any office today and so it ensures that only the rich will have power. The danger is that once a person becomes wealthy, it is almost never enough. Only a miniscule few can be rich and not be corrupted by it. Money can become a god to them because money can give you shelter, provide food and clothing for you and your family and it can also influence people and policies while wielding a great deal of power.
First Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Mark 4:19 “but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
Matthew 13:22b “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
Jesus spoke more about money that heaven and hell combined so He understood human nature and what money does to people. The love of money can lead to greed, corruption, and covetousness. There is a hidden danger to accumulating wealth. The person is never satisfied with enough. What a person ought to do is to
“not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:19-21).
The key phrase there is that wherever your treasure is…that is where your heart is. Money is a great barometer of the human heart. The true wisdom about money has already been mentioned but it is worth repeating, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.