Christian Finances: A Reflection of Faith
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I Timothy 6:10 KJV
I think I should dedicate this post to misinterpreted scriptures. Of all the verses in the Bible this one makes my top ten of commonly misconstrued passages.
A lot of Christians seem to believe that having copious amounts of money is a sin. A pastor driving a nice car means he/she is somehow secretly unholy. An usher living in a mansion should be donating more to charity. My question, as always, is why?
Because having money obviously means that you love money. And according to that scripture, loving money is the root of all evil. That’s what some Christians say at least.
But does having a nice car really mean that you are in love with money? Don’t we all desire nice things? Even if we don’t, God desires nice things for us, John 10:10 KJV [...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly]. That means God wants us to have the best of the best, the crème de la crème. Why? Because we are children of the Most High God—do you really need any more reason than that?
Does a prince dress in rags? Does a queen live in a hut? No, then why should we? We represent the King of all Kings. That doesn’t mean we all have to live in mansions the size of Texas, but we certainly don’t have to shack up at the homeless shelter either. What kind of God would we be serving if He couldn’t even provide a proper roof over our heads?
Let me just ask this one question…why can’t Christians have nice things?
A pastor with a nice car.
A young couple with a mansion.
A gentleman with a million dollar job.
Is it because it looks bad? It looks terrible for a child of God to be rewarded as such? Because that’s what you’re essentially saying.
I’ve heard a lot of arguments that Christians shouldn’t have a lot of money because that money needs to be given to the church and other charities. Yes, that’s an absolutely good argument until you reach the part about us not being able to have things.
Let me explain what’s wrong with that frame of mind.
First of all, Jesus said he came so that we may have life to the fullest. For some that just means falling head over heels in love and living happily ever after. For others that means living out their dreams of traveling the world. But for a few, that means having the financial means to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.
And that’s when the judging begins.
Saying that a pastor can’t ‘be rich’ is like saying God can’t provide for them. It’s limiting the blessings that He may want to give that individual. Let’s not forget that God actually created the concept of money, it’s not like there’s ever going to be a shortage of it unless He has a say. As far as donating to the poor, of course Christians should do their part in giving but does that mean that we can’t have anything because we have to give it all away?
Well, why not give it all away?
I heard a young man in my campus youth group ask that one time. Why not give everything you have to the poor or to the church? I remember glancing over at him and thinking, you’re posing this question as you sip Starbucks in your American Eagle clothing in the lounge of a private college whose tuition is over 20k a year. Hmm…sounds like someone’s been skimping on the giving a little lately. But I digress.
Desiring nice things is not a sin. Having nice things is not a sin. Yes, Jesus himself went about in tunics and sandals, never accepting money and always sleeping over at a friend’s house. He was as humble as they come. Some of us believe we should be that way, walk around without a real home and not really accepting pay.
Well, then why would Jesus come to give us life abundantly? Maybe he meant abundant joy or abundant peace.
Well then why would God promise to give us the desires of our heart?
Maybe He only intended for us to desire love, and happiness, and humility.
Ok, then why did He bless Solomon with so much wealth if having money is a sin? Why did He give King David before him so much financial success? Why did He gift Moses and the Israelites with precious jewels and objects of gold when He delivered them out of Egypt?
Desiring good things is not itself a sin. Desiring those things above God is a sin. This is a very fine, and often unseen, line. It’s so fine that some Christians simply stay away from luxury items and gifts of money or other financial gain just to avoid the possibility of stumbling off too far. That’s perfectly fine. But the bottom line is, God wants us to live happily, and in this world, money happens to make a lot of people. Put God first and the rest will fall in place. Depend on His glory and the finances will be taken care of. As long as God is the focus, everything else will work itself out.
On the other hand, having bad finances could be a negative reflection of your faith as well. Are you truly giving your all to the church? Not necessarily the clothes of your back but, jeez, are you giving a reasonable amount in offering? Are you actually tithing? That's 10% of your income, don't forget.
Plainly enough, are you overspending?
A Christian who can’t budget is a Christian with no self-control. Without self-control you have no way of pleasing God. Why? Because we as humans have a natural desire to sin. It is the sin nature within us which strives to do what is wrong [Galatians 5:17 KJV]. That’s why we need Jesus to help keep us on the right track. Only with self-control through the Word of God are we able to thwart off our unrighteous desires and instead follow the Will of the Lord.
Only through self-control do we have the patience to wait on God’s guidance before making an important decision. Only through self-control can we make it through our long fasts or hours spent in prayer and devotion to the Lord…because you do spend time praying and fasting, right?
I like to think of finances as a tester of our faith. God knows we need money, how much you have versus how much you need is often the make it or break it in faith for many Christians. I’ve heard so many excuses for not paying tithes like, if I pay my tithes this month then I can’t pay the light bill.
Ok, so forget the bills and depend on God. This is your test!
But no, so many fail that test. They don’t pay their tithes and their lights are eventually cut off anyway. Then comes the blame game…look what God did to me…blah blah blah.
Stop throwing yourselves pity parties, stop making excuses. Get your finances together, pay your tithes, pay your offering, pay your pastor, and God will handle the rest.