What comes to mind for you when you think of money?
Maybe you think of how you don’t have enough? Maybe you hate it? Love it? Think of something you want to buy? Think of greedy people or someone who is poor financially? Immediately change the topic because you hate talking about it? Feel excited at the thought of having money? Think of Las Vegas or the lottery? Maybe you think of someone who has ruined their life because of money?
So many of us think a million different things about money as soon as it is mentioned and most of the time, it’s something about our personal experience with money.
As I learned some principles about money from the Bible, I had to start with the very beginning about the thought of money. What is it? Why do we even have it? Have you ever actually thought about that?
The short answer is this:
Money is a tool God gives us to accomplish His purposes.
How did we get to that conclusion and definition of money? Keep reading.
I understand everyone who is reading this may not follow Jesus and that’s ok, but for those who do follow Jesus, we are called to be stewards of what God has given us. A steward is someone who takes care of someone else’s possessions.
So then it begs the question, who possesses money? Who is in charge of it?
The answer is God. Even if you don’t follow Jesus today, I’d encourage you to read on and consider who is ultimately in charge of money.
How Much Of What We Have Is God’s?
- Behold, to The Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. -Deuteronomy 10:14
- …Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. -Job 41:11b
- The earth is The Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. -Psalm 24:1
- For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. -Psalm 50:10-12
- The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. -Psalm 89:11
Then, What Does The Bible Have To Say About Stewardship and Money?
- Whoever is generous to the poor lends to The Lord, and He will repay him for his deed. -Proverbs 19:17
- …..Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required… -Luke 12:48
- But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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. -1 Timothy 6:9-10
- ….Instruct those who are rich to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share… -1 Timothy 6:17-19
- Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. -Hebrews 13:5
- No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. -Matthew 6:24
- In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ -Acts 20:35
- The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. -Proverbs 22:7
- And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:19
Money is a tool God gives us to accomplish His purposes.
Everything belongs to God and His money is a tool He gives us to accomplish His purposes.
How Much Importance Does God Put On What We Do With His Possessions?
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30
The background of this story is found in Matthew 24:3 when the disciples were asking Jesus “What’s it going to be like when you come back? And Jesus responds in the next two chapters in Matthew 24 and 25.
In this parable, He talks about how the Master goes away, gives His servants money, and then comes back has everyone give an account. And to the one who did nothing with the money, that person is called wicked and lazy.
What does this have to tell us?
-Whose money did the servants have? The Masters.
-Why did they have the money? To their ability, further the Master’s plans.
-What happened when the Master returned? They gave an account.
All we have is His, all we earn is for Him and His purposes, and He’s going to want to know what we did with it when He returns.
Faithful In Little, Faithful In Much Principle
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Luke 16:10-13
We see there’s a general Biblical principle that teaches that when you are faithful in little, you’ll be faithful in much. Likewise, if you’re unfaithful in little, you’ll be unfaithful in much.
The “little” here in Luke 16 is money and possessions.
The “much” here in Luke 16 is our relationship with the Lord Himself.
What does “if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s” mean? It reinforces that what we have isn’t ours to begin with.
What does “who will give you that which is your own” mean? It means God isn’t going to give us more of Himself (much) if we haven’t taken care of things like money and possessions (little).
This means that getting our finances in order is one of the most important things we should do spiritually after choosing to follow Jesus and committing our lives to Him.
*Don’t miss this point! I didn’t get this point for a long time and not only have I now seen it IS true, but I believe it would have made an earlier difference in my life if I understood it.*
So if everything belongs to God and His money is a tool He gives us to accomplish His purposes…how do we manage this tool? How do we keep track of it? With a budget.
Call To Action
Now that we are learning what money is, let’s get started by making a budget.
*I couldn’t have formed some of this material without my great friend Vince Rice, who writes at his own blog, Broken & Saved. Check it out.
The Money Series
- Part 1: An Introduction and My Story
- Part 2: What Is Money?
- Part 3: Make A Budget
- Part 4: Tithes And Offerings
- Part 5: Paying Off Debt
- Part 6: Savings, Investments, And Retirement
- Part 7: Action Steps And Growing In Generosity