Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Truth Concerning Money And The Kingdom Of God

Everything is precious to God; everything. People, time, talents, materials, thoughts; everything comes from him and has been given for a purpose. Money is not evil, it is just one more blessing from God with purpose. The source is God and if he has blessed you with it there is a reason for it. We treat money as if it is some evil thing. Either that or we treat it as some kind of god that we chase after. It is neither. It is a tool, a device, an instrument with purpose, just like a hammer or screw driver. What is evil is the pursuit of money at all cost:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Read that carefully. It does not say that money is the root of evil. First of all it says that the "love" of money is the problem. Second, it is "a" root of "all kinds" of evil. It is the pursuit of wealth at all cost that causes the problem. The fact is that God blesses us with all kinds of blessings which are tools to be used for the Kingdom. Paul was concerned that people needed to know this so he told Timothy to instruct the rich in how to use their wealth and what behaviours to avoid. Now pay attention because to some people in this world you are rich:

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17)

First of all, if you are blessed with money, don't let it distract you from what is important. Face it, wealth is uncertain. It is here today and gone tomorrow. Most people in this world are waking up to that fact. One bad investment, one failed bank, one country too far in debt and "poof", it's all gone. Wealth is not our hope, God is. Money is not certain, God is. Money will not always be there to provide for our needs, but Jesus always will be. Jesus told us not to lay up our treasures on earth where they can be stolen or rot away. He told us to store them up in heaven where they make a great foundation. What are these riches? They are exactly what Paul told Timothy to instruct the rich to do with their wealth:

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Timothy 6:18)

No, this is not earning our way to eternity with God; that has been given to us by grace via the death of Jesus. Salvation is a thing of faith, trusting in the grace of God through Jesus. These things, good deeds, being generous and the willingness to share, are the treasures that go on ahead of us and that are stored for our arrival. They will be jewels in our crown, the foundation under our feet. They will decide who is wealthy in the presence of God:

In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:19)

It is not so much an attitude as it is a way of life, part of our character that always shines through because of the priority of Jesus in our life.

Of course this character is not just for those who have an abundance of money but they are better equipped to be more generous and do larger good deeds than most of us. But then again, wealth is a matter of perspective. To someone on Wall Street we may look average or below average, but someone living on the streets or in a crumbling shack we look wealthy. Generosity and good deeds should be a natural outpouring of the Spirit of God in us. The reason Paul stresses it for the rich is because of the dangerous affect that money can have on us.

It is vital to our eternity that we do not see money as anything but a tool. It is not our salvation. It is not our provider. It is not our comfort or our dream come true. Money is nothing more than a blessing and a tool to be used for the Kingdom of God. Don't fall in love with money, fall in love with Jesus. Don't pursue money, pursue Jesus. Don't waste the blessings God has given to you but treat them like an investment in the Kingdom of God and see what Jesus produces through that investment. This is true as well for time, talents and all materials we have been given. Be rich in good deeds, be generous and be willing to share.

1 comment:

Linda Williams said...

Thank you Pastor Paul. The Word of God regarding a very important subject, money, was truly example well by the Holy Spirit through you. Be blessed and keep writing. You blessed me this morning.