In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Luke 12:34
Memorise This Verse: Luke 16:11 ‘If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches’
Afterwards Talk About This: To what extent is money a good yardstick of our Christian lives.
Something To Do Before Next Time: Pray about what your level of giving shows about your walk with God.
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the areas of the Christian life that money is a yardstick of.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: James 2:17
Having seen the need to be givers, and how much and where to give our money, this section will look at the many reasons and benefits of giving our money. When we consider the reasons and benefits of giving and the costs we incur by not giving it will surely be the case that we can’t help ourselves and will want to be a giver.
In several areas it would appear that God uses money to monitor our Christian lives and by evaluating our financial dealings we can see for ourselves the state of our walk with God. Not only has money been given of God to live our daily lives with but it has also been given as a yardstick for both God and us to judge and monitor our Christian lives with.
The first area that money monitors is that it shows if we are truly serving God or if we are serving the false God of money God has declared himself to be a jealous God and will not tolerate us worshipping any other God. In Luke 16:13 Jesus declares that money is a false God that people are serving and that we as Christians cannot claim to be serving God and also serve money.
The Pharisees were a group of people who loved and served money instead of God and in Luke 11:41, Jesus said that to dethrone money from their lives, they needed to give to the poor and cleanse themselves from their idolatry. Therefore is it not the case that money shows which God we are serving? those who are regularly giving into the Kingdom of God are truly serving God where as the non-givers show they are serving money.
The second area that money monitors is our heart, Jesus confirms that the greatest command is to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matthew 23:7). Jesus also declares in Luke 12:32-34 that where we lay our treasure is where our heart will be and that whatever we invest our money in, is what our heart ultimately desires and longs for.
If we invest our money in the work of the Kingdom of God we show that our heart’s desire and longing and passion is for the Kingdom of God. If as Christians we do not give to the work of the Kingdom we show that our heart has little love, passion and desire for God and the extension of his Kingdom. We will ultimately spend our money on what is precious and special to us and by taking stock of our financial affairs both you and God can tell what is the main passion and desire of your heart.
The next area of our Christian lives that money monitors is the area of faithfulness. Mention has been made previously of the two major parables of Jesus regarding money – namely the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:12) and it is to these parables that we again turn. Jesus could have highlighted many areas by which we could gauge our faithfulness to him witnessing, church going, holiness and good though all these things are, he seems to place a special emphasis on money as the monitor of faithfulness.
(People have argued that these two parables refer to our gifts, talents and abilities and it is probably a fair point to do so. However, the one area they definitely do refer to is money as Talents and Minas refer to the coinage of Jesus’ day and in Matthew 25:27 and Luke 19:23 reference is made to putting money on deposit and gaining interest clearly you can’t do that with a spiritual gift or a God-given talent).
This linking together of faithfulness and finances is mentioned further by Jesus in Luke 16:11 when he says, ‘So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches’. Therefore if we claim to be faithful to God and his Kingdom and yet do not invest and give our money to the work of God we are simply deceiving ourselves. The area of love is also a very important aspect of our Christian lives that money monitors. 1 Corinthians 13:13 states that the greatest force in the world is love and if we claim to follow Jesus, above all, we must release the love of God out of our lives the scriptures below all show the supremacy of love.
John 13:34 ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’
1 John 4:7 ‘Let us love one another, for love comes from God’
1 Peter 4:8 ‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins’
1 John 3:14 ‘We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers
When we become Christians, Romans 5:5 shows that God pours his own divine nature of love into our hearts and our new Christ-like nature is supremely a love nature. We then become a channel through which God can release this love to a hurting world as we allow the Christ-like nature of love to be expressed in our lives. This supreme area of love is of such importance that we must be very sure (if not anxious) that we are releasing the love of God and the bible indicates that our giving is the way of checking that we are releasing God’s love. For example, 1 John 3:17 says, ‘If anyone has material possession and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?’.
Remember, Romans 5:5 shows that as Christians we no longer have mere human love but what sets us apart from the non-Christians is the divine love nature of God in our hearts which will be expressed in our Christ-like actions. Consequently, the above verse quite rightly asks the question of someone who claims to be a Christian but doesn’t give to the poor ‘How can the love of God be in him?’ In the area of love we can rightly argue that the amount of God’s love that is released out of our hearts is in direct relation to the amount of money that is released from our hands. The more money we give, the greater the level of divine love that is released from our hearts and lives.
The next area that money monitors is that of our faith we have seen previously that the bible says some remarkable things about the need to release faith and hence we should be very concerned that our faith level is high – the scriptures below show the need for faith.
- You need faith to become a Christian :- Ephesians 2:8
- You need to live your Christian life by faith :- Romans 1:17
- If you don’t release faith you are sinning :- Romans 14:23
- Without faith it is impossible to please God :- Hebrews 11:6
- Our faith is necessary to pray to God :- Mark 11:23
Money is once again a way of measuring this important Christian quality. The book of James, chapter 2, expands greatly the need for faith in our Christian lives and contrasts two types of faith dead faith which claims to believe yet has no actions and true and living faith which will always have good works and deeds to confirm it’s authenticity.
James gives several examples of the deeds that will accompany true faith and in two of the examples he gives he cites giving as an evidence of faith. The first example is giving to the poor (verse 14) and the second example is Abraham giving his son as a sacrifice (verse 21) – consequently, faith that is living will always be giving!
Therefore, is it not unreasonable to argue that those who are operating in high levels of faith will be operating in high levels of giving and those who are operating in low levels of faith will be giving little or nothing back to God? Summarised below are the areas of our Christian lives that money monitors what does your giving say about the areas below?
- Loving God or money
- Loving God with all our heart
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Djibouti
637,634 people, Islam strong and growing
Much poverty church needs to take advantage of the freedom to preach the gospel.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.