The next couple of days, I want to address something that God has placed on my heart recently. Over the last several months and maybe the last year, God has urged me to confront the issue of money. This past weekend we had two scriptures that touched this issue yet again. It led me to think, what is so bad about money, God?
Money is not necessarily a bad thing. The funny thing is how we use our money certainly tells a lot about our character. Money also can show us where our heart truly is – is it with God or with money? To those who have been blessed with money, they will be forced to choose if God is the most important part of their life or if money is. That is hard. When much is given, much is expected. I have outlined two different stories from the bible. They both deal with the issue of money. Throughout the bible, you will find all sorts of scripture on money.
Because money can make us all feel alone, yet we have many friends when we have money. Money can make us feel powerless, yet others will see our money as power. Money can create idolatry, yet many of the wealthy will long for God’s presence. I think because of these feelings, many people relate money to drugs. It is addicting to want money. It is addicting to spend money. It is addicting to save money for some grandiose occasion (like retirement, a vacation, or a new car). Money diverts our attention from what is truly important in life, to what is frivolous. Money takes our eyes off of God and places our mind on money.
I Timothy 6:6-10; 17-19 A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough. But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after. Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. —- From The Message
Money in itself is not sinful, but our use of money can be. Like the scripture from I Timothy says, when it is only money that we are after, then self-destruction is our only pathway. When we forget about God’s Will and only pursue our own money-clad pathway, our life may seem exciting and fun, but it won’t be fulfilling. A money-centered life will crumble. Look at the scripture below about Lazarus and the rich man.
Luke 16:19-31 “There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. “Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’ “The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’ “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’ “‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ “Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”
Not all rich people will choose the pathway that the rich man did in the story above. Some will choose God over money, but it won’t be easy. It will be a constant tug-of-war game between God and money. Money undermines our faith life. It will constantly make twists and turns in our search for true devotion to God.
Justifying and rationalizing how you spend “your” money will only make things worse. God can see straight to your heart. God knows that you idolize money and things over Him. Convincing yourself that God is more important is a step in the right direction.
Do a little self-inventory – how does money play a part in your career? What would you do if you had a tremendous amount of expenses in one month that you hadn’t planned on? What does your bank account look like? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about retirement funds? Do you constantly want and desire the best clothes, the best accessories, the best “things” for you house? Do you have to have the newest gadget? Do you dream of being successful in your career and does that dream center around your paycheck? Have you already spent your bonus money before you even receive it? Pray to God today for guidance on how money is affecting your faith.
God, please help me to decipher who my true God is in life. Let me see if I am idolizing money over you. Let me see the error in my ways. Reveal to me how to change my heart. Show me to trust in you and to push away my love of money. I want and NEED to be on your pathway, not on my pathway. I want to see if I am acting like the rich man. I want to struggle with the story of “Lazarus and the rich man” , so that you can teach me Your ways. I need for You to show me how to trust in You once again. I am opening my heart to You, Lord. I will listen to You once again.
Tomorrow I will be addressing my own personal journey over the last year with money and how it has affected my husband, my kids and my faith life.