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Money - It's a finicky thing, and it's more of an idea than anything else. We have cards made of plastic and bills made of paper that inherently have no real value. Still, they represent a number, a number in a bank, that's monitored by an institution called the Credit Bureau, which assigns us a number based on what we do with the number in the bank. That number tentatively becomes our score of where we stand in the world. Sounds strange, or even abstract, doesn't it? These numbers dictate our entire lives; where we live, what we drive, where our kids go to school, how we dress, and how we eat. So, where does God fit into this mess of a picture when money has so much say?
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Matthew 6:19-21
When we allow these numbers from this man-made system to dominate every aspect of our lives, we tend to forget how much God actually cares for us. Everything in our society is designed to tell us we are lacking, and there's always something that we'll want or need. But when it comes down to it, items and experiences, and the money that gets them, are only temporary distractions from the problems we avoid facing. A vacation won't fix your marital problems, a new car won't cure your depression, and a bigger house won't dismiss your childhood trauma. There's nothing wrong with a nice vacation, a new car, or a bigger house, but when we use them as spiritual and emotional medicine, we're effectively taking God out of the picture. Whether you are making big moves on Wall Street or wondering where your next meal is coming from, true prosperity will always be a condition of your heart, not a condition of your bank account.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others." - Mark 12: 41- 43
When I was young, I watched my dad struggle as a carpenter to make ends meet. We lived in a small town and there wasn't always work available, so he almost always had to travel to a larger city for work and was sometimes gone for months at a time. So at a young age, when I heard the preacher teach a message about money, I listened. He said that if we put God first and our finances second, God will undoubtedly take care of us and our families. Right then and there, I decided that was how I would live my life. On my sixth birthday, I took every penny I had and every birthday dollar given to me, and I gave it all away. My life has never been the same since. I have known what it’s like to have no money and what it is to have more than I know what to do with. Regardless of either, I can sit here and tell you with absolute assuredness that I have never been in want or need of anything.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” - Matthew 6:26
Thirty years later, I'm still living my life that way. I can't say that it's always been easy, but I can say that it's always been worth it. Whenever anyone asks me about money, there is one solid kernel of truth that I can offer. That truth is this: To let go of the power money has over your life, you must learn to love giving it more than receiving it. When you make God your top priority, you can destroy the stronghold money has. The next time you're in a situation where money talks, don't let it speak for you. Instead, use it as a tool to live biblically as you follow Jesus. Then sit back and let God have the final say on how things turn out. Trust me, He knows what He's doing.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:11-13
Husband, father, writer, poet. Two time combat veteran with a passion for homeless ministry.