First… Why so much about money?
Jesus talked a LOT about money in the gospels, more than everything else except perhaps ‘The Kingdom of God’. I think this is poignant because Jesus didn’t just talk for no reason, he didn’t waste words, and I believe he spoke so much about money because we humans get so obsessed by it. Jesus knew our hearts and feelings, he knew our temptations and failings, he was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus knew how deeply we get drawn in by money, stuff, possessions, consumption.
Money is a tangible thing that we can easily hang a concept or idea on, I also think that many of the things I have said about money can be applied to other things like time, thoughts, the things we read, watch, possess etc.
Secondly, I believe if we are not very disciplined in the way we look at our money, stuff, etc. we can fall in to a number of traps, notably:
Both of these ‘traps’ are formed from selfishness and both are dishonouring to God.
We have to begin by asking the question ‘whose money / stuff etc. is it in the first place?’
The continuous thread that runs through the whole bible is that everything is God’s. There are so many examples of this, one of my favourite being in God’s response to Job and his friends in Job 41:11
Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.
The words of God in Job 38-42 are worth reading to put things in context (if you have time).
Everything is God’s so my money, my house, my car, my things, my time, my life and breath, they are all God’s anyway and he could take them away at any time. That doesn’t scare me, it gives me comfort to know that everything rests in God’s loving hands. Everything is well taken care of, I have nothing to worry about whether I live or die, whether I am rich or poor, ill or healthy.
There’s a lovely passage in Chronicles where the people have just given lots of gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious stones to king David for the construction of the temple of God.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. (1 Chronicles 29:14-16)
I believe that if we treat our possessions in this manner, we keep them in their appropriate place.
Once we view money, possessions, time, stuff, anything else as originating from God as a gift, being greedy or wasteful becomes more difficult.
Hopefully this gives a broader background to the whole series. If you think I’ve not covered something or not answered a question you have, just comment and ask it. I don’t have all the answers, don’t ‘have it all together’ or ‘get it right’ very much of the time, but I’ll try to help where I can.
Grace & Peace