It often surprises Christians when they discover just how much the Bible talks about money. In fact there are more than 2300 verses on money, wealth and possessions. Jesus spoke about money roughly 15% of his preaching and 11 out of 39 parables. It was his most talked about topic.
This passage in Matthew gives us a clue:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus spoke about money, not because he was obsessed with money, or that he wanted us to have lots of it, but because he knew that money was a heart issue and that it is one of the most likely reasons for someone to not follow him or to give up on him.
Money is important because…..
The money you have in your wallet has no intrinsic value, it is worth what the Government says its worth. It is essentially morally neutral and powerless. The Devil uses money to seduce us and that is when it can become powerful in a negative direction. He wants you to fall in love with it, so you will become a slave to money rather than its master. The flip slide is when we use money as a tool to invest in God’s kingdom; money becomes a powerful instrument of good.
Think for a moment about contemporary society. How many people’s lives have been ruined because they have been seduced by money? They choose a job because of what it pays not because of the fulfilment it provides. In Australia one survey said that nearly 60% of people would quit their job tomorrow if they had more money. Their job choice and decision to remain is heavily influenced by money.
Money is important to the extent that how we think about it will impact how we behave with it. Taking this one step further, how we think and behave with money reflects our spiritual condition. When we hoard money; or are envious of other’s money; or spend money we don’t have (debt) then there is a good chance we have been seduced!
Jesus us present us with a clear choice:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
The issue is simple – whom will we serve? Will we serve God or will we serve money. Notice Jesus said you ‘cannot’ serve both. It is impossible, it is one or the other and all of us most choose. I heard it likened to trying to chase two rabbits at the same time – it can’t be done!
Why did Jesus make such a tough statement? Because he knew that our relationship with God would be deeply impacted by our relationship with money. If we worry about money then we wont be trusting God. If we are chasing after money then it’s doubtful that we’re chasing after God and trying to advance his kingdom.
As with the above verse much of what God’s word says about money are warning messages. God wants nothing to come between him and us. Sometimes God prevents people from gaining wealth because he knows that it will harm them. He is not trying to deny them; he is trying to protect them.
Lastly, we have a culture drowning in debt. It is so widespread and so ingrained that very few people, believers and unbelievers alike stop to consider the ramifications. It is not just a problem at the individual level, but at the corporate and Government levels as well. The United States owes $60,000,000,000,000. This monumental sum cannot be repaid and therefore won’t be repaid. The verses on debt in the bible are all warning messages. The Bible warns us that debt can lead to slavery! How true that is today.
The Bible talks about money because God loves you and he doesn’t want it to harm you, rather he wants you to use it as a tool to bless your family, others and to fund the advance of his kingdom.