Recently, I taught a 3-week series on the topic of money at the church where I serve as a pastor. I usually teach a special series once a year on money. People often ask me if it’s hard to preach about money. They assume that for a pastor it’s a tough topic, I guess because pastors have a bad reputation when it comes to money.
But honestly, I love to talk about money in the church. It’s such an important topic for Christians. The Bible contains more scriptures on money than faith, love, or prayer.
Plus, once you understand a few key financial principles from the Bible, a lot of the guilt and pressure is eliminated.
So, here are a few important financial principles from the Bible.
Money is not evil
I see this meme on the internet all the time. It says, “If money is the root of all evil, then why do they always ask for it in church?” Of course, the Bible does NOT say that money is the root of evil, but that the love of money is the root of evil. That’s a big difference.
In today’s culture, however, it’s easy to think that people who have a lot of money are somehow evil. After all, if money is evil, then the more you have, the eviler you must be.
But remember, money is just a tool, like a knife, or a hammer. These inanimate objects have no will of their own. They take on the motivation of their handler. For instance, a hammer can be used to build up or to tear down, and a knife can kill or can slice a pizza for a hungry person.
Plus, in the U.S., we should be careful about who we accuse of having too much money. According to Investopedia, a yearly income of just $32,400 per year will place a person within the top 1% of earners worldwide.
Yes, almost all of us are “one percenters.”
Money Won’t Make You Happy
Actor and artist Jim Carrey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” Those words sound as if they are pulled straight from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes.
Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, remarked the same sentiment in chapter 6, when he wrote, “There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them…This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.” (Eccl 6:1-2)
Solomon was talking about himself! He had it all—power, fame, wisdom, and great wealth, but he was still unhappy. The problem is that money only makes you happy for a short time—kinda like ice cream. It’s a quick burst of pleasure, but eat too much of it and you will regret it. All the money in the world will not make you happy if you don’t appreciate what you have right now.
To be truly happy, you need to be content, and that only comes when you are satisfied with what you have, whether that be a lot or a little.
Money Can Be A Distraction
It is surprising how money pulls people away from God. When Paul was writing to Timothy, he was careful to warn his young protege about the pitfalls of riches. He said, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Did you know that Jesus talked about money more than anything else? Plus, almost half of all his parables dealt with money. For example, in Matthew 6:24 he said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
There’s an important distinction to be made here. Jesus did not say “you cannot have money and serve God,” he said you cannot serve money and serve God–not at the same time. The more you elevate the importance of money in your life, the more God will be forced to take a backseat in your life.
Everything belongs To God
Everything that you own and everything in the whole world belongs to God. This is by far the most essential idea in the Bible when it comes to money.
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”
When you recognize that everything you own belongs to God, the pressure is taken off of you. You won’t need to worry about money, or the lack of it, because it isn’t yours anyway.
No wonder why money can be a distraction! When you set your mind on acquiring a lot of it, you are actually coveting what doesn’t belong to you. It also makes total sense why money can’t make you happy—because it’s just a thing. Instead, happiness comes from the One who created everything, including cash. And lastly, money can’t be evil, because all of it belongs to God and he’s certainly not going to own something evil.
So how about you? What is your struggle with money? Do you wish you had more? Do you have problems managing it? Does the desire for more money threaten to pull you away from God? If so, I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line and let me know how money has impacted you in your spiritual life.