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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Right on the Money!

A few weeks ago, my cousin-in-law, Alyssa, asked me to guest post on her blog "Keeping the Kingdom First".The topic was Biblical financial principles. This is the post I shared with her readers, which includes some of you. I would like to share it with the rest of my readers today.

When it comes to finances, the Bible has a lot to say, but the very most important theme throughout the Good Book is this: Your money is not your own! How does that make you feel? For most of us, it may make us a little bit uncomfortable. We, as humans, are sometimes selfish, aren't we? But God's Word tells us that everything we have is really His. Why? Because God has given us everything we have. Yes, everything! "Every good and perfect gift is from above", James 1:17a. God is the One who provides us with our jobs, with our homes, with our talents and abilities, our families, and ultimately, with our money.

How can we honor God with our money? The parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25:14-30, is a great illustration of how God expects us to use what He has given us. Today the word "talent" refers to gifts and abilities, and we often hear sermons using this parable to encourage us to use those gifts. But, the word "talent" used in the Bible referred to a weight of money.

The parable has a master who gives three of his servants different talents of money. The first servant was given five talents. At once he went and put his money to work. Another servant received two talents. He also doubled his talents. But, the third servant, who only received one talent, went and buried his treasure.

When the master came back, the first two servants told him what they had done with the talents they had been given. Both received the same reply, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (verse 23) But to the third one, who hid his talent, the master said, 'You wicked, lazy servant!...Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. (verse 26, 28)

So, what can we learn from this parable and other Biblical examples to help us as we strive to use our money to glorify God? Here are just are few:

1. Give to God first, not last. God will bless you for it!
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2 And, of course, the first day of the week is Sunday.

2. Be good stewards of what God has so richly blessed you with.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:28-30

3. Invest wisely. Beware of "schemes" that sound too good to be true - they most likely are!
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Proverbs 13:11

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. Luke 6:38

4. Use your money wisely. Practice self-control in your spending (don't blow it) and in your saving (don't hoard it).
He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall. Proverbs 25:28

5. Help others in need. In doing so, you are serving Jesus.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-28

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:40


6. Never allow money to become #1 in your life. Anything placed before God becomes an idol.
No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money. Matthew 6:24

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10

7. When in financial distress, continue to keep your eyes focused on God.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to to his life? Matthew 6:25

8. When in financial success, do not boast, but acknowledge God's blessings upon your life.
The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

9. Pay back any debt you owe.
It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5:5

The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. Psalm 37:21

10. Be content with what you have.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11-13

There are many, many more scriptures dealing with money in the Bible. It is obvious that God through His Word and Jesus through His teaching wanted us to know how Christians should take care of their finances. The verse that sums up everything above is the theme scripture for Alyssa's blog: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

1 comment:

Helene said...

I still thank Alyssa for that. It's how I found your blog (and was a great post) and as a new (3 year) Christian your blog is like such a peaceful getaway for me. I love reading the posts (and now checking the other blog for recipes :-) )

 
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