We continue with our theme for September: Back To School. Even as adults who’ve long graduated from school, we still face tests and trials in the ‘school of real life.’
What comes to mind when you think of health and wellness? Most of us likely think of things like exercise, eating nutritional foods, getting enough sleep and regular doctor check-ups. Rarely do we think of money.
But according to Joe Lowrance, PsyD, “financial wellness is a component of overall wellness.”
Jesus certainly knew there was a fundamental connection between the overall wellness of our spiritual lives and our relationship to money. In fact, money and possessions are such an important topic to Jesus that it is the main subject of nearly half of the parables he told.
Jesus says in Luke 16:11, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
It appears from this verse that God uses money as a test of our management and stewardship skills before entrusting us with spiritual things.
In my opinion, money may quite possibly be our biggest test in the school of life.
The subject of money is obviously important to God which means it should be important to us. Why then does it seem to be one of those ‘taboo’ issues to talk about?
Quite frankly, I didn’t want to write on the topic of money. I loathe dealing with money issues. I’d much rather avoid it altogether. I’d venture to say there are many people who’d join me in this line of thinking. Perhaps you are reading this and nodding your head. So I humbly ask you, how’s that working for you?
I got to the place where avoiding financial issues and responsibilities wasn’t working for me. You see, my husband happens to be an accountant, and for many years I conveniently relied solely upon him to handle our finances. I lived in financial ignorance. But as I began to mature in my relationship to Christ, I discovered that ignorance was not where God wanted me. Consequently, my avoidance of money issues was adversely affecting my marriage.
This realization served to illuminate my need for help. I started with prayer, asking God to help me gain wisdom. I also researched the Bible and other reputable sources on the subject of money.
By no means do I have it all together. Admittedly, I’m still l working on a healthy, godly relationship to money as opposed to avoiding it.
One big reason I have avoided money is out of fear of not having enough.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT) “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
I remember reading these verses and coming to the conclusion that my fear about not having enough was actually a declaration that I didn’t trust God to provide what I need.
Do you really trust God to provide what you need?
Matthew 6:21-28 (NLT) “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Another thing I discovered is, I like ‘stuff’. Clothes, going out to eat, new pillows for the couch, kind of stuff.
I had to stop and ask myself if ‘stuff’ mattered more than growing in my relationship to Jesus. My answer was an emphatic, “NO!” And God’s reply was a gracious, “Then live like it.”
Malachi 3:10 “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”
It was time for me to step out in faith, trusting that if I tithe, God would not only provide, but I would be blessed (tithe means giving ten percent of your income). My husband and I lived for years in credit card debt, so giving ten percent to the church seemed impossible.
To my surprise, God has provided for my family’s needs every day, just as His word says. Even when we have been unfaithful with our tithing, God has been faithful to us. I admit, I’m still growing in the area of tithing.
I’ve learned that God doesn’t need me to give my money. No, I need to give.
In giving, I learn to trust.
In giving, I learn where my true treasure resides.
In giving, I am free.
I had become a slave to money through fear and desires for earthly stuff.
Matthew 6:24 NLT “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Money is a test we will face again and again until the day we don’t need it any longer—which is of course when we meet Jesus.
And since we are going to need money every day of our lives, this means we need to develop a healthy relationship to money. We must keep things in perspective, recognizing all that we have comes from God. We are only managers of what God provides.
Our hope is not in material things, for they will all be gone someday.
Matthew 6:19-20 NLT “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”
It was Martin Luther who said, “There are three conversions a person needs to experience: The conversion of the head, the conversion of the heart, and the conversion of the pocketbook.”
How about you? How’s your relationship to money?
It’s time that we trust God to do what He says He’ll do, even with regards to money.
Takeaway and Application:
There is a fundamental relationship to our spiritual lives and our relationship to money. Money is a test from God to teach us that He is faithful. Money tests our hearts.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your provision. I want to trust you with everything, including my finances. Give me wisdom. Teach me how to handle what you have given me wisely. I desire to have a generous heart. I repent of any mismanagement of your provisions. In Jesus’ name, amen.