Seek and Obey
One of my good friends recently told me something that I found helpful: “Money is not important. It is, however, necessary.” For Christians around the world, money is something that we all need. It is necessary! Money, this inescapable necessity, has Jesus talking about its use throughout the Gospels. In fact, 15 percent of everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money and possessions (that’s more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined). The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, and more than 2,000 verses on money! There are so many Bible passages on money that a multitude of authors have written books on Biblical finances, including David Ramsey and his amazing book “Financial Peace” (which every North American Christian ought to consider reading).
It’s good that Jesus offers us ample advice on money. Jesus teaches that we can find freedom from all fears, including all concerns about money. But in Matthew 6, Jesus also warns us that “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” He then tells us how to avoid the pitfall of worshiping money: “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” Get that? In other words, when we seek to follow God’s principles, God can provide for us out of His Kingdom’s resources. This includes His endless supply of money, peace of mind and health.. Money is a great resource, but a terrible god.
There are some helpful questions we can ask ourselves as a way of testing our financial focus:
Are we settling for too little? Do we feel that we need to protect the money and belongings we have like some financial guard dog? If we just guard what we have, we will never risk anything, and if there’s any truth in the Bible, faith is spelled RISK. We’ve got to make sure we are holding onto things loosely and willing to work for more and risk more. Seek first the Kingdom!
Are we striving for too much? Have we put the desire to gain more money above other things that are more important, like family and church? If we’re working so many hours that our time with family is suffering or we are missing our time with our church family, that ought to set off an alarm that it is time to calibrate and readjust our priorities. Seek first the Kingdom, right?
Yes, we are called to live inside of this tension: we need to strive and work hard, but we aren’t to lose focus on the main things! One step to living without fear of money is to seek God’s Kingdom.
Another practical step to victory over the fear of money is to tithe. A tithe represents 10% of your income given to your local church family. Remember that God owns everything. God doesn’t own merely the tithe, 10%, He owns the entire 100% of everything! So, what’s the value of a 10% tithe if God holds the whole show? It’s a perfect start, that’s what it is. But why? Why give God anything (let alone 10%)? Jesus understood the Kingdom principle that our heart follows our treasure: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matt 6:21) Jesus knows that God has a system that God has set up for you in order for you to flow in the well of His blessings. That system
begins with trusting Him by putting your family’s wealth into His hands. You can’t just say to God “I trust you;” you have to trust Him tangibly. Remember, God doesn’t want your money, He wants your heart. You can’t just say to your spouse “I love you” and leave it at that. You also show that you love your spouse in tangible ways. A result of your positive response to God’s principle of tithing is a stronger relationship with Him. Jesus advises us that “whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much.” God will use your action to build a stronger relationship with Him, a stronger faith and as a result give you more of His kingdom’s resources to do more kingdom stuff!
If you didn’t catch anything else from this blog catch this: it’s seeking God’s kingdom and obedience that unlocks the heavens. When we seek Him and obey in the tithe, we are blessed.