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.
Our society today has an unhealthy view of money. In fact, many believe it is a sin to be wealthy, drive a good car, live in a lovely home or travel, so they live like a pauper. Other people who have money easily get sidetracked with the many downsides of having an abundance.
Money is neither good nor evil, but how you manage, spend and handle that money are direct reflections of your character, your behavior and your values. Billy Graham said: “Give me five minutes with a person’s checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.”
So which is it? Is it okay to have wealth, or should we live like a pauper? Or is the answer somewhere in the middle? There are so many misnomers about money, but 1 Timothy 6:10 is one of the most-oft misquoted scriptures in the Bible.
What the Bible says in that passage is this: “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.”
No, money is not the root of the evil, but the love of money is what gets people off track and in trouble, and they end up “…with many griefs”. The Bible has much to say about money. In fact, it’s so important that…
- 16 out of 38 of Jesus’ parables deal with money and possessions.
- Nearly 25% of Jesus’ words in the New Testament deal with biblical stewardship.
- 1 out of 10 verses in the Gospels deal with money.
- There are more than 2,000 scriptures on tithing in the Bible, money, and possessions in the Bible, which is twice as many as faith and prayer combined.
Money should never be our goal or at the top of the list. Unfortunately, it is for many people. There are more critical things in life to be sure. We all need a healthy view of money, and that means controlling our money rather than money controlling us.
How can you stay free of the love of money? Here are a few thoughts.
Focus on your four walls. What do you need to live? Shelter, transportation, utilities, food. These are the fundamental things you need to survive. Doesn’t matter if you’re up to your eyeballs in debt or doing well in your finances, this applies to you. Your four walls are crucial. Protect them at all costs. Take care of them first, and they’ll help take you through a crisis—Circle the wagons.
Focus outward. The more you share (give), the less likely you are to become attached to your money. Blessing others — especially with their four walls — keeps the spotlight off you and trying to keep up with the Joneses. Giving doesn’t necessarily have to be money, but you may buy a Bible for someone, purchase a card, flowers or candy to send to someone, pay someone’s electric bill or give to some program at your church.
Focus upward. Keep your eyes on God. This focus and relationship will help maintain a healthy money perspective. When we recognize that God owns it all, the pressure and stress are removed or significantly reduced. Immediately. If God owns it all, we are simply stewards and managers of everything. Whew, that takes a load off, doesn’t it?
Sure, you need to plan for the future (e.g. retirement, education etc.) and it’s okay to buy a new home and drive a good car. But it’s the attitude and perspective about money that’s important. The few thoughts above will help you get started on the right track thinking about money.