A systematic study on an idea in Scripture, or in a part of Scripture, can help to develop one’s theology accurately on that idea. We make assumptions about truth on our own, often based in things we were taught while we were young. Seeing what the Bible actually says typically gives these outcomes:
- The Bible teaches something I didn’t realize that it taught.
- The Bible never says something that I thought it said.
- Or, the Bible says exactly what I thought it did, (this one is exceptionally rare).
With this in mind, I studies Jesus’ teachings on money and watched for themes. He says more on this one topic than almost any other one subject he speaks on. Here were my conclusions and supports.
- Wealth (in itself, as something to seek and hold) is unimportant.
- [Mat 6:19-21, 24 NIV] 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … 24 “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.
- [Luk 12:33-34 NIV] 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Our earthly wealth will disappear and is unreliable. By contrast, there is a heavenly wealth that is only loosely defined. Eternal life, godly love, and grace are in store for us. Giving these gifts to others should be our highest priority.
Money is not good by itself (intrinsically). It is only good if we use it to serve God. The desire for money can corrupt, yet money can be used for good. When one compares this with my prior post, they will see that I am saying to attribute value to those things that are eternal. Our service to God, in which we may use wealth wisely, is what has true importance.
Our heavenly treasures will never disappear. God protects them from any harm. Our money should not be the most important thing in our lives. You can’t take anything with you when you die.
2. A focus on wealth can destroy what is important.
- [Luk 6:24-26 NIV] 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Earthly riches can ultimately cause harm. A focus on them can prevent us from caring for others. Do we look at our spending and see were the extra money goes when we have it. Do we spend more on ourselves or look for ways to give to others?
- [Mat 19:21-24 NIV] 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
- [Mark 10:21-22 NIV] 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The rich are accustomed to getting what they want. It is difficult for them to give up on money if it is an impediment to their salvation. When money becomes more important to us than God is, then we are no longer serving God.
3. Wealth is used best when it is given away.
- [Luk 16:9-10 NIV] 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Use your money to serve God’s purposes. Using money to serve yourself will only bring you into eternal ruin. You put your money where you attribute value. Relationships are the only thing on this earth that are eternal. Use your income to build connections that will last.
You cannot serve both money and God. Money must serve you as you serve God.
- [Luk 21:1-4 NIV] 1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Giving all you have is more important than giving a large quantity. How do we know if we are giving enough? C.S. Lewis – I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities [the money we give] do not at all pinch or hamper us [slow us down],… they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.