Author: Ron Graham
What can you do with money? Well the first thing that comes to mind is that you can buy stuff with it. You can buy food, clothing, shelter, fuel, transport, medicine, education, tools, entertainment, a rose bush for your garden, a ring for your betrothed. If you've got enough money, you can buy a skyscraper, an aeroplane, or your own pacific island. However, that's not what this lesson is about. In this lesson we are looking more deeply at what we can do with money. First we will talk about what you shouldn't do with money. Second we will look at what you should...
"The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and by longing for it some have wandered far from the truth, and pierced themselves with many a pang. Flee from these things you man of God..." (1Timothy 6:10-11). When you get the smell of money in your nostrils, be warned: the smell of fire and brimstone is likely to follow.
"You cannot serve God and money" (Luke 16:13) . You have to make a choice: God or money. You cannot be devoted to money and be rich in heavenly things as well.
Note —Mammon is a word used in some translations instead of money or wealth. The word mammon is pejorative, and expresses wealth tainted with evil.
The prodigal son "wasted his substance in prodigal living" (Luke 15:13). He soon regretted it. In our consumer society, it is all too easy to spend money on useless and unproductive things. Let's be good stewards of any money we may be blessed with.
The rich fool went beyond sensible saving (Luke 12:15-21). On one hand, there is the wisdom of the ant (Proverbs 6:6-8). On the other hand there is the hoarding of wealth. Jesus says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth... but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-21).
"Owe nothing to anyone" (Romans 13:8). A debt is a burden, and such cares can choke your life (Luke 8:14). Why enter into debt by choice? See the lesson Owe Nothing for more on this.
There are four ways to get money. You can earn it, steal it, be given it, or find it. The most honourable of these is to earn it, "performing with your own hands what is good" (Ephesians 4:28) Many people look for ways to get money without working for it or having legitimate entitlement to it. For example, John the Immerser said to certain soldiers, "Don't take anyone's money by force... be content with your wages" (Luke 3:14).
Lots of people are out there going for money, but a surprising number are actually forgoing it. They work hard for no money. These include mothers at home, community volunteers, and those who privately teach, advise, and encourage others without charge. Many preachers also work very hard, often for little or no monetary reward. Paul was one of these (1Corinthians 9:12-18). If the good folk who do so much voluntary work suddenly quit and demanded pay for their time and labor, our society would collapse. It does not hurt us to do some work without monetary reward.
"Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's due," said Jesus (Luke 20:25). Paul says, "Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due, revenue to whom revenue is due" (Romans 13:7). The Christian who is trying to avoid paying his bills and taxes, is no Christian at all. "Rendering to all what is due" can include dues which may not be demanded with legal notices. For example, rendering to one's parents what is due them in their old age (lTm 5:4).
Jesus said, "Make friends for yourselves with the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9). Money should be considered "something to share with one who has need" (Ephesians 4:28)
Of course every lesson on money has to end with an exhortation to give generously to the Lord, doesn't it? The church does not take up collections because it is greedy. It does so because the Lord commands it (1Corinthians 16:1-2). The motive is need, not greed. With regard to "tithes and contributions" the Bible asks, "Will a man rob God?" (Malachi 3:8-9). Paul reminds us that "God loves a cheerful giver" (2Corinthians 9:7).