The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord—Haggai 2:8
Three weeks ago now we began discussing the important subject of Christian stewardship. The last two weeks we considered stewardship of time and gifts. Today we are wrapping up this series by looking at the stewardship of our money and resources.
One of the most haunting parables Jesus tells is in Luke 12. Once upon a time there was a rich man whose land produced plenty. When he ran out of space to store his crops, he decided to tear down the barns and build bigger ones. Considering his condition, he said, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years: relax, eat, drink, be merry.” Little did he know, the rich man had run out of time. God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you.” At the end of the story, Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Interestingly, Jesus talks about money three times more than he talks about heaven or hell. That’s a startling fact, but if you pause to consider it, it makes perfect sense. Jesus knows that we cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24), so wherever it is you find your treasure, you can be certain of one thing—there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). True religion is heart religion. The question, “Where is your heart?” is an all-important question.
When it comes to giving money to the church, we’ll often ask questions like, “Does God require that I give 10 percent of my income?” or “Does God want me to give from my gross or net?” These are fine questions in and of themselves, and at some later time, it would be appropriate to consider them. But to be honest, questions like these often indicate a deeper heart problem. The unspoken question lurking beneath the surface for some is, “How little can I give and God still be pleased with me?” If this question lies at the bottom, we have not even begun to grasp gospel generosity.
For starters, no amount of giving can make you pleasing to God. Your good deeds are but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Further, your relationship to God is never based on what you do; it’s based on what Jesus Christ has done for you in the gospel. That’s good news, right? But here’s the flip side. If you have truly received the Savior who became poor that you might become rich (II Corinthians 8:8-9), then without a doubt, your life will bear a striking resemblance.
In thinking through the implications personally for my life, I’m asking myself this question today, “Nate, when you look at your budget, is there any evidence that God is the priority in your life?” Being honest, there are things I’m encouraged about, and there are areas where I can see that God wants to increase my love and commitment to Christ by rearranging the priorities in my spending and saving patterns. Let us together commit to give (and live) like the gospel is true. Because it is!