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Before joining the financial industry, I spent several years serving as a pastor. Throughout my preaching ministry, two things surprised me when it came to the Bible and money.
The first was how frequently God’s Word speaks about money. Take the book of Proverbs for instance. Proverbs has 915 verses, and 101 of them make mention of money (that’s 11% of the whole book). Did you know that Jesus spoke about money more than he did any other topic? More than heaven or hell, family or famine, salvation or sanctification, money was never far from our Lord’s lips. 11 of Jesus’ 39 parables (28%) either centered on money or used money as an illustration. Clearly, God has a lot to say about money.
The second thing that surprised me was how holistically the Scriptures speak about money. On the one hand, riches and possessions are spoken of positively. Wealth can be seen as a blessing from God (Proverbs 10:22). Profit is used as a motivator for hard work (Proverbs 10:4). Leaving a bountiful inheritance is encouraged (Proverbs 13:22). On the other hand, Scripture gives us strong warnings about money. We are told that toiling simply to acquire wealth is a fruitless endeavor (Proverbs 23:4-5), riches are fleeting (Matthew 6:19-21), and that wealth makes kingdom-living extremely difficult (Mark 10:23-25).
Blessing and Warning. It’s the inescapable tension that God uses to speak about our wealth and possessions. Have you ever felt this tension? Do you think you feel one side of it more than the other? Consider examining your next credit card statement. Ask yourself, “Does my spending, investing, and giving show that I’m living to serve myself? Or to serve the Lord and bless others?”
If you’re looking for an easy resolution to how your heart should feel towards money, I’m afraid that answer can’t be found. God never completely answers this question so we will continually be asking it of ourselves. But perhaps this final word from Proverbs 8:9-10 can provide some guidance: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” Consider the “give me neither poverty” as the guardrail on your left, asking if you are ignoring opportunities to steward and grow what God has given you to serve those around you. And consider the “nor riches” as the guardrail on your right, asking if your money has replaced the Lord as the source of your security and provision.