Summary: God expects me to be a good steward of my treasure.
In Ephesians 4:24, Paul speaks that every Christian should endeavor to "put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." He then describes the kind of changes that should be seen in the life of a growing Christian. One of those changes is that a Christian who is pursuing righteousness and holiness will have a different attitude toward his treasure than does the rest of the world.
"There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, mind and purse. Of these three, the conversion of the purse is most difficult." - Martin Luther
Perhaps the reason for this is that the devil knows that if he can get us to keep us from giving management of our income to the Lord, he has us where he wants us. The Bible says that the love of money leads to,
A. Dissatisfaction in life - "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless." - Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NIV)
B. Divided loyalty - "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." - Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
C. Disregard for God’s truth - "The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus." - Luke 16:14 (NIV)
D. Disqualification for service - "Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, espectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." - 1 Timothy 3:2-4 (NIV)
E. Disaster in our Christian walk - "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." - 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)
It’s no wonder then that the writer of Hebrews tells us, "Keep your lives free from the love of money" (Hebrews 13:5).
Though money is a necessary part of our daily existence, it should not be what rules our lives. Christ should rule our lives!
It is important that we understand what our Lord has to say about the stewardship of our treasure. Rather than having money to be the focus of our lives, the Lord ought to be the focus of our lives.
If Christ is the focus of my life, then I will . . .
1. Be Industrious -
A. Demonstrate Character -
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work . . ."
When it comes to earning an income, we must focus on demonstrating character. The Christian should not be a drain on the income of others. The Christian should not seek to take advantage of others, depending on their industry, while they remain idle. Instead, the child of God should seek to earn an honest living - to pay their own way.
1) A Christian should earn the means to live -
Paul would have us understand that there is inherent value in earning an honest living. Hard work reflects honest character. Every Christian should demonstrate character by earning the means to live.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." - 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)
"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ’If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies." - 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 (NIV)
Again, hard work reflects honest character and brings glory to Christ!
Several years ago in the South African territory of Kwa-Zulu, the government dug irrigation ditches on both sides of a river. This allowed the rich land to be farmed. The Christian Zulus on one side of the river produced lush crops and prospered. The traditional animist worshipers on the other side continued to live in abject poverty, producing almost nothing on the same kind of soil. Why? The Christians believed they were responsible before God to work hard and live soberly. Their pagan neighbors, on the other hand, viewed work as the women’s responsibility, while the men spent their time drinking and fighting.
The contrast that developed between the Christians and the animists in Kwa-Zulu is a contrast that should be repeated the world over as Christians commit themselves to earning an honest living. When a Christian earns the means to live, God is honored, as his hard work reveals honest character.