Summary: In order to survive our finances, we need to examine our heart attitude toward money and possessions.
When it comes to money and finances, preachers often fall into one of two extremes. The first is to avoid mentioning money altogether; or, if they absolutely must talk about it, to approach the topic very gingerly and apologetically, with a vague sense of embarrassment, as if money were a subject not fit for polite society. So, in spite of the fact that most of us spend a great deal of our time either earning money, or spending money, or thinking about money, in some churches you almost never hear it mentioned. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that the lights in those churches glowed with the pure glory of God, and the heat radiated from the presence of God, or you might conclude that the preacher and his family were fed miraculously with manna, like the ancient Israelites in the desert. You would never imagine that such vulgar things as utility bills or salaries were involved. You would be left with the impression that God was either not interested in money, or that money was somehow dirty or evil.
Now, in their defense, there’s a reason why some preachers react that way. They don’t want their motives questioned. They don’t want to be lumped in with the money-grubbers, the preachers who talk and act as if the whole Christian life were about nothing but money. Thankfully, those are a small minority, but for them, money is the primary means by which we relate to God. If we love God, we will give Him lots of money. If we do what God wants, He will reward us with money. In those churches, money is talked about constantly. It is absolutely front and center.
But both of those approaches miss the mark. One represents an un-Biblical underemphasis on money, and the other an overemphasis on it. The truth is that money is important, and it does affect our spiritual life. But finances are not the only thing that matters in the Christian life. They’re not even the most important thing. And God’s blessings don’t always come in the form of Federal Reserve Notes. So having said all that, what help can the Bible give us in this area? How can we honor God and serve Him with our finances? And how can we get free from this feeling of never having enough?
First, let’s define the problem. Most people would state it like this: "I don’t have enough money. I have trouble paying my bills, I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, I can’t buy the things I need. I want my family to have nice things, but I can’t afford them." Are those legitimate concerns? Yes! But, they are not the real problem. Listen very carefully to what I am about to say: A lack of money is not the problem. The problem is the discrepancy between what you have and what you want; the problem is the gap between your financial resources, on the one hand, and your desires and perceived needs, on the other. In other words, your demand exceeds your supply. Now, that may sound like just a semantic distinction, just playing with words, but it’s not. It’s absolutely critical. Because your definition of the problem affects how you try to solve the problem.