Summary: The world at large treats money and wealth as just something to be attained and used for themselves. The world doesn't generally acknowledge that God is the giver of the gift of producing wealth. Christians unfortunately aren't a whole lot different in th
Things That Make Christians Different From The World: Money
Money is a hot topic for people today. With the U.S. economy not nearly as strong as it used to or should be, with many companies (including the one that Diane and I work for) not giving raises like they should or not at all, the cost of living going up, and people looking very closely at their personal finances like never before, money is very important to all of us.
We are all looking to manage our bills better, manage our incomes better; we are looking at cutting back on things that may not be as important as we once thought that they were. The reality for us today is that money seems to make the world go ‘round.
Well, as important as money is to all of us today, and make no mistake here we ALL need money to live and take care of ourselves and our families, money has been important throughout human history. It was important to the people and societies that we read about in the Bible too.
Here is some important information and numbers about money and its place in Scripture:
Money is such an important topic in the Bible that it is the main subject of nearly half of the parables Jesus told. In addition, one in every seven verses in the New Testament deals with this topic. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, and more than 2,300 verses on money.
In fact, 15 percent of everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money and possessions-more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined. Money is the most talked about topic in Scripture.
Now that we have established just how important God thinks that money is to us, how we handle the money that He gives to us, and most importantly our attitudes towards money, the next question is why is the “money topic” so important to God and us? I have a simple answer to this question and the answer is this: Because there is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.
So how are Christians supposed to handle the money and wealth that the Lord so graciously provides for each of us? And how does the world look at the money that they have, how do they use it in general, and in what ways do they pursue wealth that is in contrast with the ways Christians do the same things?
I would love to be able to say at this point that we as Christians are so much different from the world when it comes to money that there are very clear and defined differences between the world and us but unfortunately, I can’t.
In 1st Timothy chapter 6 verses 10-11 we read this:
10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
Now, while the KJV of the Bible and maybe one or two other translations say that the love of money is THE root of all evil, most translations say that the love of money is A root of many evils. Having said that the bottom line is that money can and will get in the way of a Christians’ relationship with Christ as Paul wrote in the two verses we just read.
As I said earlier, the attitudes that many Christians have about money and wealth are not much different from the attitudes about money and wealth that the world holds in general. I find this situation to be very sad and hard to fathom. Since the world doesn’t have a relationship with God or Christ, I completely understand how they deal with money and why the pursuit of it consumes them, but I am saddened that Christians far too often fall into the very same money traps that the lost find themselves ensnared in.
Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation said this about people when they come to Christ: "There are three conversions a person needs to experience: The conversion of the head, the conversion of the heart, and the conversion of the pocketbook."
I want to very clear here that neither, the Bible, Jesus, or the men who wrote the Scriptures down for us say that wealth or money in and of itself is evil or bad. What all three say to us though is that it is our attitudes and behaviors towards these two things that make all the difference in the world.
What I believe that Martin Luther meant by people needing to have a conversion of the pocketbook is that Christians are an awful lot like the world when it comes to talking about money. In the seven years I have been the Pastor here at MKBC, I have never preached a sermon on tithing. Thankfully, we have never needed to have one preached that I can tell but Christians seem to be very sensitive when it comes to their personal finances.