How we relate to finances arises from deep seated values in our hearts that we may or not be aware of. We all have a way of looking at the world—a worldview. How we live, including our relationship to money, is an expression of that worldview. As I grew up, I was taught, “Money makes the world go round.” No wonder it was the cause of what seemed to be incessant bickering between my parents.
It seems to me that many people, believers included, agree that our lives depend on money. It’s one thing to say we believe God runs the world, it’s another for that truth to work its way into our hearts. It’s been a struggle for me; it may be a struggle for you.
Let’s look briefly at some passages that will help us formulate a godly and effective perspective on finances. The very first verse of the Bible reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God is the creator of all things. And because he is creator, he owns it all (see Genesis 14:24). And because he is the owner of everything, we’re not. If not, than what is our relationship to material things? Later in Genesis one, we read:
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth (Genesis 1:26).
We have been appointed by God to be the stewards of the creation. And that goes for everyone, whether we believe in God or not. God has entrusted us with what he has made. We are responsible to watch over and care for everything on planet earth under God’s direction. Therefore, we should regard whatever we own as a gift and a privilege.
Next, let’s read Yeshua’s perspective on the subject:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:25-33).
Because we are not alone in the universe, but rather we have a loving, all-powerful Father, who not only made the universe, but owns it, we are not expected to provide for ourselves, which may seem like a crazy idea to you. Yeshua isn’t saying don’t work hard or don’t be responsible. He is addressing where our focus should be. Don’t focus on our material needs, including money, but rather focus on our responsibilities. God will take care of the rest. But what are our responsibilities? Yeshua tells us: Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. But what’s that about? We are to focus on God’s rule and his ways. In other words, concentrate on doing what he wants you to do in everything, all the time, everywhere. Focus on God and his will. And he will take care of the rest. We have a Father who loves us and is committed to providing for us. We are not spiritual orphans.
I could tell so many stories of how at age nineteen, abandoned by my father, living on welfare with my mother, I began to be confronted by the reality of God regarding money—that I really did have a Heavenly Father who promised to take care of me. A wife and ten kids later, do I have stories to tell! But instead, by way of illustration, let me share one about someone else – a fellow student of mine when we were in Bible school together in Toronto many years ago. He was from an African country, and depended on the Lord for provision day to day. He had to go down to the consulate, I think it was, to deal with a visa issue. When an official asked him, “Who is providing for you?” He answered, “My father,” meaning God. Whether that was appropriate or not, he meant it. That’s how he lived. His unusual answer reflects the truth of how God calls us to view him, money, and life.
Understanding that material things are God’s concern, not ours, is so freeing. But that doesn’t mean, of course, we can blow all sorts of cash, since God is going to provide anyway. Seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness must also include how we manage the finances he provides. Remember, we’re his stewards. More than that! We are his children, that is if we have the kind of intimate relationship with him as Father like my friend did. If you don’t know God that way, but want to, contact me.
All scriptures, English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible