I taught this lesson a couple of weeks ago during a marriage counseling session and I have been invited to teach this once again tonight, in a different setting.
It has been said that, “if you want to know who your god is, look at where and how you spend your money“. Many people have been taught that money is evil. It is based on a misunderstanding of the Word of God. I will demonstrate, “the root of all evil is _________ ?”. How did you answer that? Did you say money? The actual passage is, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” which is found in I Timothy 6:10. Money is not evil. Money is just a tool that God uses to teach us. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Let’s take a look at how God uses money to teach us and what does He want to teach us.
I. What money reveals
As I stated earlier, money is a tool that God uses to reveal stuff about ourselves to us. Let’s take a look at Matthew 6:19-33. In verses 19-21, God teaches us that the way that we use money shows where our priorities are. Where are you spending your money? What are you spending your money on? Verses 24-25 teach us that we cannot serve 2 masters with our money. We either use our money to serve the Lord or we use our money to serve ourselves (or some other “god”). The manifestation of using money to serve ourselves is seen in our worry. If we are using our money to serve the Lord, we are not going to worry. If you are using your money to serve the Lord, your number 1 priority is going to be God’s kingdom. In other words, how you use your money shows what your number 1 priority is.
Another thing that money does is it forces us to depend on God day by day. This is seen in Philippians 4:6-7, 11-12, 19. When we learn to depend on God, we receive God’s peace, no matter what the circumstance is. God also uses money to teach us to be content in all circumstances. We are taught to trust God by God and He uses money to do so.
In I Peter 5:6-7, God teaches us to trust Him. We can trust Him because He cares for us, even our finances. In order to experience this, God uses money to teach us to be humble and as we humble ourselves more, we learn to trust Him more. By doing this, we are able to release our worry.
The final passage in this section that I would like to consider is Psalm 37:25. As we learn to trust God with our money, we become a testimony to the world around us.
II. Warnings about money
God has a lot to teach us about money and He does so in the form of warnings. These are not polite suggestions. He gives the warnings and explains why. Proverbs 22:1-2, 7, teaches us that we should seek a good name over riches because riches come and go but a good name remains. Do not get into unnecessary debt. Proverbs 23:4-5, teaches us that we should not even consider striving to get rich. Why not? You should not because as soon as you attain it, wealth develops wings wings and flies away. You spend your life chasing something that so easily flies away. I Timothy 6:8-19, teaches us the following about money. The first thing is that you need is to be content with all that you have. The second thing is not to desire to get rich. Why not? When you desire to get rich, you fall into temptation. This leads you to get ensnared by foolish desires which are also harmful to you leading you to ruin and destruction. When you desire to get rich, you begin to love money and that is the root of all kinds of evil. It can lead you away from the faith and end up causing you to pierce yourself with much grief. What about those who have money and are already rich? If you are rich, do not be conceited, thinking that you made yourself rich. Do not fix your hope on your riches. Fix your hope on the Lord Jesus Christ. Use your riches for the kingdom of heaven. Do good works with your money. Be generous with your riches. Be ready to share. Use your riches to store up treasures in heaven.
Finally, the wisest man who ever lived other than Jesus Christ, king Solomon, has some things to teach us about money. In Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, Solomon tells us the following about money.
- Money will never satisfy you.
- Being rich will not satisfy you.
- The richer you are, the more people you will have in your life who want to spend your money for you.
- More riches = More problems
- If you hoard riches, you end up hurting yourself with those riches.
- If you have riches and use them unwisely, you will waste them and when you need them you will not have them.
- You cannot take riches with you. Use them to invest in the kingdom of heaven, storing up treasures there.
- There is no sense in working hard to store up treasures here because they stay here.
- Learn to work hard and be content with what you have.
- Use what you have to invest in the things of God.
- There is nothing wrong with being rich if your attitude about wealth is correct and you use wealth correctly.
Where does tithing fit into all of this?
Usually we think of giving to our church as giving our 10% of our income. This, we are taught, is what is pleasing to God. Let’s take a look at both the Old and New Testaments to find out how much God wants us to give. Leviticus 27:30-32 is our first passage. Keep in mind, this command is given to people who do not have the Holy Spirit. God’s nature is that He is giving. We are not born with a giving nature. We are not givers by nature. God has to force the Israelites to give because it is not their nature, just like it is not ours until we come to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit. The lowest portion of this command is 10%. When combined with offerings, the total percentage of income was about 23%. God gives to the Israelites 100% of their income and asks them to give 10% back to Him. He has to force them to do it because they do not have the character of God. If you pat yourself on the back because you are giving 10% of your income to the church, you need to realize that you are giving the bare minimum that was commanded to people who did not have the nature of God. Don’t pat too hard or eagerly. Proverbs 3:9-10 teaches us that we are to honor God with the first of what we have and not the left overs, if there is anything left over. As a result of your giving, God will bless you. The blessing is that you are like God, you know God because He is giving and when you know Him, He motivates you to give. Giving is a sign that you know God. In Malachi 3:8-12, God equates not giving tithes and offerings as robbing Him. He does not need our money. Giving is not to benefit God. Giving is for our own benefit. Tithing is a test of your obedience and faith. Tithing brings about God’s blessings. Tithing is a testimony to those who do not know God.
Now, let’s shift gears and focus on the New Testament. In the New Testament, God does not give a number when calling the believers to give. The first assumption is that the person is a believer, born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, or in other words, the nature of God. With God’s nature in us, we become like Him. We become givers. II Corinthians 9:7-14 teaches us the following about giving:
- You are to give as God leads you.
- You are not to be forced to give.
- You should desire to give.
- God will provide for you.
- Giving is a ministry.
- Giving supplies the needs of the saints. Giving funds the ministry. I Thessalonians 5:12-13, I Timothy 5:17
- Giving is a sign of the grace of God in you.
Finally, Philippians 4:15-17 teaches us that we are the ones who benefit from giving more than the ones who receive our gifts.
I have a few questions for you my dear friend, what does the way that you use your money reveal about your relationship with God? Do you desire to get rich? Are you giving? Why do you struggle with giving? Are you walking with God? If God is a Giver and you do not desire to give, what does that say about you and your relationship with God? If you are just giving 10% of your income, what are you doing with the other 90%? May the Lord help us have a firm understanding of money, a tool that God uses to reveal to ourselves who we really are and what our relationship status with Him really is.