Wealth in the Bible

Using God's Blessings to Bless Others…

Category: Matthew

Wasteful Sacrifice?

Matthew 26: 7 – 9 – ‘…a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”’

Do people question where you invest your finances? Are you accused of giving more to your local church than a ‘more worthy’ charity? Giving should be God-led.

Don’t let local or even majority opinion influence where you give of your finances. God has blessed you with the finances, expecting that you will be a good steward of them. At times He may ask you to give abundantly beyond what you feel comfortable doing – be obedient!

Whether it’s a particular amount or a particular cause, pray that God will guide you on where He would have you give and be obedient in doing this. The only One you have to impress with your giving is God.

Wealth tip – budget your money and follow this budget.

Wealth and Responsibility

Matthew 25: 42, 45 – ‘For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me… He will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”’

There is no point in being a Christian and having wealth, and not using some of it to reach out to God’s lost and hurting flock. Christ implores us to respond to these people as if they were Him.

With wealth comes responsibility – don’t forget this. There is no point in desiring to be wealthy if we don’t desire to live up to the expectation that comes with it.

Wealth tip – if the amount you need or want to save isn’t possible on your current budget, consider where costs could be cut or more money could be earned.

The Story of the Talents

Matthew 25: 15 – 16, 20 – 21 – ‘To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained give more… The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.’’

 

Read the full parable from Matthew 25: 14 – 30.

We need to prove ourselves good stewards of any amount God entrusts to us. When we invest skills and wealth that God has blessed us with and see it multiply, God is happy with us and wants to bless us further.

Although a talent is a measure of money in this parable, there are many things God can bless us with that he hopes we will multiply. If we have children and raise them to know and love God, we should expect and hope that they’ll go on to impact others to know and love God – whether they’re blood relatives or not.

If we have a musical skill or talent, are we using it to praise God? If we have business skills, are we using them to train others and further God’s kingdom? Whatever God has blessed you with, invest in it, improve it, teach it to others and impact the world for good!

Wealth tip – consider only borrowing money to purchase assets that will generate income for you, not for products that will decrease in value over time.

Be On Alert

Matthew 24: 45 – 46 – ‘Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.’

Read the full parable up until verse 51. We do not know when Jesus will return, but we do know that He is watching over us, always. What does this mean? That our motives should always be pure.

Our desire for wealth should be because we want to use it for God’s benefit. This could be to provide biblical resources, to feed the hungry, clothe the poor or in another way reach the lost.

There is nothing wrong with Christians being wealthy; in fact this is perhaps one of the best ways for God to get things done on this earth! We must be stewards of our wealth 100% of the time, aware that Christ could return at any time and that he sees our actions and motives every time.

Wealth tip – God is the provider and overseer of our finances; He will provide what we need and more if we are willing to invest it for Him.

Fulfilling Your Duty

Matthew 21: 43 – ‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

God has called each and every one of us into a relationship with Him and to share His love with others. With this comes obedience and sacrifice on our behalf and incredible grace and mercy from God.

If we aren’t willing to be obedient to God’s word and to wholeheartedly live our lives for Him, He will seek out others who are willing to do this work. Don’t get overlooked! What can you be doing in your everyday walk with God right now to ensure that you’re showing his love, training up your children, investing in the best possible way?

Being fruitful is something that we can do on a daily basis with short term – immediate – results, and over the longer term with eternally – heavenly – results that we may not see on this earth.

Financial tip – look out for sales and prepare for them; save up for and buy in bulk during sales so that you’re saving money on items you regularly use.

A Denarius for a Day’s Work

Matthew 20: 13 – 14 – ‘But he answered one of them, “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.”’

Read through Matthew 20: 1 – 16 for this whole parable. The general gist is that some people were hired to work for the whole day, agreeing to payment of a denarius for their labour. Other people were hired a few hours later, then a few hours after this and so on until some were hired and there was only time for them to work an hour before payment was due.

Each person received a denarius for their labour, whether it was an hour’s work or a day. For those who worked the full day, they anticipated getting more than those who worked an hour. And yet, they initially agreed to work the full day for one denarius.

It is so easy for us to expect that we will receive more perhaps because we’ve put in more hours or achieved more within our allotted working time. When working for someone, it is important to be clear on what our working terms are – our hours, our pay, our responsibilities.

From here, there is no room to begrudge someone else’s fortune if their conditions are perceived as better than hours. We are to work as if for the Lord and integrity comes in working in the agreed upon conditions, no matter what anyone else is receiving.

Financial tip – be clear on payment terms before undertaking a job so that you know where you stand; don’t set yourself up to be dissatisfied if you learn someone else has better terms than what you agreed upon.

Don’t Hold on too Tight

Matthew 19: 16 – 22 – ‘Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good things must I do to get eternal life?” … Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.’

The issue here is not wealth and the accumulation of it – it is the unwillingness to let it go. Although this young man kept all the commandments, it seemed he knew something was missing.

He didn’t murder or commit adultery; he didn’t steal or give false testimony; he honoured his parents and loved his neighbour. Yet he asked, “What do I still lack?” (verse 20).

Although he sought an answer, he wasn’t happy with the one Jesus gave. He wasn’t willing to part with his earthly riches to gain an eternal reward. It isn’t a bad thing to work hard, be successful and gain wealth.

It is a bad thing to store up riches on earth and be so attached to them, that we don’t use them to do Kingdom minded things. Whenever you’re in a place of abundance, are you willing to give it away where God points out a need to you?

I’m a fan of the horse industry. One of my favourite racehorse trainers was Bart Cummings. The Cups King at one point in his racing career after winning millions of dollars, lost it all. Through hard work and perseverance, he built this up again. I have read that if a successful person loses all the finances they had achieved, give them a few years and they will build it up again.

God wants to bless us – if he knows that through us, He can use it to bless others. Don’t be afraid to give away that which He has blessed you with; He can do it all over again – and more! Don’t hold on too tight to that He’s given you; be willing to give it away if He directs you to.

Financial tip – learn to give! God will only give it to you, if He can get it through you!

Money and Integrity

Matthew 17: 24 – 27 – ‘After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own sons or from others?”
“From others,” Peter answered.
“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”’

You may not agree that your nation’s tax system is fair – that perhaps some people don’t have it collected from them in a means or percentage that they should. That shouldn’t stop you from doing the right thing legally and morally, however.

God has placed people in high positions over us – such as in Government – and although we may not always agree with their rules and regulations, it is up to us to lawfully obey. We need to be people who are recognised as exercising integrity – particularly with our money.

As a Christian, focus on being a good steward with what God has blessed you with – provide for your family’s needs, pay your bills when they’re due, pay taxes and save for your future. God will bless you for obedience.

Money tip: Making a note of business related expenses throughout the year and keeping receipts will help you when it comes to claiming at tax time; you may find the deductions greatly benefit your finances!

God First; then all Else

Matthew 6:24 – ‘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.’

This verse isn’t saying that money is bad; it is saying that our relationship with God should come first, above all else.

If we focus on serving God, I believe a couple of things will happen in relation to money. It may be that money no longer becomes a desire at all; God has given us more than we need and we are happy in the little or much that He has given us.

Or perhaps like Solomon who seeks wisdom to govern his people, God will bless us with immeasurably more money than we are able to utilise for ourselves – but never more than we can utilise for His kingdom! If relationship with God is our desire and our will is to do His work, then having and utilising money isn’t a bad thing.

If we get the revelation of God before everything else, it won’t make our life perfect, but it will make it easier to be good stewards of whatever he blesses us with – a spouse, children, a house, land, finances, and/or relationships. God first; then all else.

Giving Discreetly

Matthew 6: 1-2 – ‘Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.’

As much as giving is an honourable thing to want to do – and to do – it isn’t something we should be displaying to receive a pat on the back from family, friends or peers. It is something that should be a godly desire in us and through that, when it is carried out, we receive the satisfaction of knowing that we’re doing what God has called us to do.

I don’t believe it is wrong for a business or individual to sponsor events and have their product/service promoted on account of it – this doesn’t seem to me to have the attitude of screaming out to the public ‘I gave this sum of money and you should be telling me what a good job I did.’

Either way, any giving that we do – whether financial or via another means that God has prompted us to – should be done with a humble heart. We should be able to get excited about giving, but excited in knowing that we’re doing what our Heavenly Father has called us to – and that we are in a financial position to do so!

Financial tip – some forms of giving can be tax deductible, which can benefit your financial position at the end of the financial year and result in the ability to give out of any tax refunds you may receive.

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