RE: IS OUR HEART WITH GOD IN OUR FINANCES, AS WELL?
God is good all the time. Everything He tells us to do is for our own good. The trouble with us is that we have been so conditioned by our own wisdom and/or the ways of this world that we oftentimes forget what is God’s way and will.
James 1:23 – 25 (NKJV) reminds us, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in the mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
Where our finances are concerned, let’s see what our Lord Jesus is telling us from Matthew 6:19 – 34:-
1. DO NOT LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES ON EARTH
God is very concerned with whether we devote our hearts to Him rather than money/wealth. In Matthew 6:19 – 21 (NKJV) Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The riches that we own in this world are fleeting, and are only of value for our temporary sojourning on this earth. “Weary not yourself to be rich; cease from your own [human] wisdom. Will you set your eyes upon wealth, when [suddenly] it is gone? For riches certainly make themselves wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens (Proverbs 23:4-5 Amp.).”
In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus warns us against the danger of storing up treasures on earth for our own selfish benefit without being mindful of God’s way and will. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:20-21 NKJV).”
In the case of the Rich Young Ruler (not a parable but an actual event), he came to Jesus and asked ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ “So He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’.
The young man said to Him, “All these I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Matthew 19:17-22 NKJV).” Jesus knew beforehand all the commandments which the young man had kept, for which he affirmed. Out of the two great commandments highlighted by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40, the young man left out ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
The young man went away sorrowful even though he was rich as he chose to hold onto riches for his own dear life (selfishly) -- the riches which all belong to God, after all. “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1 NKJV).” The riches were so very dear to the young man that Jesus had to ask him to give them all away to save his soul. “… “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it (Luke 9:23 NKJV).”
Had the young man obeyed Jesus, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will remain penniless. The following discourse took place soon after the young man went away: “Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time -- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions -- and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:28-30 NKJV).”
When we have a heart for God to do what he tells us to do, both the riches that we give away and the riches that we receive from Him will be a blessing. “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22 NKJV).” The bottom-line is that whenever we obey God He will bless us, including with riches, because He knows that we can handle them. “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches (Luke 16:10-12 NKJV).” We are but the steward of God, who owns all riches.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV).”
We can lay up treasures in heaven while on earth by applying our finances towards God’s purpose.
2. DO NOT HAVE A BAD EYE
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good (clear, or healthy), your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore, the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22, 23 NKJV)”
God loves a cheerful giver, and we will reap what we sow. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency is all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NKJV).” The body of such a giver will be full of light as he has a clear and healthy view of using his finances for God’s purpose.
On the other hand, Proverbs 23:6 NKJV tells us: “Do not eat the bread of a miser (one who has an evil eye), Nor desire his delicacies.” God is generous. So should we be likewise. “…I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ (Matthew 20:14-15 NKJV).”
"Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV)." “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed …., an evil eye,…(Mark 7:21-22 NKJV).” “Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, … and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin amongst you (Deuteronomy 15:9 NKJV).”
“A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him. (Proverbs 28:22 NKJV).” On the other hand, “He who has a bountiful (good) eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor (Proverbs 22:9 NKJV).”
We can have a good eye by applying our finances cheerfully and generously towards God’s purpose, including fulfilling His heartfelt desire for us to help the poor and the less fortunate.
3. CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24 NKJV).”
We need to resolve once and for all, if not already done so, whether we want to serve God (who owns all riches) or serve riches as god. By means of the rich-young-ruler test, we can easily deduce wherein is our heart’s devotion. Will we give when God says to give? For sure, God will not call every one to give away all that he has. He speaks to us individually. (E.g. Jesus told Peter to ‘Feed My lambs’.) Nevertheless, there are spiritual principles as contained in the Holy Bible, some of which have been referred earlier, which apply to all believers.
When our heart is with God in our finances, as well, we will not lay up treasures for ourselves on earth nor have a bad eye. Neither would we see mammon as an end in itself, but as a means towards fulfilling God’s purpose. We choose to be servants of Jesus Christ rather than be enslaved by mammon. Money, in itself, is not evil. It can do a whole lot of good; it takes on the character of its owner. It’s the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
4. PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD, WHO IS TRUSTWORTHY
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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? (Matthew 6:25 NKJV).”
God says, “Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41 NKJV)” God hears the cry of a raven’s offspring! How much more will He listen to His children’s cry!
“These (living things, both great and small) all wait for You, That You may give them their food in due season (Psalm 104:27 NKJV).” “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:15-16 NKJV).” God is the Provider and Lord of all.
God can be trusted. “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NKJV)”
We need not worry about tomorrow. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV).”
Let’s draw near to God and He will draw near to us. Let’s align ourselves to God’s word and He will align our lives to be a channel of His blessing. As Jesus has said in Matthew 6:33, Seek First His Kingdom’s purpose and the Righteousness of God, “which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe (Romans 3:22 NKJV).”
Put our faith in God through Jesus Christ, do what He tells us to do, and all will be well with us. We’ll be blessed! (See Matthew 5:3-12)
Yours in Christ,