Whether you are talking about interest rates, wages, stocks, bonds, forex, mortgages or taxes this is the most popular topic on Any Street, USA. I am talking, of course, about money. Money, money, money. People talk about money as if it was the answer to everything.
"A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything." King Solomon; Ecclesiates 10:19 KJ
The first time I read this verse in the Bible I thought it was a misprint. Money? The answer to everything? Do you think it is? Wait, don't answer until you read the whole article. You might be surprised.
Once upon a time in a far way land there was a wise king who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes and he actually did say that money answers everything. David's son was not just the wisest of kings, he was also the wealthiest. When Solomon quoted gold and silver prices people inclined their ears.
In Solomon's statement the Hebrew word for 'answers' is 'anah' which means 'respond to'. When applied to this verse the only way money can respond to things is when an exchange is made. The more obvious interpretation would be 'money is an exchange for everything'. Every time we buy something we exchange some of our money in response to a product.
Okay, I agree, money does seem to answer, or respond to all things - in the physical realm. What about the spiritual realm? Could God be showing us something in the spiritual realm with higher meaning. A parallel truth perhaps? Hmmm.
Consider this. Have you noticed when you pray that God 'responds to' your prayers with His 'answers'? Get this - this is the good part. Sometimes money is involved. That's right. It's not a typo either...keep reading.
In Acts 10 a very unusual event takes place. It illustrates the spiritual concept of exchange and what can happen when your legal tender gets involved.
A Roman centurion named Cornelius is described as a devout man, one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously and always prayed to God. An angel of the Lord appears at his door and says, "Your prayers and your alms have come up as a memorial before God".
The angel goes on to say that an apostle by the name of Peter is going to be paying him a visit. This Peter has something very, very important to tell him.
Now, you will remember from your history that Israel had been led away into captivity by the Romans who were now the 'oppressors of Israel'. However, God had chosen Cornelius, a Roman centurion to receive the first Good News message.
It gets better. Not only did Cornelius receive the Good News and accept Christ as Savior, he and his entire family received salvation that day as well. (v.14).
Can you see the epiphany on the wall in Cornelius' villa?
"The aroma of your sacrifice was pleasing to me because of your sacrifice. When you gave alms for the poor, prayed to me like I was a vital necessity in your life, and fasted to prove it I was very pleased. I punched a portal through the heavens to the earth. You and your family are now positioned under an open heaven. I established a memorial altar in your name that will be for all generations and nations to come. You now have my attention. I will respond favorably to your requests. Ask of me what you want me to do and I will do it."
This should be front page news! Where's the media when The 'Good News' happens? Everything up to this point had been all about Abraham's seed, the Jews. But now, God turns the tide towards the Gentiles so they can be grafted heirs to the same promises as the Jews.
What do you think would have happened if Cornelius had not been giving sacrificially, praying and fasting? Do you think there is even a remote chance this story would have made it into the Bible? Most likely it would have been a 'non event'. Cornelius and his household would have undoubtedly missed their divine appointment.
The way we handle money is a spiritual matter. This theme is repeated time and again in the Bible. Financial matters and spirituality are inseparable (*see references below). When we use our money, time, resources & worship the way God designates: sacrificially - we touch heaven and He is faithful to answer.
Two thousand years ago Jesus responded to the problem of sin in a fallen world. He answered the problem by making a great exchange. His life for ours - an exchange we should not refuse. How's that for an answer? Now what's your answer?