Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Christian's Attitude toward Money

Recently, I downloaded and began reading an e-book from Christ Church's Website. The E-Book is called Let the River Run by Dan Scott, who is now Pastor of Christ Church. In the book, he tells of a time of Revival that took place at Christ Church during the Early 1990's. The Manifestation of that Revival was not what one would usually associate with Revival, yet it was Powerful Nonetheless, because a group of people in the Church began to live their lives according to the Scriptural Mandate concerning EVERY aspect of their lives, including, but not limited to their Finances. As a result, many Ministries and Businesses were birthed in the Nashville Community that continue to be a blessing to countless people now 2+ Decades later!

Pastor Scott tells of the birthing point for this revival. It began at a Missions' Conference in 1990, and the speaker was Loren Cunningham, who was President of Youth With a Mission.  He began by saying that he felt led to speak on money and stewardship, and for the remainder of that evening, he spoke with passion about Secular Attitudes towards Economics and Money and how God, in the Bible, confronts these mindsets. 

Cunningham said, "The wealthy and the poor tend to define themselves by how they relate to money."  We naturally get defensive at this point, especially if we are poor and don't have a lot of money.  We bristle and say, "I don't have enough money to be defined by it!" Yet, the fact that we bristle reveals how much of a grip covetousness has on our hearts.  "The Wealthy," Cunningham said, "usually develop a sense of well being from having a lot of money." "The poor, on the other hand, may feel ashamed for not having obtained wealth." As a result, Cunningham asserts, the poor and wealthy do not feel comfortable associating with one another, and they develop Economic Systems and Philosophies to protect their dignity.  

The poor become cynical of the rich and feel morally superior because of their lack and even take it to the extreme of revolution, thinking they are entitled to the wealth of the rich.  The wealthy on the other hand, become cynical of the poor, feeling they are poor because they are lazy, which in some cases is true.  As Cunningham put it, "In a world without God, the rich and the poor are always dancing partners....the poor need the rich to fund the infrastructure that makes civilization possible....the rich need the poor to do their work and produce the products upon which their lives depend." Yet God in His Word confronts all these systems and philosophies. Secular Economic Theories be it Capitalism or Communism are limited to the Worldview in which they are created.

The New Testament neither maintains nor challenges the status quo.   It doesn't commend the wealthy and money per se, but at the same time it doesn't condemn them.  Christ probes deeper than the surface and gets at the heart.  Money, in and of itself, is amoral.  It is neither good nor evil.

 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Scripture says that the LOVE OF MONEY, NOT MONEY ITSELF, is the Root of All Evil.  Money is simply a tool in the hands of the individual that can be used either for good or bad.  To the wealthy, the Bible tells us that money shouldn't be used as an object to control others.  And to the poor he says not to covet what the wealthy have.  TO BOTH THE RICH AND THE POOR he says not to make money an idol! And he also tells us to make friends with money.  We need money to pay the bills, finance the Kingdom and provide for our families!  And God expects the Christian and the Church to be good Stewards of what He has given us!

Cunningham put it best when he said, "The Church must stop using the word 'stewardship' as a code word for fundraising! ...God does not call the church to control people's talents and wealth. He calls us to worship and make disciples. The church that tries to control people's wealth and talents usually lose both.  Churches should inspire their people to create and manage wealth in ways that will serve God and Humanity!"

In other words, God gives some the ability to create a lot of wealth to fulfill His calling upon their lives, whereas others, He calls them to a life of simplicity to share in the plight of the people you are trying to reach with the Gospel.  The missionary who is called to work with the tribal people of Africa and live among them will not need a mansion and great wealth because it will hinder the going forth of the Gospel among that people group.  However, the Missionary called to build a hospital for that same people group WILL NEED LOTS OF WEALTH!

The key is to make money your servant instead of serving your money! 

This brings to a second and equally important point! GOD INTENDS HIS PEOPLE TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THE FINANCES HE HAS BLESSED US WITH! He expects that we invest for a return that we might give more and be a blessing to others! The point of much of the book of Proverbs and MOST of Jesus' Parables is dealing with finances.  The Parable of the talents is dealing with money NOT your ability to sing or preach!


God has blessed the Natural Seed of Abraham to make money by abiding by His Economic Principles.  AND HE HAS BLESSED US AS THE SPIRITUAL SEED OF ABRAHAM to make money by abiding by His Economic Principles to be a blessing to the World in which He has placed us a Light in the Darkness!

In short, God's Principles are Simple:
  • Live Within Your Means and Shun Debt!  Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
  • Work Hard and discipline yourselves to save for the Future. Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
  • Honor God with the Tithe/Firstfruits of Your Income and Give to Others. Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
 God wants to bless us financially that we might be a blessing, yet when we listen to the voices of marketers and politicians that play on our greed and covetousness, we develop mindsets that are unbiblical and unhealthy in regards to wealth and money!  God's system is one in which rich and poor alike can come together and worship making an impact for the Kingdom.  He has called some to give up everything and become Missionaries and others to make lots of money to finance those missionary endeavors!  But we are to be ONE NEW MAN in Christ!

Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

At Christ Church, when the people were confronted with these truths and began to apply them God blessed them and expanded their influence to be a worldwide ministry blessing people all across America and Around the World! Some of those ministries that exploded were: Financial Peace (Dave Ramsey), The Christ Church Choir (Won numerous Awards gaining exposure to an international audience while sharing the Gospel Through Song), Bibles for Russia (Alfred McCrosky started taking Bibles into the former Soviet Union and planted 1,000 churches), and Mercy Ministries (Nancy Alcorn started a ministry to help at risk women) to name a few.  

The good news is this.  GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS OR CHURCHES! His Principles, when applied work Individually, Collectively and Universally! We must QUIT looking at money as the end and begin looking at it as a means to a Greater End, in which God's purpose for our Lives is Fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is Expanded! When we do, HE WILL BLESS you, your family, your business, your Church and Countless Others! LET'S DEVELOP A KINGDOM MENTALITY and begin to pray that God will enlarge our coasts and expand our influence for His Glory! When you do, as for Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4, HE WILL GIVE YOU ALL THAT YOU REQUEST OF HIM!  BE BLESSED!

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