I will admit… sometimes I worry about money. Yes, I know that the Bible tells me not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34), but it can be hard not to when the monthly bills arrive.
And yet, my husband and I have never gone hungry, even come close to it. We’ve never been homeless. When we welcome our daughter into the world in a few months, we can ensure that her needs will be cared for. The Lord has always provided for us, even when jobs weren’t steady or when unexpected expenses arose.
I don’t know your financial situation. Maybe you have experienced homelessness and hunger. Perhaps you come from family money, and you’ve never had to worry if the funds will be available to pay your bills. Or maybe you can relate to me; you’re somewhere in the middle and money is frequently on your mind… Did I schedule that electric bill? Is there enough in the bank account to cover the automatic withdrawal of the mortgage? What budget should we set on Christmas gifts this year?
Money is tricky. We need at least some to live our daily lives, and having money means being able to give it to charitable causes (using it to the glory of God) but we have to be careful. The Bible warns us about the dangers of money multiple times.
So what’s the deal? Should we strive to have money or not? This is the question that Dorsey Swindall digs into in her article Is it Wrong to be Wealthy? for the Gospel Taboo.
Swindall first cautions us about loving luxuries of the world more than we love God. She quotes the words of Jesus:
“Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24).
Swindall explains, “Jesus isn’t saying that wealthy people can’t be saved. He explicitly assures that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). He’s saying that saving faith is difficult to come to when one is given many material goods and comforts. The more worldly powers and luxuries a person has, the closer the danger of loving the world—of preferring one’s own ‘kingdom’ to the kingdom of God; of thinking maybe one doesn't need God at all."
Having wealth runs the risk of loving the luxuries it can provide. Money can buy elaborate homes, fancy cars, extravagant vacations… the list goes on and on. But loving these things is what the Bible is talking about in 1 Timothy 6:10:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…”
We would be wise to remember that the comforts of the world are nothing compared to the Kingdom of God.
So can wealth do us any good? Absolutely.
Swindall writes, “Wealth, provision, pleasures and abundance are part of God’s nature (Psalm 81:10, 1 Chronicles 29:16). If we steward these things by faith in God, we can be part of his good purposes for them in our world: to show his character.”
Money can be used to the glory of the Lord. But we must be good stewards of our wealth for this to happen.
Swindall suggests asking yourself two important questions about your attitude toward money.
- Is God more important than your wealth?
- Are people more important than your wealth?
Asking yourself these questions (and making sure the answer is yes!) as you think through your budget will help to ensure that you aren’t caught up in the luxuries of the world, and instead focused on the eternal.
Swindall writes, “We can faithfully, generously steward our wealth (or lack thereof) because God has promised a new creation for those in Christ where there will be material abundance like we can’t currently imagine (Revelation 21).”
The bottom line is this: It’s not a sin to have money. But remember it’s not really yours.
Crosswalk.com writer Dawn Wilson says, “To develop a healthy, biblical relationship with money, we must build on this truth: God owns us and everything we have, and it is only as we wisely steward His resources we discover not only a thriving relationship with Him, but with money and possessions as well.”
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap. Carrie and her husband Dustin are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first baby, a daughter, in October 2017.