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Loving God With Our Money

by Justin Smucker on August 16, 2022

 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 money (mammon).

Matthew 6:24

 

We cannot serve God and money. We are called to love God with our money; and with all of our resources, for they express what’s in our hearts.

The Greek word “mamonas” can be translated as the personification of money or possessions: Mammon is its name! We will either love Mammon, and our devotion to God will take a back seat to it, or we will be devoted to God, and Mammon will have to serve Him.

We cannot serve God and money. Jesus makes it clear that we connect to the Father by serving Him with everything we have. “There can’t be any other gods before me.” “Love God with ALL your heart, mind, and strength.” “I am the way, truth, and life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

The Rich Ruler’s Attachment

The tension between serving God and living for material things caused the rich young ruler (Matthew 19) to walk away from Jesus. He chose money and possessions over Jesus. He chose not to part with his wealth when Jesus asked him to. We don’t know if he ever changed his mind. What is clear from his behavior is that his heart was attached to money and that prevented him from serving God.

I find it easy to empathize with the young man in Matthew 19. He was doing everything the law required, he was doing all the right things according to human standards, yet his heart was not able to surrender to Jesus and follow him. He was successful, influential, upright, a good citizen, someone who cared about God. I can see how shocking Jesus’ answer was for this man, “Go sell what you have, give to the poor, and come and follow me.” How would you have responded to this radical call of Jesus?

 A Good Master

When we choose to serve Christ as our master, surrendering our will to his, we are serving someone who is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. His desire is for us and not against us. Christ is a master like no other. His leadership is perfect. God’s plan and provision for our lives is more than enough, and He is always ready to help us.

You can find evidence of God’s provision in just about every chapter of the Bible. A general theme that I have noticed is that God’s provisions always bring blessing. People who receive God’s provision, and those who are used to give God’s provision, are involved in God’s cycle-of-blessing on the earth. Money is one of the ways God provides for and blesses his people.  For example, Moses exhorted Israel, before going into to the Promise Land, to remember that God gave them the ability to make and have wealth (Dueteronomy 8:17-18).

Yet, ever since the Garden of Eden man has been pre-wired to choose money as our master instead of God. We’ve been born with this desire to know things for ourselves, sustain ourselves, provide for ourselves, choose for ourselves, decide what’s best for ourselves. However, to become truly alive, and to inherit eternal life, and to experience the blessings of God, we need to choose a new birth into God’s Spirit-life. And that new birth leads to a re-wiring of old habits. We need Jesus to be our leader, our Lord, our sustainer, our giver of knowledge, our judge, our deliverer, our strength. This new Spirit-life is unavailable to us if we serve Mammon instead of God. But when we choose to serve God instead of Mammon then his blessings and provisions flow through us again.

See how God set the example for us! “For God so loved the world that he GAVE,” (John 3:16). God loved the world by GIVING! Giving money and resources are two of the most frequent, impactful, and consistent ways we can love God back. The way we use our resources reflects the true desires and longings of our hearts. Our hearts will be where our treasure is; our hearts will be where we spend and use our resources. Jesus knew how critical this choice was to our eternal destiny. For the remainder of this writing, let’s turn look at some practical ways we can choose to love God with our resources.

Practical Ways to Love God With Our Resources

 1. Talking to God about our money and resources.

We are dependent on God whether we acknowledge him or not. John 1:3 says, “Without him nothing is made that has been made.” He gives us the ability to make wealth and to have resources. For me, one of the most effective and practical ways to worship God with my resources is to talk to Him about them. It may sound too simple, but I believe God truly enjoys this dialogue. These conversations can take many forms: thanksgiving, questioning and asking for input, strategizing, dreaming, petitioning, surrendering, and giving. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are a few ways that we can begin talking with God daily about our resources. As we engage with God, He is able to speak to us, direct us, and help us steward what He has given to us.

 2. Asking God to bless other people.

Another way to serve God is to ask him to bless the people we exchange resources with. It’s as simple as: praying a blessing over the business I’m receiving something from, or the person I am paying; or blessing my employer as I deposit my paycheck. This helps me stay engaged with God in everything that comes and goes out of my bank account. It also helps my heart stay soft to how God wants me to use the resources He has given me. God’s provision is always a blessing. Simply learning to bless God and people every time we use resources aligns our hearts with God’s kingdom.

 3. Asking God to change my heart.

The Bible is very clear that what God really cares about is not how much we give, but the heart by which we give. God does not need our money. God wants us! All of us! And that includes all our resources. God loves us with all of himself (heart, mind, strength) and he asks us to love him in the same way. We can love and worship God when we physically give of our resources.

4. Giving God a tithe (tenth or 10%), of all that I receive.

The tithe was established with Abraham and the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. In the church, this is a starting point for our giving to God. Many believers give their tithe to the local church that they are a part of. This is viewed as supporting the needs of the ‘house of the Lord’ and is a two-thousand-year-old practice among Christian believers.

5. Giving ‘offerings’ to God beyond 10%.

Offerings can come in many different forms. Here are a few examples: money, food, time, clothing, shares of stock or other investment items, real estate, transportation items, and the list could go on. As we daily talk with God about money and resources we will find him stirring us to give generously in many ways. He is a generous God who loves to give. As we receive of His goodness, we find ourselves desiring to be generous with the resources we have been given

6. Giving God an offering of ‘first fruits’.

When we give something to God that is the first and best part, we give our first fruits. This type of giving is found in the Old Testament when people set aside for the Lord the first male offspring from animals, and the first portion of any crops harvested. It is the practice of worshipping God by giving the first and the best back to him. Some examples of this are: taking the best part of an inheritance gift and giving it to someone in need; giving the best part of your time or another type of resource or possession. Loving God with our first and best is a powerful act of worship.

7. Worshipping God through ‘sacrificial giving’.

This may be one of the hardest types of giving, but I believe it also bears good fruit in our relationship with God. Sacrificial giving occurs when we give something we need or desire. This often starts with the Holy Spirit prompting us about an area in our life, and then we respond by giving to him out of our need. Here are a few examples of this type of giving: as you look to buy a house you first give money to build someone else’s house. You have a really nice collection of sports cards and you sell some and then turn around and give the money to someone in need. You need a new computer and you first give money towards a new computer for a local organization or person in need of one. The concept here is to take our desire or need to Jesus and surrender it to him. Then we act in faith by first giving this provision to someone else before receiving this provision for ourselves. This act, in and of itself, does not make us more holy or sanctified, but it does keep our hearts close to Jesus as we practice surrendering our desires to Him.

Summary:

When we worship God with our giving we build up treasure in heaven and grow our commitment to Jesus as master. Our hearts are incapable of serving God and money. But as we joyfully give—worshiping God with the resources He has given us—the desires and longings of our heart will be turned towards God and His kingdom. We can lead our hearts to love God and His people. Where our treasure is there our heart will be found. We can only serve one master, so let’s serve the generous master who loved us first!

Tags: generosity, giving, tithe, god's kingdom, money; finances; priorities; worship, resources, heart, first fruits

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