Bless You, Pay Me! Times Jesus Talked About Money
I’ve heard we should be humble. I’ve heard tithing isn’t biblical. I’ve even heard being broke is a sin. But, what did Jesus actually say about money?
As believers there can be a strong push and pull that develops between separating the financial from the spiritual but the more investigating I do as twenty something looking to set my financial and spiritual future as I become a one day head of household the more I see they should be one in the same.
Finances should be stewarded just as our spiritual gifts are. The top financial books of the last decade such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and Money: Master the Game; cite the practice of tithing (or ‘giving back’) as a vital or essential component to wealth. The book listed by almost every wealthy person on the Forbes top 100 list as their most influential book: Think & Grow Rich By: Napoleon Hill cited The Bible for key elements of growth. Even Napoleon Hill himself speaks of his faith as an essential part of his success. With that being said, our finances and spirituality are one.
Now, let me elaborate. There are many levels to this concept, the first being a phrase that is quoted so often and misrepresented equally. It comes from Matthew 19: 29. To most it looks something like this:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
However, in context Jesus is speaking to the rich man and trying to convey something totally different. He is trying to convey hope. What Jesus is trying to say to him in my own words is, ‘If you would just realize that all this stuff doesn’t even belong to you in the first place! Even though you may have worked super hard for it! This doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things! What matters to me is your heart. Can you give up your money and give me your heart?’
The rich man, decides to be discouraged by this challenge. Refusing to give up his earthly possessions, he leaves. The verses in context look like this:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
My favorite part is that immediately after he leaves, a filthy, wicked RICH tax collector begins talking with Jesus. The man pays off double what he owed everyone and gives away the rest of his money(therefore accepting that challenge) and Jesus accepts him into heaven. It’s not about the money, it’s about the heart. What Jesus is alluding to is that money can be a great distraction.
Parable of the Talents
Then Jesus talks about the Parable of the Talents. In which a master trusts different servants to handle some money for him for some time. I believe the final servant shows the lower-middle class mentality of save to buy. Always looking to save money, always looking for an extra penny. Jesus uses vivid and harsh illustrations to target this concept as we are meant to live above this (I will touch on this later). But just so you can read it:
“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
Invested is the key word here. God wants us to be investors. To be stewards and be multipliers. saving our money requires no risk or trust, which means no faith. When we put no faith in God for our finances He cannot work! This is by far one of the most paralyzing things in my immediate circle. A mentality of a mediocre nation, never looking to be the supplier but always looking to consume. I cannot get over how strictly Jesus reprimands this through his parable. Invest HIS money, because it’s not ours. He gave it to us.
Parable of the Shrewd Manager
Finally, My favorite. All of these will make sense after this. Luke 16 tells the parable of the shrewd manager in which a servant gets fired and cuts a deal with his managers clients so he will have a place to sleep once he gets booted out of his job. I highly recommend reading it yourself as I will not quote the whole thing here but I will quote this:
“The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.“
This is where I wanted to go with this entire article. Our job as believers is to cultivate our finances not for personal gain but for the gain of the kingdom. We live in a financial world and are therefore in need of money to do certain things. Of course we have a supernatural God who can do above and beyond anything we can dream however, it is our job to use the supernatural blessings he has given us with responsibility and thanksgiving in order to invest into an eternal and heavenly gain. So we can start by learning practical things from the countless books on finances there are, the people who have done it already, or the infinite internet!
This does not mean we should be money hungry or create an idol in our lives, but it means we should work hard at having healthy financial lives, used for the glory of God because anything short of a healthy financial life is unhealthy and is not glorifying him. Now, isn’t that something to chew on?
If you dig the words get at me here on Facebook & show some support.