Money Matters

January 5, 2013

Money Matters

            In Genesis 39:1-6 we read that Potiphar made Joseph overseer of all his house because he saw that he was prudent in money matters.  The result was that Potiphar’s house prospered.  In part, it was because of the blessing of the Lord, but in large part it was because Joseph knew how to manage money wisely.  We too need that wisdom.  In this article we want to show you what the Bible teaches about money matters.

Some thoughts about money

We need to recognize that everything we have belongs to God.  David in Psalm 24:1  “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Since that is true, what we call “ours” really belongs to God.  It came from him and he could take it away if he wants to.  In the Bible we read, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (I Chronicles 29:14).  Perhaps you can say, “But I worked for what I have.” That could be, but God said to his people in Deuteronomy 8:18 “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.” We too should remember to take that into account.

The Bible doesn’t say that it’s wrong to have money.  In the Bible we see a close relationship between money and wisdom.  “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:  And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Proverbs 24:3-4).  Wisdom also helps to guard us from being deceived by riches.  Matthew 13:22 speaks of the “deceitfulness of riches.”  To guard ourselves against the temptation to get money dishonestly we should keep in mind that Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

Ways of making money

There is no need of knowing how to use money unless we have some of it.  Therefore we need to consider ways of making money.  We need to understand the difference between making money and getting money.  Children receive money from their parents by asking for it.  They don’t make it.  In the same way welfare recipients receive money from the government.  It isn’t always wrong to get money, but as long as we have a sound mind and body we should consider it our social duty to earn our money.  The normal way of getting money is to work for it.  As soon as God made Adam he put him to work in the garden.  “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).  When Adam and Eve sinned God punished them by increasing their work load.  We read about that in Genesis 3:17-19.  “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;   In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”   God still expects us to work.  I Thessalonians 4:11 says “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

The writer of the book of Proverbs also lays on us the necessity of working to provide for our needs.  Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” Proverbs 28:19 also says, “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” He also warns us against the temptation to get riches by dubious means. “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him” (Proverbs 28:20,22).

Using money wisely

Now that you have some money, what do you do with it? Again we do well to see what God says about that.  In Matthew 25:14-32 Jesus gave a parable about a man who left others with the responsibility of investing his money.  Get your Bible and read what it says.  The amount of money given to each one is not as important as what they did with it.  By means of this parable he teaches us that if we are careful with the little we have we may be entrusted with more.  If we are careless with our money we are in danger of losing it.  In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus gave another parable.  Please read it and notice how many times “I” is used.  The sin of this man was greed.  He forgot that his riches belonged to God.  He needed to take heed to what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-20.  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”

There is wisdom in setting aside some of our money.   Some should be set aside for a rainy day and also for retirement.  We can, and should, also put treasure away in heaven.  In Luke 18:18-22 Jesus spoke of a rich ruler who sought his advice, but he didn’t take it.  If he would have, Jesus said he could have laid up treasure in heaven.  We can lay up treasure in heaven by investing our money in God’s work.  A good way to do that is by giving 10% of our earnings to our local church.  That way it can be used in reaching the lost and building them up as disciples of Christ.  One of heaven’s treasures will no doubt be that of meeting people who were reached with the gospel because we invested some of our money in God’s work.  We don’t always do that with money.  When we actively participate in efforts to reach the lost we are also laying up treasure in heaven.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy he mentioned another responsibility we have regarding our money.  In I Timothy 5:8 he said, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” He used strong words in speaking of one who fails to support his family.  Paul also said in I Timothy 5:3 that a widow’s children are responsible for her care.

In the use of our money we need to know what should have priority.  In Luke 12:42-44 Jesus spoke of a faithful and wise steward.  “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.”   Among the mistakes made by the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15 was that he “wasted his substance with riotous living.” We need to spend our money first of all for basic necessities.  It often takes prudence to know what those are.  Some people live on a higher level than they need to.  If we have money left over we can either save it, give more to the Lord’s work or others, or spend it on something that isn’t a necessity.

The right attitude towards money

In Philippians 4:19 we have the promise “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” If we are using our money wisely we need not worry about the provision of our needs.  We can trust God for the provision of our needs.  In Matthew 6:25-26 Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” Covetousness can also rob us of peace and contentment.  In Luke 12:15 Jesus said,  “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

We should never measure the worth of a man by the amount of wealth he has.  James 2:1-4 warns us about that.  “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.    For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;    And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:    Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”  David, in Psalm 62:10, said “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” Riches should not be allowed to be our god, neither should we be proud because we have more of them than some others.

We know not what the future holds.  We may find ourselves under the necessity of praying each morning “Give us this day our daily bread.” If so, we can trust in the promise of God that says, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).


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