Sunday, July 5, 2020

How Should We Deal With Money? #JesusFollowers

Money is not evil. The concept of money has existed in every human civilization throughout history. It is useful in Commerce between human beings who trade their skills and products for it.

We certainly cannot look to Jesus to condemn the concept of money. In fact, Jesus says that using money to earn a wage and pay taxes is not wrong.

In the Parable of the Talents, he says putting out money to work for us and even gaining interest isn't wrong, either.

When a group of men were given money, one buried it, two others invested it. Those who used their money for good were praised. The one who hid their money and did nothing with it was condemned for not using the gifts he was given. We, too, must use wisely the gifts we are given, including the money that comes into our (temporary) possession.

And when he is challenged about paying taxes, he does not hesitate to say that the government of his time (the Roman Empire, led by Caesar Augustus) should receive the tax dollars that were due to them.

However, when money becomes an object or an idol that we worship above other things, it becomes something that gets between us and God, and between ourselves and others around us.

Jesus puts money in perspective. He teaches that we must actively lay up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones that don’t last (Matthew 5:44–46.) The race for wealth doesn’t last, but our rewards in Heaven do, if we act in a Godly fashion.

The psalmist says, "if riches increase, set not your heart on them." (62:10) and Jesus warns that riches are not the core of our Being, that we "are more than the sum of our possessions." (Luke 12)

And when Jesus says we may ask ANYTHING of God in prayer, we must understand that a love of money and a love of material things should not enter into that prayer, because that is expressing a greed for material possessions, not a pure love and the balanced understanding of "things" that God wishes us to have.

To know that we are to seek from God only spiritual things that don't rot or fade away, is to know we ought ONLY ask in prayer out of a pure Love for others and for THEIR spiritual well-being (and for our own spiritual completeness) rather than for material riches that aren't helpful to the advancement of God's Kingdom. If money enters our prayers, we make God into nothing more than a Heavenly ATM machine.

Similarly, our life's worth cannot not measured by the things we acquire - not in our material wealth - but in the SPIRITUAL wealth we accrue in Heaven and our spiritual abundance that is nurtured and grown by abiding with God and God's chosen one, Jesus, who is our example in all things financial as well as spiritual.

Like the parable Jesus told in which the proud man had just built large barns for his rapidly expanding possessions, only to die the very next day, we are not to revel in our material wealth, which is fleeting.

The words, life, teachings and death of our Master, Jesus, challenge us to do, to act, to follow, to serve, to be better, to do more, to try harder, to be humble, yet Righteous, to serve God, not money, to lose ourselves and gain eternity. Let's be the example to others in the way in which we handle our money that Jesus is to us!

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