We face all kinds of tests. Life is full of tests. Nothing reveals our character like the “Money Test”. Jesus said that “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) He spoke more times about money than he spoke about any other subject. Obviously, He was not talking about money in order to gather wealth to Himself.
His lifestyle of not keeping things for Himself is evident. He did not accumulate possessions for any earthly purpose. So why did Jesus teach so much about money? He knew that how we handle matters of finance is the clearest indicator of our love for God and people. Sure, money is an indicator to others about us. But, more importantly, how we navigate the world of money is the clearest revealer of my heart to me and of your heart to you.
In the Bible, James explains further what the right understanding of “money” looks like:
9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Here are some points to consider:
1. Poverty is a test.
Most of us think that we are in the “poor” group mentioned in verse 9.
Check www.globalrichlist.com and see how “poor” you are.
If your annual income is:
$40,000, you are the 190,434,783 richest person in the world! And you are in the
TOP 3.17% richest people in the world!
$47,500, you are the 60,000,000 richest person in the world! And you are in the
TOP 1% richest people in the world!
$100,000, you are the 39,615,049 richest person in the world! And you are in the
TOP 0.66% richest people in the world!
So you thought that you were poor? Viewing the world from a global perspective instead of from a “me” perspective is eye opening.
*This is not a “guilt” trip. This is a “rejoicing” trip-a call to thank God for His blessings. We can evaluate our lives and then give God thanks, praise and glory for all that He has given us.
Because we matter to God, possessions matter less.
The placement that matters is not our Standard and Poor’s ranking. As believers in Christ, we are positioned in a place of high honor. The Apostle Paul recognized this:
“6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
2. Riches are a test.
5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.
James lists the wrong uses of riches: Hoarding, cheating and self-indulgence
The Bible lists some God-honoring uses of riches:
1. Caring for your family
1 Tim 5:8
8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
2. Giving to others in need
41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
3. Buying and selling at a profit-see Proverbs 31:10-31-Making a profit is listed one of the many virtues of the “noble” woman.
4. Giving to the church in order to tell the world about Jesus and to disciple
2 Cor 8:19
19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help.
There are blessings for those who handle money in a godly manner. God rewards those who are happy though poor or humble though they are rich:
1. God gives inner peace and contentment.
Paul said in Philippians 4:10-13
“10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
I wonder if Paul saw his generation “filling their calendars” with activities that stole people’s time instead of giving life to themselves and others around them. And, I wonder if he saw the people of his generation spending their money on material things that rust and fade away; in the vain hope that these things that they bought would some how give them life.
Paul understood that real joy comes when we invest our lives (time and money) in that which lasts forever.
2. One day, God will give the Crown of Life.
“The life so worn out in his service, or laid down in his cause, shall be rewarded with another and a much better life that shall be eternal.”<
<(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)
Another blessing, the most important blessing, the blessing that is least pursued, the eternal blessing is the blessing that we should seek. We should “invest” the resources that God has entrusted to us so that we too can receive the words in Matthew 25:21,
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”