My Spiritual Journey and My Money
Man is a spirit being. Of the first man the Bible says, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7) The Bible teaches us about the one true and living God and about His Son Jesus. (Ephesians 4:4-6) The spiritual journey of a Christians is a description of our walk with God. The upright life results in many blessings. Korah wrote in Psalm 84:11 "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." Our spiritual journey should be a time of learning to depend upon God as the only source of spiritual strength. He provides an anchor for our soul. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast..." (Hebrews 6:19)
Our spiritual journey must be that of living the Christian life. The word Christian is found three times in our New Testament. Those that followed Christ were called Christians because their thinking, speech and behavior were like Him. The world could see Christ living in those people. (Galatians 2:20) A true Christian is someone that has accepted the great invitation of Jesus. The invitation of our Lord Jesus has gone forth to all men. It has been heard through the ages and now comes to us. "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17) Please accept the invitation of our Lord, through hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), believing in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repenting of sins (2 Peter 3:9), Confessing Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37) and being baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) After baptism into Christ serve God faithfully and then when you die spend eternity in heaven! (Revelation 2:10)
A true Christian is a child of God, a part of God's one family, and one that has obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. One mark of a true Christian has to do with what we do with our money.
Christianity touches ever aspect of life. Many look at life thinking that a part of life is temporal or worldly and then another part of life is spiritual. However, our entire life must be a spiritual sacrifice to God. "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5) If I am a Christian then God is involved in every aspect of my life, including my money. It is easy to learn from Scripture that salvation cannot be purchased with money. (Mark 8:36-37) There was a payment made for our salvation, but the payment was not with silver and gold. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19) God is concerned about my money because money can be a source of temptation. (1 Timothy 6:7-19)
Christianity reveals to me that money is neither good nor bad. Money itself is morally neutral. It is simply something that we can exchange for goods or services. God is concerned about my money from the standpoint of how I obtained it and what I did with it once it was in my hand. God gave us the power to get wealth and we must get it only in ways that honor Him. "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth..." (Deuteronomy 8:18) Money can be used for good or it can be used for bad. Our attitudes toward money and the way we use it does reflect a great deal about our relationship with God. Money is not evil. Rather it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) We must remember that God owns everything. David wrote, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." (Psalm 24:1) God has placed a small portion of His wealth into our hands for us to manage and take care of for Him. Christians are stewards of God's wealth.
Christianity reveals to me the danger of wealth. Many good things can be accomplished with wealth. But, wealth is ever so dangerous. A large amount of money is spiritually dangerous. Jesus told the young, rich ruler "sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me." (Luke 18:22) Wealth makes it difficult to enter into God's kingdom. The rich, young man was sad at the command of Jesus. "And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:24-25) The sin that comes from wealth is our attitude toward money and the use we make of it. Instead of a desire for more money we should learn contentment. "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11)
Christianity reveals to me that God shares His wealth and so must we. Selfishness is the way of the world, and it stands in bold contrast to the way of Christ. Our financial generosity makes us like the Lord, Himself. God gave to us. (John 3:16) The way we lay up treasures in heaven is through generous giving to Him and to others. "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: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21) Our giving is the natural response to God's grace, mercy and love. Christ gave so much; therefore Christians should be generous givers. "I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
(2 Corinthians 8:8-9)
Christianity reveals to me truths about our public giving. Our giving is not to be motivated by personal praise. "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:1-4) It is Biblical to talk about giving to the church. If we do whole counsel preaching we will preach on giving. "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." (Acts 20:27) Should we give a tithe or ten percent? Most Christians should give far more than that. "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20) God's standard for generous giving is not a percentage; it is a command to imitate the pattern of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9) Observe with your heart what He gave and then decide what you will give.
Christianity reveals to me the fact that giving affects our eternal reward. Christians should choose to be generous in their giving. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) The words "In God we trust" are written on our money. Does our giving show that we believe that? The Bible says, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matthew 16:27) Judgment Day is coming and we would do well to remember the words of Ephesians 6:8. "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." What is your attitude toward money and toward God? Those two questions go together!
Will you appreciate the gift that Jesus gave enough that you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After your baptism will you follow Jesus faithfully so that He can lead you home to heaven? (Revelation 2:10)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551 Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA