Posts Tagged ‘Deuteronomy 8:16-19’

How to Manage Money: Why A Biblical Mindset Matters

Guest blogger: Richard L. Blake

For the introduction on this series, see the 3/11/2016 post “How to Manage Money”

Maintaining a biblical mindset about God’s provisions matters for at least two reasons. First, it matters because of our relationship. We have been made in God’s likeness, fashioned for fellowship with him. He has redeemed us by the blood of his Son, showered us with blessings, and loves us with an everlasting love. Our response to this must be one of gratitude, and one way our gratitude is evident is in the way we manage the gifts he has given.

Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s expectations in response to his goodness:

800px-Foster_Bible_Pictures_0065-1_The_Israelites_Gather_Manna_in_the_WildernessH.M. Snyder, illustrator for the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster

“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth . . . And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:16-18a, 19).

In other words, God is paying attention to our response to his goodness in providing so abundantly for us. When we ungratefully receive and improperly use his provisions we wound his heart and injure our fellowship with him. Guard your relationship with the Provider, not the provision.

Another reason for maintaining this biblical mindset is because of our rewards. Scriptures teach us to view money and all materials things through the lens of eternity. Heavenly rewards await those who faithfully manage the provisions God entrusts to us on earth.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of money and rewards this way:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

800px-Rusted_car,_Strezlecki_Track

Jesus is asking us to see material things with an eternal perspective. This view sees all earthly treasures as not only a provision God makes for our own temporal needs, but also as a means to serve God and help others. In the process, we store up eternal treasures in heaven. To be sure, Christ’s words about storing up treasures in heaven can be broadly applied to how we spend our time and use our abilities. The Scriptures are clear that there are rewards for those things, as well. However, the central emphasis of this text is about giving and unselfishly using money and possessions.

We store up treasures on Earth by accumulating and preserving them. We store up treasures in heaven by holding loosely, sharing generously, and giving away earthly treasures for God’s Kingdom purposes. This is very practical investment counsel; invest in what has lasting value. Money is only of temporary value—unless, that is, it’s used and spent and shared and given with a view toward heavenly treasure. Moths destroy fabric, rust corrodes metals, and thieves can steal almost anything. No earthly treasure is safe. Yet even if they escape moths and rust and thieves, they cannot escape the coming fire of God that will consume the material world (2 Peter 3:7). Therefore, Jesus is not condemning wealth as morally wrong, but rather, he’s telling us it’s a bad investment.

Ultimately, we will die and everything we managed to hold onto in this world will be left behind. Whatever treasures we store up in heaven will be waiting when we arrive. Jesus is not telling us to avoid storing up treasures; in fact, he specifically tells us to do so. He’s just telling us to stop storing them in the wrong place—on Earth where they won’t last—and start storing them in the right place—Heaven, where they’ll last forever. Missionary Jim Elliot had this insight when he wrote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”