Money, Grace and Giving

The following is an article I first posted on my church website

In the next few articles, I’m going to be speaking about three interrelated words: MoneyGrace and Giving. Now as soon as you read the words Money and Giving (and conveniently forget the middle word Grace), there are likely to be few reactions going off in people’s hearts:

  • Oh no, not another set of articles about money
  • Oh, I’m so glad Adam is writing about this subject, because so-and-so really needs to read this.
  • Oh, this isn’t an issue for me because I’m not wealthy

I want to suggest however that regardless of your initial response, all of us need to regularly return to these three interrelated words: Money, Grace and Giving. Why? Because Jesus spent so much time talking about them!

WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT MONEY?

The first thing to say is a lot! 16 of the 38 parables that Jesus told were directly related to money and possessions. 1 in every 10 verses in the New Testament relates to the subject of money, possessions and giving! If we were to take Jesus’ parable percentage and then apply it to our Sunday mornings, then 21 Sundays a year should have some specific focus on money and possessions (that’s quite a lot!)! Jesus spoke again and again about money because he wanted to show us the powerful relationship between the heart’s affections and the walletHe was very un-English in that he didn’t seem to mind addressing the issue of money and the hidden issues of greed and idolatry. At the same time Jesus also spoke in very practical ways about handling money.  In Luke 16 he makes an observation that often people who are not followers of him are sometimes wiser in how they invest their money than believers are (and he is showing this as a good thing). He also speaks about the importance of paying taxes and investing for the future. So please don’t caricature Jesus as “anti-money”. That is certainly not how Jesus was.

SO WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT MONEY, GRACE AND GIVING?

To help up navigate through this I would like us to look at just one passage where Jesus addresses the issues:

Matthew 6:19-33 

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[c]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

In the next article, we’ll look in a little more detail at these verses and dig out four important guiding principles.  So to whet your appetite, here’s my first big idea:

We will never have a healthy relationship with money until we have a healthy perspective on eternity.

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