Yes, there comes a time when we have to talk about it. If we were lucky, our parents talked about money when we were children. If we are happily married, we have learned to talk about it with our partner. If we want our children to be happy when we pass along into God’s eternal presence we will have thought about it and talked about it and planned it and put it specifically into our will so they will not fight over it. Money.
From a Christian perspective developed from the pages of the Bible there is one problem that continues to surface around the issue of money: Whose money is it? For most of us we believe (whether we verbalize it this way or not) that whatever resources we have belong to me. In terms of finances we say: “It is my money.” After all…
I worked hard to earn it;
I did my best to save it;
I was thoughtful in how I invested it;
Now it is my time to enjoy it;
From a human standpoint we applaud people who approach life and finances this way. In the three communities in which I have lived as the pastor of a church I have been blessed by people who have had the foresight to plan for their retirement and have had the bounty to share in God’s work through the local church. I thank God for those who are willing and able to give….. money.
However, the generosity of what people give does not answer the posed question: Whose money is it? Dr. Towns of Thomas Road Baptist Church tells this story to help us think about this question.
“Who Owns Your French Fries”. It is the story of a man who buys his little boy some french fries. Then the father does what all fathers do, he reaches over and takes one french fry to taste it. The little boy slaps his father’s hand and says, “Don’t touch my french fries.” The father thinks that his son is selfish. The father knows that he bought the french fries and they belong to him. The father knows that his son belongs to him. The father could get angry and never buy his son another french fry again to teach his son a lesson, or the father could “bury” his son in french fries. The father thinks, “Why is my son selfish, I have given him a whole package of french fries; I just want one french fry.” God has given us money, when He asks for a tithe, people figuratively slap His hand and say, “Keep Your hands off my money.” God owns everything we have. He wants us: 1. To manage what we have for His glory. God expects us to manage our time, talent, temple, testimony and treasures. 2. To give back a portion of what he has given us.
The Biblical understanding of money is it is quite simple: It is God’s money. In fact everything we have is God’s. Psalm 24:1 says:
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
Now, I know there are those who think this whole idea that all my resources belong to God and I am only here to manage them is a ploy from the church to get more of what I’ve got. There is the story of two men marooned on an island.
One man paced back and forth worried and scared while the other man sat back and was sunning himself. The first man said to the second man, “aren’t you afraid we are about to die.” “No,” said the second man, “I make $100,000 a week and tithe faithfully to my church every week. My Pastor will find me.”
All that I have belongs to the Lord. And what does the Lord expect me to do with those resources? Here is the great news. God wants me to use 90% of all that has been given to me to support my family and live a life that is honoring to God and a blessing in this world. The other 10%? God wants me to invest that amount in those ministries that are advancing the work of God’s Kingdom.
Money: God’s resource for my life and the advancement of God’s work.