At New Life Covenant we are in the small group series: Balanced – Gaining and Maintaining Financial Stability by Andy Stanley. It is re-shaping our ideas about money, stewardship and our responsibilities as managers of what is God’s. We learned that to be financially balanced: we must keep our eyes focused on the target, be adaptable and ready to make constant corrections, and have a clear objective – which with money is to honor God with what He has entrusted to us.
Jesus’ teachings correlate the way we interact with money with worship. The rich young ruler was challenged to give ‘his’ possessions to the poor to gain treasure in heaven and inherit eternal life. He went away sorrowful because he was unwilling to do so (Matthew 19). In Luke 12, a man asked Jesus to command his brother to divide his inheritance with him. Jesus told him about a greedy fool who in pride boasted about storing ‘his’ goods in barns and bigger barns for himself, but died the very same day without ever being rich toward God.
In Matthew 6, Jesus admonishes the disciples not to worry about provision, but to trust the Father’s care. There are two masters we can serve: either God or money, but not both. You will love one and despise the other. I never thought love of, or anxiety about a car, clothing, house, investments, vacation, entertainment, etc. means I am automatically despising God? Our hearts reside in the place we really treasure.
Growing up I wasn’t taught that the way I handled money was a reflection of my relationship with God. I heard the parable of the talents often, but the Return on Investment was preached as using gifts and abilities, or saving souls – not the actual context of a master handing his servants a sum of money and expecting a profit. (Matthew 25) The servant who wasted his Lord’s money was deemed “wicked and unprofitable.” If stewarding God’s money on earth is our training ground for heaven’s treasures…how are we doing? I could do better…