Continuing on with the Kingdom Advisors training that I referenced to before, I want to share with you what Ron Blue defines as a biblical understanding of money. It is essentially three things: a tool, a test, and a testimony.
Money is a tool. All of money is God’s money. Not just the 10% or whatever amount we decide to “give back” to Him. And knowing that He owns it all, we can realize that He wants us to use the money to accomplish certain goals and purpose. This can be as common as providing food for your family, or as uncommon as paying for the adoption of a child for another family. It’s a beautiful thing to think about: God could have just kept all His money in His own bank account, and given money out as He sees needed, but instead gives the money into our bank accounts, and directs the money from there. He uses us to do His work. Stewardship defined.
Money as a test. The parable of talents in Matthew 25.12-30 shows that how we handle money has truly eternal consequences. Luke 16.11 talks about us being entrusted with greater riches if we we are faithful with the unrighteous riches we’re given in this life. I believe that God uses increases and decreases in our net worth, liquidity, investments, etc. to see how closely we’re walking with Him. If we receive a raise at work, do we give Him the honor, or congratulate ourselves? Conversely, if we lose our job or our home, do we blame Him or ourselves? What is the spiritual impact that our financial circumstances have on us?
Money as a testimony. Matthew 5.13-16 records Jesus talking about His followers being salt and light of the world. We are to stand apart from the world, and money, perhaps, is the largest stage that this difference can be played out. How we make spending decisions, how much money we give, how generous we are with others, how money defines (or doesn’t) define our level of success … all of these are examples of how we can be different from what the world around us expects us to be. There is a saying that our bank statements are a fantastic way of gauging our spiritual well being, and I’d agree. One of our attorneys who we work with begins the wills that he drafts for believing clients with a declaration to the Lord, saying that everything the client owns (and is now giving away) belongs first to the Lord, and that the Lord is responsible for all of the wealth or lack of wealth. What a fantastic way to use money as a testimony.
Conversely, money is not a number of things. Money is not a measure of self-worth. It’s also not a reward for godly living (Hebrews 11 mentions nothing of money, and a lot of those saints died quite broke). Money is also not a guarantee for contentment. And perhaps most importantly, money is not a measure of success.
As a believer in general, these principles are powerful. But even more so as a financial planner, these principles help me direct clients to a better, more eternal, more biblical understanding of what money is. A tool. A test. A testimony. We’d do well to remember this with each financial decision we make. Till next time, Jack.