Christians and Money

According to Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and wealth.”
Few Christians would openly teach against something so clear. There are those who preach the “Health and Wealth Gospel”, yet many of them do not teach against Scripture knowingly. Assuming that we can agree that they are misunderstanding Scripture, I would like to move on the a more difficult issue; the issue of those who teach stewardship.
Now, there is nothing wrong with good stewardship. In fact, stewardship is a command to all believers. As is giving their first-fruits cheerfully to God through the local church. Note that I said to God through the local church. Believers do not give their tithe to the local church, we give to God. But that is another post.
Back to the subject at hand, stewardship is a command. Wisdom with your money is a very valuable and Scriptural idea. It is definitely better to life within your means and stay out of debt when possible, it is better to plan out what you are spending money on and not spend foolishly.
The danger I hear in what many of the Christian financial experts are saying is that stewardship involves creating financial security. I have often heard a prominent Christian writer, radio show host, and financial guru talk about “Living like no one else now so that you can live like no one else later.” The idea is that if we are careful now then we will not have to worry about our finances later in life.
What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing, per se. There is nothing wrong with saving money for the future, that is very wise. The problem is that when we get financially secure we must not forget that it is God, not our financial care, that provides for all our needs. Furthermore, while we can carefully save for years, that is not always a sign that we are following God’s will for our lives.
I have heard men discourage believers from following what these believers think is a call from God in their lives to move, leave a job, or pursue an opportunity, because it risked their financial future. How arrogant of us to say that God would not call someone to deny financial security to follow God. Are all of these believers really following God, probably not, but we don’t get to make that call. Finances should never be a reason not to follow a call in a believer’s life.
In fact, in Luke 18:18ff, Jesus specifically commands the Rich Young Ruler to give up all that he has to follow Jesus. He asks the 12 disciples to leave the security of their jobs to follow him around for years! We are to consider our wealth nothing more than a blessing from God, without which God would still be God and we would be dependent on Him.
The danger of placing financial security, even through the important discipline of good stewardship, is that we would forget that our definition of stewardship is not always the same as God’s definition. Often our definition of stewardship is doing that which brings financial stability, but God’s definition is that which brings him glory. God has called and will call many believers to deny the wisdom of financial stability to follow the foolishness of His call in their lives.

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