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“Money is the answer for everything.” – Solomon
How often do you have that day? That day when the answer to every one of life’s problems seems like it could be answered simply by having more money. You could buy a better car, live in a bigger house, pay someone to cook you dinner, take the vacation to somewhere warm and tropical, quit your job, get out of debt, impress your friends, retire, travel, or even afford that one thing that always seems out of reach. There are very few things in life that money can’t buy–they’re important things for sure, but money does answer so many problems.
A more serious problem though is the reality that money so easily becomes our god, the thing we live for. I know, because I’ve lived that way before and am tempted to continue to live that way. The alternative is a much better way to live. And it’s the truth. Money is a gift from the real God. It is something we’re given to enjoy and steward.
Here are the seven most important things to know about money, taken from my book, Money: God or Gift.
1. You Don’t Own Your Money
Even if you worked for it, you don’t own it. None of us like this truth, but everything we have comes from God and belongs to God: life, money, resources, time, jobs, talents… everything.
“For from him, through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever.” – Romans 11:32
2. You’re either Grateful or Greedy
There are two attitudes we can have towards money: Gratitude or Greed. The pursuit of “stuff and more stuff” is a never ending, unquenchable search. We act like we deserve so much more than the incredible gifts we’ve already received.
Do you always desire something more for yourself? Or are you thankful and content with what you already have?
3. Make, Give, Save, and Spend—for the Right Reasons
Working hard and making money is a good thing. Giving to your church and those in need is a good thing. Saving for the future and spending your money wisely are also good things. I encourage you to do them all diligently, but not as a means of puffing yourself up and reveling in your financial wisdom. We move from making/giving/saving/spending for our own benefit and glory to instead looking how to bless others with the blessings we’ve received.
4. It’s Not About the Money
Rich or poor is not the point. Faithful stewardship is measured by what you have and not what you don’t have. The goal is to be a good steward with everything you’ve been given, regardless of the amount.
I’ve seen this lived out in the life of a single mom earning $30,000 a year and also with multi-millionaires. One is not better or more righteous than the other, because it comes down to each person’s unique position and how they respond.
5. Priorities are More Important Than Wants or Needs
We tend to think in terms of wants vs. needs, but this leads to guilt or pride rather than humility and wisdom. It is ok to buy fun things if you take care of more important priorities first.
As Christians, this means Jesus is first, followed by his mission and human relationships. Work through your priority list with your resources. Also, don’t forget to lighten up and have some fun. We take ourselves so seriously.
6. Don’t Worry (That’s a Command)
Jesus isn’t Bob Marley. He does more than encourage us by telling us to not worry. He commands us to not worry, because we can trust the Father for every good thing—“Your heavenly father knows what you need.” – Matthew 6:8,32
I struggle with this regularly. It’s as if I forget God’s relentless faithfulness to meet every one of my needs and revert back to the mindset that I’m the one in charge. I’m not. He’s got it.
7. True Generosity is a Lifestyle
Generosity is about more than monthly giving to an organization or two. It’s about loving people with your money, because it’s God’s money—not ours.
Are you generous with your family—your spouse, kids, parents, etc? Are you generous with your friends? Are you generous with random people when you feel that tug on your heart to give?
The happiest people on the planet spend their time thinking about who they should bless.