by Pastor Tim Burt
Okay it’s time for a couple of Bible 101 questions. Ready? Question number one: What is the root of all evil? Did you say money? BLEEP! You’re wrong. The answer is... the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Question number two: Who covets after money more, people who have a great deal of money or people who don’t have money? Think about this: Most people who have more than enough money, don’t think much about it. They seldom covet money. If they want something, they just buy it. They have the money. If something is broken, they just get it fixed or buy something new. They have the money. If they want to travel, go on a shopping spree, buy a vacation home etc. , they just do. They don’t dream and wish they could. Their problems over money are different from those that don’t have it. Now, money can facilitate the feeling of great self-achievement and pride, falsely leading those who have it to the conclusion that they don’t need the Lord. Money could lead them to look down on and feeling superior to those that don’t have it. Money can create a sense of power that leads them to the habit of trying to control people with their money. And it can lead them to the place where they will compromise integrity to continue their incoming flow of money. Theses are all serious issues but they are not issues of coveting money.
People that don’t have money are constantly faced with their need for it. It’s not that they want to think about money all the time. It’s just that the demand for money keeps knocking at their door. People without enough money, need money for a place to live, for food, for their car and appliance repairs, for their mailbox full of bills, and on and on. People without money are more likely to covet money than people with surplus of money. And that need often leads to a covetousness for money and often tempts those in need to violate the boundaries of integrity to obtain it.
Money in itself is simply a medium of exchange for goods and services—a thing and not something inherently evil. It is the attitude of money that creates all issues. The poor often covet it. The rich allows it to bond them to the world and its goods, too often leaving God as an afterthought rather than Lord of their life.
You may have read or heard the verses of Luke 18:26-27 NKJV many times that says, “And Jesus said, the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” It is a scripture often applied and quoted at times of needing a miracle. In its context, when Jesus said it, He was referring to rich men entering Heaven. When Jesus said in Luke 18:25 “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” the statement shocked his disciples. They responded, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Jesus was talking about the difficulty wrong attitudes toward money can create. He also made it clear that people cannot develop a right attitude toward money in their own strength. He said it was an impossibility. Relating rightly to money—relating to money with a godly attitude is only something the Holy Spirit can teach and help you develop.
Colossians 1:16 NIV says, “For by God all things were created: things in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.” God’s Word makes some things clear regarding the cultivation of a proper attitude toward money. He has made all things and all things belong to Him, not us! We are not the owners of anything but instead, we are the stewards of all things God puts in our hands to manage—beginning with our paycheck. The management of all resources put in our hands whether it be money, possessions, time, or whatever, is subject to God’s instruction and our stewardship. Luke 12:42-44 (NIV) says, The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”
The first ten percent of everything given us belongs to God as the tithe. The tithe literally means, a tenth. Tithing—the practice of giving the first 10% of all He has given you, for the work of the gospel and the ministry, is the symbolic reverence, acknowledgement and action that all we have belongs to Him, not us. It is the action representing that God is truly our Lord and we acknowledge every good thing being from Him. Since the tithe belongs to Him, it is not ours nor is it a gift from us to Him. Not any more than taxes are a gift to the IRS. Malachi 3:8-10 NLT says, “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!” Offerings that are given beyond the tithe and are a gift of worship and thanks to the Lord for what He has done for us.
If you understand these things, then you see how only our submission to God concerning money can transform our hearts. The love of money keeps a person coveting money, stealing from God, and/or caring less about God and what God has to say about money. And that is where integrity toward money goes out the window. Trust me, there will be those who read these words today and blow this off. Tithing and godly stewardship is forever despite ridiculous excuses Christians come up with. God called it cheating or stealing from Him then. And He still calls it that today. God never changes. The wisdom of God never changes. The love, mercy and grace of God never change. And either does the tithe—the acknowledgement of His Lordship and our stewardship. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
When we do get our hearts right concerning money, we will become cheerful and unwavering in our tithes and offerings. We will have thankful hearts recognizing that God is the greatest of all givers, giving us Jesus, His word and His benefits. Tithes and offerings become what God intended them to become—recognition and the action of submission and thanksgiving for His Lordship. And it becomes seed planted for His provision for our lives! His will in all this is for us is to increase in our material resources knowing that because we tithe and bring offerings, we will faithfully use the increase He brings us as His stewards.
Deuteronomy 8:6-11 and 18 NLT reveals this saying: “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with springs that gush forth in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley, of grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, olives, and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you… And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
Philippians 4:19 (NLT) “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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