Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours in pursuit of one thing: money. Even though money isn’t the only reason we go to work each day, for most people it’s the main reason. Though money can get a bad rap sometimes (in particular from those who misquote the Bible as saying that money is the root of all evil), spending the day working to acquire it is not a bad thing. In fact, if you’re like me and you enjoy eating and having a warm bed to sleep in at night, it’s quite a wonderful thing. But, money makes for a cruel Master, and we must be sure to take certain steps to keep the money we seek from getting us.
What the Good Book Says
The quote I mentioned earlier that people often get wrong is from 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Similarly, Jesus taught in Matthew 6:24 that, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
A Matter of Priorities
These scriptures, as well as many others throughout the Bible show clearly that money itself isn’t bad, but the way we spend our money tends to reveal where our allegiance lies. If we are like Christ, our chief desire will be to love and worship God, and money will be a tool or servant under our watch, to be used to glorify God and spread His Gospel. Conversely, if we seek our own desires first, we will tend to use God as a means toward the end of having more and being more comfortable. As the wise teacher Hank Haanegraaf says, “instead of loving the Master (Jesus), we only want what is on the Master’s table.”
Fix Your Heart
So, given the understanding that we all tend toward selfishness and are tempted within our own hearts to pursue wealth for the wrong reasons, what can we do to keep money from getting us? The answer is simple: give. All throughout history, God has taught His people to give to Him first. Though many think that this practice is simply a pragmatic way to fund the church, in fact this has more to do with meeting a need you have than meeting a need the church has. Here’s why: God owns everything. He doesn’t need your money to accomplish His purpose.
Live as You Were Meant To
But what you need is a way to keep your heart from pride, greed, and self-centeredness. Giving accomplishes this wonderfully, and also comes with the side effects of joy and peace. When you take the first $100 of your $1,000 paycheck and give it to God, it speaks very clearly to your heart: “I’m not the most important thing in my life.” By giving, you recognize that you are simply the manager of God’s money, to use it in accordance with His purposes, and really, what better investment is there?