So yesterday we thought that Money itself isn’t intrinsically evil, but we need to have a right attitude towards our money. Yesterday I quoted Bishop Mike Hill who said “Money should serve but never rule”, I would go further and say “money is makes a good tool but a lousy God -Money is a God which takes everything, and promises much… and yet gives nothing of any real or lasting value in return”.
So, in the second of this series I am exploring what it looks like to have a Godly attitude to money…
Are we Generous?
Generosity and extravagance is part of who God is, he is a God who gifts lavishly and abundantly and calls us to live the same way… I love the contrast between the expensive perfumed poured on Jesus’ feet and Judas sulky comments about where the money could have been spent better (how many times have we experienced the same poverty spirit in much Church stuff? -more of this later!).
Scripture says “those who sow generously will reap generously”… and you “reap what you sow”…in fact when Jesus once said “if someone takes you coat, give them your shirt too!”
Are we pursuing justice? -Are we seeking his Kingdom?
Sadly, money is power -and as people living in the 5th richest nation on earth our wealth carries with it responsibility. Did you know if you have a freezer you are in the top 10% of the world’s richest people and the internet puts you in the top 3%? We have a responsibility to ask if our purchases are ethically sources… The problem is that many Christians still think that the ethical consumptions means occasionally drinking fair-trade tea at Church rather than whole spirituality and life style.
Every pound you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in? If this is true (which it is) what kind of world are you sponsoring, one of abused children in sweatshops or where the world’s poorest get a fair day’s work for a fair days pay.
Jesus said in Matthew 25 what you did for the least of these (the homeless, the hungry, the thirsty and those in captivity -slavery?) you did for me…
Do we just chuck a few quid at the vicar and the busker to feel better about ourselves and go on with our lavish lifestyle, or do we use what God has given us to bring transformation in the name of Christ.
Why is it that when we take the highlighter pen to our Bibles we highlight Jesus saying to Nicodemus “you must be born again” but leave unhighlighted “go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor”.
When John (the Baptist) tells his followers “if anyone has two cloaks, he should give one to the poor?” -do we overlook that verse?
I have heard many (normally evangelicals) say “we should not neglect preaching the word to wait on tables” and yet we forget that the early Church says “they had no people in need among them for everyone gave what they had”.
Are we building in faith?
Money is something we often place our faith in, someone once joked that the American Dollar should read “In GOLD we Trust” rather than “In GOD we Trust”, yet money is transient and its value is effected by much we can’t control. We are called to live by faith, putting our trust in Jehovah Jira -our God who provides… Just listen to some of those remarkable stories of George Muller, right here in this city of living by faith and discovering that when we step out of the boat, God is faithful and trustworthy.
Now this isn’t saying we need to be completely reckless with our money, probably all of us feel uncomfortable by American telly evangelists with private jets, yet the danger I feel with the Church in the west is not a gluttonous irresponsibility but often a grasping greed that knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
Our trust is in Christ, the God who owns the Cattle on a thousand hills, who made heaven and earth… this mighty God is not short of a bob or two, and doesn’t need us to lend him a fiver…
The problem often is found in the epistle to James “You have not because you ask not?” because we aren’t prepared to experience his faithfulness, to ask and open our hands to receive… Where our eyes are fixed on Christ and his call, rather than losing our faith in the balance sheets.
So the question should be, how in my life am I stepping out in faith, practicing the generosity of God, perusing justice and seeking his Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.