Honestly, I personally loathe dealing with money matters. It just bores the living daylights out of me. My wife Jill recently said: “We need our WILL done!” And I thought, “Ok, no problem honey!”
So being a person that would rather just figure it out myself, I started down the path. Oh my! What a learning curve! Not only is there the WILL, but there’s all the Estate Planning, Revocable/Irrevocable Trusts, Medical Directives. Attorneys, Probate, Durable Power of Attorney. Ugh! This process makes my head spin like Beetlejuice. Seriously, if any estate planning attorney calls me first, you may just have the job!
However, outside of all this legal stuff, in thinking about a will and who would get what, I realized how blessed we really are. Our whole culture seems to be built on the premise that we must have more money and more stuff to feel happy and secure. Do you really believe that more stuff equals more happiness? Do you really need bigger, better, fancier stuff to meet the mission of God? That’s the total opposite of the truth, and the opposite of what it says in The Bible.
The #1 Biblical rule of finance: God owns everything.
You may have bought that house, but He gave you your talents and gifts and thus the money to buy it, so it’s His. For so many blessings, we thank you, Lord!
The more you make, the more you should give. This is a hard one for people caught up in buying bigger and better things, but there are numerous references to charitable giving. The Bible says that it’s quite all right to buy the bigger house – but the more you make and spend on yourself, the more you need to give to others.
That doesn’t include tithing, another very clear demand: God expects you to give 10 percent of your wealth to your place of worship. What you put your effort into, that’s where your heart will be.
I’ve read that there are over 2,000 Bible verses about money and related topics. Why is that? I think in part because our financial lives can quickly consume us, our money and wealth becoming an idol that can overtake our lives. In other words, if we’re not careful about how we view money, it can take God’s place in our lives and lead to ruin. It’s important that we are always aware of where we place our hope. It needs to be in Christ Jesus first, and not money.
So, with that said, I’ve cherry picked some verses from hundreds available, along with my own bits of commentary.
Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV): “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” One idea that runs through a lot of the Bible verses is that true contentment doesn’t come from having money or possessions, but instead through having a personal relationship with Christ. I’ve found it to be true in my own life; whether you’re going through life with a lot or a little, true meaning and contentment comes not from your circumstances or the things you have, but from above.
Luke 6:37-38 (ESV): “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It’s not rocket science. Give and you will receive. It’s just that simple.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV): Honor the Lord with your wealth, and the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Now there’s a good Catholic one. It reminded me of when Fr. Chas mentioned he blessed the beer on St. Paddy’s Day!
Malachi 3:10 (ESV): “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” God promises to bless those who tithe and show good stewardship. I once heard someone say, “Tithing isn’t giving, it is simply returning to God what is His.”
So, for me and Jill, the bottom line is that we think one of the best things we can do as Christians is to view ourselves as stewards and always be GROWING in our giving and never being complacent regardless of what percentage we are giving.
Please don’t look at our recent 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge from Fr. Chas as Fr. asking us to support his church or your church. God is asking us to support His church. Like a child jumping into his father’s arms who knows without a shadow of a doubt that he will catch him, I pray that we would learn to trust God in the area of tithing as well as all areas of life!
God Bless, John Dullock
P.S.—If an estate planning attorney calls me on this little legal matter I have, I want them to also build St. John into our will as part of God’s generosity that accumulated over the years, not based on anything special I did, but what God did. Please consider doing the same. Blessed be the Lord!