Money (or the love of it), as the Bible teaches, is “the root of all types of evil.” Oddly enough money is not evil. Money is used for good and bad; our hearts that makes the difference. Two people with different motivations can spend money on the same thing with one person acting righteously and the other sinfully.
Money is a huge spiritual issue. There are approximately 800 verses in the Bible about money. Jesus teaches 11 parables about money. Jesus says, “Where your treasure is there your heart is also.” Your desire for and use of money and material wealth is an accurate measure of your heart. Where you are investing money is where you are investing your life.
Preconceived ideas become a problem in talking about money with Christians today. Some have heard and even believed the lies of the prosperity gospel. They have been told that if they give more, then they will get rich. Many (most) of the people who have believed this lie have felt its sting as they gave more than they could afford. Others have been taught heavy-handed legalistic approaches to percentages they must give. Far too many followers of Christ have simply not been taught anything that the Bible has to say about money.
Money matters to God because money matters to you. God wants you… ALL of you. Following Jesus will cost you everything. Not only does God want all of you, he demands all of you. Following Jesus means “dying to self” and “living to Christ.” That death to self includes your finances. Jesus states that worldly materials are great measures of one’s heart. Where the treasure is, there the heart is also.
The heart matters. Money follows.
1 Chronicles 29 is one of the places where we hear about the people of God giving above and beyond their normal (required by Law) giving toward the work of God. In 1 Chronicles 29:6 the giving of the average family in their nation was described as “giving willingly.”
We teach giving to the Kingdom of God (the Church) as giving that comes from the heart. I teach tithing as a principle not a law. There is an inarguable pattern of giving in the Bible that never dips below 10% giving. The death and resurrection of Christ fulfilled, but did not abolish, the Law. That means obedience in every area of life is no longer by Law; it is now by grace. The principles, however, still apply. The teachings about relationships, money, sexuality, etc., are still relevant. The ways of God toward which the law pointed are all still valid for our lives as God worshipers. Grace does not change the truth. Grace changes us.
When the people of Israel were called to give above and beyond their commanded taxes and tithes, they “offered willingly.” Why? They all wanted a place to worship together. They wanted a temple that would honor their God and offer their entire nation a place to come and go in worship of the Lord. They wanted other nations to see the worthiness of worship of their God. It was from their heart.
As you pray in the coming weeks and months about how Fellowship Church is going to move beyond where it is now to reach more people for Jesus, will you make this your prayer? Ask the Lord to show you the value of what lies ahead. Ask God if He wants us to do these things? I know, without a doubt, that He does, and that is why I will give willingly. That is all I can ask of you.
We will teach directly about money. You will be challenged about your treasures and your heart. This challenge, however, will not be about buildings for Fellowship Church. The challenge is about the health of your soul. I pray that this heart and intention is heard and seen in every way that I speak and lead.
I believe that we will have everything that God intends for us to have to move BEYOND. I believe the majority of you will give willingly. Why do I believe that? Because I believe that we desire to do whatever it takes to “bring real life in Christ to Ascension Parish and beyond.” Out of that passion we will give willingly.
Remember…The heart matters. Money follows.
I end with this. As we discuss these truths, many of you will find yourself in a place where you cannot be obedient in giving because you have already been disobedient in spending. You are in such debt that you do not have the ability to be generous. If that is the case for you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you get connected to some people and some teachings that will help you head down the right road spiritually so you can live more financially faithful.