Many people think churches are a scam to get money, and in fact Jesus talked more about money than about Heaven or Hell. So what does the Bible say about money? Here's a brief survey.
God created everything.
Psalm 50:9-12God doesn't need our money or our resources in order to accomplish his plans. In fact, rather than demand that we give to him, he gives generously to us.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
James 1:17Why, then, are we encouraged to give? There are several reasons. God has given everything we have to us, and when we give we demonstrate (and participate in) God's generousity.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15What's more, giving is good for us because it helps prevent us from getting too attached to worldly things.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Ecclesiastes 5:10Wealth provides us with a sense of security, but it's a false sense. Ask Job, who lost his vast wealth -- including his children -- in a single day.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Job 1:13-19Nevertheless, Job recognized that everything he had really belonged to God, not to him.
One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
Job 1:20-22This is a wise saying. Wealth and power can disappear in an instant, and provide only an illusion of security. Ultimately, worldly wealth is of little value.
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Psalm 49:10-12We must learn that wealth cannot sustain us. Only God, our creator, can protect us and provide for us.
10 For all can see that wise men die;
the foolish and the senseless alike perish
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had named lands after themselves.
12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure;
he is like the beasts that perish.
Matthew 4:4So how much should we give? First, we have to realize that God doesn't count money in the same way we do.
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Mark 12:41-44Jesus didn't condemn the rich for giving a lot, but he commended the widow for giving all she had. The point is that God wants us to give sacrificially. The rich gave out of their wealth, and their gifts cost them very little; the widow gave a tiny amount, but her gift was a true sacrifice.
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."
This principle can be seen in the account of King David buying the land that eventually became the site of the temple in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 24:18-24King David refused to give God something that had cost him nothing.
On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad. When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.
Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?"
"To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the LORD , that the plague on the people may be stopped."
Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. O king, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you."
But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.
How often do we give God our leftovers? Not just our extra money that we can afford to give without threatening our lifestyle, but our extra time and extra energy as well? When we're done doing everything we want to do, we may consider giving God some of whatever's left. This is the exact opposite of David's approach.
God deserves the best of what we have, not the scraps and remnants. God has given us everything, including his Son, and he is worthy of the first portion of our income and the highest priority in our schedule.
If you want to know how much you love God, there are two places to look: your checkbook and your appointment book. We spend time and money on what we love, and if God gets relatively little of both then it isn't a huge leap of logic to conclude that we love him relatively little.