Gods Word contains two financial principles that we should apply to every economic decision we ever make. The first is wealth.
The definition of wealth is usually based on a set of worldly principles. For example, lets take a quick attitude check. When we hear the world wealth what comes to mind? When someone describes a wealthy man, what do we picture? Most of us would think in terms of things that we own such as money, fancy cars, big homes and the like. This is because this is how the world looks at wealth...these are worldly concerns. These are not Gods concerns.
What are Gods concerns about wealth?
First, God wants us to remember that all wealth belongs to Him. Psalms 24:1 says, The earth is the LORDs and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. He owns it all. The entire material world is His by right of creation. You and I simply hold a secondary title of ownership, a delegated authority to responsibly use and enjoy what God as entrusted into our care. He is the owner. By the way, all of us have one thing in common: we all own the same amount of stuffabsolutely nothing.
Second, when God discusses wealth, He does not mean just money and material things. Why? Because one day we will leave all those things behind. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6, ...we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. How much we have (the amount, value, or authority, etc.) is not important to God because were going to leave every bit of it behind when we go home.
What is important to God about the wealth He gives us is our attitude and what were doing with it now. This I believe from Gods Word: If what you and I are doing with what we have is not going to be relevant to God 1000 years from now (should the Lord tarry), it is not very relevant to God today. It is not the amount of material things we have, their abundance or lack, that really matters to God. What matters is our attitude and how we use themhow they are invested, reinvested and put back into the Kingdom of God.
How does God define wealth?
If wealth to God means more than just money (and it does) what else does it mean? To God, wealth includes our time, talents, abilities, skills; our health and family; our salvation and even our work.
Do you realize that our work, our job, is part of the wealth God entrusts into our care? We need to remember that it is God who gives us the ability to work and produce wealth. Deut. 1-18 says, You may say to your self, My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth. Work is not a punishment. God says work is part of our reward. It is part of our fulfillment. It is part of our wealth.
To me, one verse really stands out when we talk about Gods definition of wealth. Proverbs 10:22 tells us that It is the blessing of the Lord that brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it.
This proverb has a lot of wisdom. Because it says that it is only through the blessing of God that we can have the material things of life and yet not have the anger, and the frustration, and worry, and fear, and sorrow, and all the rest that normally come attached to those material things. The world can give us material things. We know lots of people who have lots of things. More often than not they are miserable people. They are frustrated and they are frantic.
Do you know what we find out? With all these things, and we have them all, they are not enough. We are still not satisfied. Something is still missing, something is still not right. God said, I want to give you my riches...but with no sorrow.
If we want to move to a higher spiritual level in our finances, we must first begin to see through spiritual eyes what we have for so long considered only through worldly eyes. We need to understand and apply the first of two critical, biblical, economic principlesthe principle of wealth. Wealth is so much more than we might imagine, and He owns it all. If His job is the owner, what is our job? We are to be the manager, the steward. Next time we will talk about stewardship: what is it and how do we do it?
Bob Louder is the Founder and President of Christian Financial Ministries (www.good-steward.org). Bob is also the author of the new best selling book, Debt Free Living Gods Way, available only on the Internet (www.debtfreelivinggodsway.org). Since 1987 Bob has helped people in hundreds of churches all across the country and in the European military community learn, understand, apply and pass on Debt Free Living Gods Way principles and practical applications. He has represented some of the top Christian financial authors and ministries to include Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey, Christian Financial Concepts, and Crown Ministries.
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