At one time or another many Christians, pastors, churches, and religious organizations have heard the earnest yet errant plea from well-meaning Christians to “focus on Jesus and forget about worldly topics like money.” Many versions of this request have been uttered through the years.
Although well-meaning, I’m sure, the appeal reveals just how little people know about Jesus and His earthly ministry.
For example, it may be highly enlightening to learn that out of approximately 40 parables spoken by Jesus during His earthly ministry, no less than 11 have to do with money. That means 27.5% of all of Jesus’ parables have to do with money. In fact, Jesus spoke about money more than he spoke about faith and prayer… combined!
What does this reveal about the importance of money in the life of the Christian?
It should be no surprise that Jesus spoke about money so often. The true priorities of every person are revealed in the way we spend the money God has given us. Even though we often have a tendency to believe it is “our hard-earned money,” the truth is that without God’s grace and provision, we wouldn’t have anything. And since Christians generally agree that God is both sovereign over all things and owner of all things, we must also confess that “our” money belongs to Him.
And yet, we can tend to make a terrible god out of money. The application of our tendency to make money a god is seen in several ways, including:
· Neglecting family in pursuit of career and money.
· Generosity towards self while being stingy with others.
· Indifference to the less fortunate.
· Being envious of others that have more money.
Jesus knew that human hearts were, as John Calvin once put it, fabricum idolarum (an idol factory) and in need of constant reformation and sanctification. Jesus shared His parables on the topic of money to give us an eternal and divine reminder that money is not the problem, our sinful heart is the problem that needs addressed.
Let me say that again: money is not the problem. Too many Christians have been fooled into thinking money is somehow evil. Nowhere does the Bible condemn money. Paul’s comment to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:8-10 is often misused to convey the idea that money is evil. But, Paul was telling Timothy that loving money (i.e. worshipping money) is the problem. The evidence of worshipping money can be clearly seen today in our culture, and in our churches.
While some continue to say that Christians, pastors, and Christian organizations and outlets (like The Christian Post) should avoid topics like money, I would suggest that these topics need addressed more now than ever before.
We currently are faced with a culture that holds to wrong ideas about money, wrong attitudes about money, and abuses money in numerous ways. Some believe it’s acceptable to take other people’s money (as long as its done legally through unnecessary taxation). Others believe they should have money given to them without the need to earn it (a violation of 2 Thess. 3:10). Still others have no trouble “sharing” money that belongs to other people with those who are “less fortunate” (even if done via force by government mandate).
All these current trends in our society reveal the depth of our sinful hearts and the need to both repent, personally, and reform, culturally. And who do we want leading the charge, the government? God forbid. I would suggest that outlets like The Christian Post are uniquely qualified to spearhead these discussions. I would certainly rather see articles and commentary on such outlets rather than CNN or The View.
If our bank statement is a true reflection of our priorities and what we love, how are you feeling?
Personally, I need to do better. And that will be aided by trusted outlets covering these topics with a fine-toothed comb on a regular basis. It’s a steady diet of biblical money principles that I know I need to ensure I do not allow money to become an idol. As Martin Luther once said:
"There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of the purse."
Nathan Cherry is a financial advisor specializing in personal financial management and debt reduction. After more than a decade in church ministry, Nathan found a place for his talents in money management in the financial services industry working for a respected financial planning firm. Nathan also writes on social and moral issues at www.nathancherry.com.