This study will transform your life and finances as you learn what the God of the universe says about handling money. This study is for everyone—single or married, young or old, whether you earn a lot or a little.
The way most people handle money stands in sharp contrast to God’s financial principles. Isaiah 55:8 puts it like this: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (NIV). The most significant difference between the two is the Bible reveals God is closely involved with our finances. Many people fail to realise it because He has chosen to be invisible to us and to operate in the unseen supernatural realm.
THE BIBLE AND MONEY
It may surprise you to learn how much the Bible has to say about finances. More than 2,350 verses address God’s way of handling money and possessions. What’s more, fifteen percent of everything Jesus Christ said has to do with money—how we view it and how we handle it. And He made such a major point of teaching these things for three reasons:
1. How we handle money impacts our fellowship with the Lord.
We may think we can separate our spiritual lives and our financial lives into two different compartments. Not so! Over and over, Jesus equates how we handle our money with the quality of our spiritual life. In Luke 16:11, He says, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of worldly* wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” The true riches in life grow out of a close relationship with the Lord.
It’s a simple fact: If we handle money according to the principles of Scripture, we will enjoy closer fellowship with Christ. The parable of the talents demonstrates this, as the master congratulates the servant who managed his money faithfully: “Well done, good and faithful [servant]. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, emphasis added). We can enter into the joy of a more intimate relationship with the Lord as we handle money His way.
2. Money and possessions compete with God for first place in our lives.
We may never say it in so many words, but money is often a primary competitor with Christ for our affection. Jesus tells us we must choose to serve only one of these two masters. “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” (Matthew 6:24, NIV). We use money, yes, but it’s impossible for us to serve money and still serve and love the Lord.
During the Crusades of the 12th Century, the Crusaders hired mercenaries to fight for them. Because it was a religious war, the mercenaries were baptised before fighting. Before going under the water, however, the soldiers would take their swords and hold them up out of the water to symbolise that Jesus Christ was not in control of their weapons. They claimed freedom to use their weapons in any way they wished.
Unfortunately, that illustrates the way many people today handle their money as they hold their wallet or purse “out of the water.” Their attitude is, “God, you may be Lord of my entire life—except in the area of money. I’m perfectly capable of handling that myself.”
3. God wants us to be money smart.
The Lord also talked so much about money because He knew that from time to time money problems would be a challenge for all of us. Stress and confusion in this area of life can impact our marriage, our family life, our happiness, and even our health. Because He loves and cares for us so deeply, He wanted to equip us to make the wisest possible financial decisions.