WHAT DOES GOD’S HEART FOR THE WORLD HAVE TO DO WITH MY MONEY?
Fill in the blank with the right answer, not just your answer: If I had a million dollars, I would ___________________.
Anyone else stumped? Is there even a right answer to that question? Actually, there is. And it all comes down to what we believe about money.
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR OUR MONEY
The Bible talks a lot about money; over 800 times, to be exact. The Old Testament books are full of what to and what not to do with money, and it’s no different in the New Testament. Money was one of Jesus’ favorite talking points while He was on earth, and other New Testament authors were not silent on the matter either. The fact that God highlights money throughout Scripture instead of spending more time on more seemingly more “helpful” topics, like how to find God’s will for your life, how to find a husband or a wife, how to pick a major, etc., shows that God definitely has a plan for how we use money.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MONEY
Although the Bible has a lot to say about money and how we handle it, the most foundational truth is this: all money is God’s and should therefore be used for His purposes. Let’s break down that principle into two parts. First, all money is God’s. This flies in the face of what the world says about money. The world says that any money you have is yours. Whether you earned it through a 40-hour workweek, or you received it as a gift or inheritance, it’s all yours. That sounds good, right? But like unicorns and Santa Clause, just because it sounds nice does not make it true. Psalm 24:1 tells us the truth: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Notice how no single thing is left out. That means that your phone, your car, your computer, your savings account, and everything else are only yours because God gave it to you. So what does that make you? Manager (or steward, if you want the SAT word). You are in charge of managing God’s money while it’s on loan to you. A bad manager takes the money his boss entrusts to him and spends it on his own pleasure or interest—or just does nothing with it at all. A good manager, however, uses that money to make his boss more successful and prosperous.
This is where the second part of that foundational truth comes in: all money is God’s, and therefore should be used for His purposes. Because the money we “own” is actually entrusted to us from God (whether via paycheck, scholarship, inheritance, etc.), we should be asking all the time how we can best use it to serve God’s purposes on earth. And what are His purposes? Ultimately, all His purposes boil down to this: to have worshippers around His throne from every nation, tribe, people, and language (Revelation 7:9), which will happen as we make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Everything we have, including our money, are tools to help make that happen.
So now let’s answer the original question: If I had a million dollars, I would use it to make disciples of all nations. This doesn’t mean all money we ever have should go only to missions. God gives us money to provide for our needs and even to save for the future. He also wants us to give to our local church and to those in need around us as we have opportunity. But all of these things fall under the umbrella of His overarching purpose of gathering worshipers from all nations in heaven. We just have to remember that no matter how much (or how little!) money is in our pocket, wallet, or bank account, all money is God’s and should therefore be used for His purposes.
1. Make a budget (here) is a good worksheet for creating a budget in college; be sure to include tithing to your local church and saving for the future.
2. See what you can cut down or cut out.
3. Stick to your budget (here) are a few good apps to help you.
4. Use your “extra” money (this is what you came up with in #3) to give toward people and projects that are sharing the gospel with people who have never heard it before. Be creative. Have fun.
1. “Practical Steps to Grow in Giving To Missions”: Here is an article gives great ideas on how to start giving toward overseas missions, no matter how little money you have to give.
2. “Giving It All”: Here is a story of Alan Barnhart, an engineer who has made radical business decisions to invest in church planting overseas. Before you enter the job force, PLEASE read this story.