When it comes to talking about money in the realm of the Christian faith, there is perhaps no better passage for our foundation than the sixth chapter of Matthew. For the sake of brevity in this first article, I will quote only the following passages:
"Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NET)
"No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing?” (Matthew 6:24-25 NET)
But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34 NET)
As Jesus said later in the passage “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). These commands and principles are not optional. In fact, I believe they are foundational. As many others have pointed out, money is a frequent topic of conversation in the teachings of Jesus. While not evil in itself, money is a litmus test for the heart. How we spend and handle our money reflects directly on our faith and our worldview. The way that we handle our money is a direct reflection on the nature and object of our faith.
The first thing to note about these verses is that these are all commands: “do not accumulate”, “accumulate [treasures in heaven]”, “pursue his (God’s) kingdom”, and “do not worry.” In the original Greek, these verbs are present imperatives which means it is a command for a continuous or habitual action. Not only are we called to follow these commands, we are to do them perpetually.
Taken as a whole, these passages require a radical shift in our worldview and the way that we approach life. From the command to not accumulate earthly treasure to the command to “not worry about tomorrow”, this passage talks about a radical life that relies upon the goodness and faithfulness of God. It contains amazing and unblushing promises: if we seek God and His kingdom and let our financial standing rest firmly in His hands, He will provide for our needs. This mindset is in complete contradiction to the wisdom of the world that tells us to “save for a rainy day” or to “invest in your retirement”. Jesus tells us instead, “do not worry about your life” and “do not worry about tomorrow.” Our God knows our needs and has promised to provide for those who follow Him. It is a matter of faith and trust. Do we take Him at His Word?
Lord willing, I will continue to explore this subject and break down each of these commands in the coming weeks. I will also address some common arguments for saving using scripture.
And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. May glory be given to God our Father forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19-20 NET)
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