Wealth and money Refs
What role does money have in your life? Is it your money or God’s? This chapter considers what your attitude should be towards money and how to manage it.

Leviticus 26:3-12

Again and again, God commanded Israel to obey his commands and love his laws. If Israel listened and obeyed, God promised
abundant wealth, health and peace. At times, Israel faithfully worshipped God and were blessed accordingly. One such man
who was blessed was King Solomon. God said to Solomon “I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
2 Chronicles 1:12

King Solomon became the richest and wisest man on earth. However, he gradually turned from God and did evil. 1 Kings 11:9-12 The wealth of Solomon was not able to help him love God or buy God’s love.

1. Do these blessings apply to believers today? God promised wealth for obedience and poverty for sin. Does this mean that faithful people are always rich?
2. Why did God bless them with wealth when “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”? Matthew 19:23
3. In scriptural terms, is there any difference between being rich and having lots of money?

Is money evil?
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Hezekiah, Job and Jehoshaphat were all rich. Many of the people mentioned in the chapter of faith, Hebrews 11, were rich. These people were rich not only in money but, more importantly, in faith.

Money is not evil. In fact, the Bible states clearly that money is a gift from God. Deuteronomy 8:18 However, the way you use money can be evil. So there is one condition God places on the way you use money: the money you have belongs to God so use it for God!

King David realised this when Israel gave generously to build the temple and praised God:

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things . . . Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. (1 Chronicles 29:12,14)

King Solomon, who finally built the temple of God said,

“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9).

Being responsible with God’s money can be difficult. There is more than one right way to use your money; what counts is your attitude. If you secretly believe you would be happier with more money or if you spend more time than necessary trying to earn more money, then you may love money more than God. 1 Timothy 6:10 This is evil: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” If you love God and love his ways, then you will spend your money wisely and unselfishly. Matthew clearly stated this by saying,

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)

King Solomon’s mistakes show us that money cannot buy salvation. Being rich is meaningless unless you “fear God and
keep his commandments”.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 If you seek to be rich in faith rather than money, then God will bless you. Matthew 6:19-21

A godly person is a prudent person. The book of Proverbs deals with the issue of managing money wisely in very practical terms, emphasising the need to plan ahead, be diligent and spend wisely. Is buying lunch every day rather than making lunch, being prudent? For example:

• work diligently;   Proverbs 14:23
• secure a good income before large purchases;   Proverbs 24:27;27:23-27
• save some of your income rather than foolishly spending it all;   Proverbs 21:17,20
• do not take out loans if you can’t afford them;   Proverbs 22:26-27
• do not seek to be either poor or rich.   Proverbs 30:8-9

Love of money:
Ecclesiastes 5:10; Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:9-10; 2 Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:5.
Drawbacks to riches:
Proverbs 11:4; Matthew 13:22; 19:23; Luke 12:20-21.
Deuteronomy 15:9-10; Acts 10:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:18.
True treasure:
Psalm 119:72; Romans 11:33; Colossians 2:3; James 2:5.
Being content:
Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:7-8; Hebrews 13:5.

A godly person is an honest person. Christians must honour debts and deal honestly.

What is the difference between tax avoidance and tax minimization? Is tax avoidance honest?
• Be honest in your dealings with money (Proverbs 11:1).
• Pay your debts and taxes on time, to the full (Romans 13:1-7).
• Do not demand excessive interest (Ezekiel 18:7-8).
• In some circumstances cancel debts (Deuteronomy 15:1- 3).

A godly person is a generous person. Deuteronomy 14:22, Leviticus 27:30 Under the law of Moses, God commanded Israel to tithe all produce each year. Tithing is one form of generosity to God. Have you considered tithing your income for God? Followers of Jesus have greater freedom and tithing is not commanded. However, giving generously to God is. There are no rules and how much you give is up to you.

Most people are naturally selfish and find it difficult to give money away. This makes it all the more challenging for believers.
Giving dutifully is not enough, a believer should love being generous. Paul said,

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

“God loves a cheerful giver”-think about this next time you are giving. Are you being generous?

A godly person hates greed. God hates greed so much that Greed is idolatry. See Chapter 13. Idolatry. he equates it with idolatry-you “cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15)

Greed is wanting more than you need, whether you are rich or poor. In a world ruled by greed, it is very easy to justify it, convincing yourself that you deserve more-everyone else has trendy jeans, a CD collection, a new car. How can you prevent possessions from becoming too important to you? Try to think of three ways to overcome this problem.
King Solomon wisely wrote that people are never content:

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Greed is even encouraged by the government and the media-it helps trade, increases business profits and improves your living
standards. It doesn’t sound that bad, but must be avoided by all believers.

Over-indulgence, gluttony, not being content with what you have, and being stingy are all forms of greed. In any form, greed is sin and should be avoided.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. (Proverbs 23:4)

The godly alternative is to be content with what you have:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

• God gives you money for your benefit.
• Mankind chooses to worship money rather than God. Greed is idolatry.
• Be responsible with God’s money and be content with what God has given you.
• Be careful of the powerful lure of riches and the love of money.

1. Re-read Matthew 6:19-21,24. In what way does mankind“serve money”? How is “storing up treasure on earth” different from prudence?
2. In what areas are you tempted to be discontent? What can you do to overcome this?
3. Being a “cheerful giver” can be difficult sometimes. Think about your pattern of giving-are you being generous?
4. What steps do you need to take to ensure that you faithfully pay bills, debts and personal loans on time and in full? Is there any difference in the way you should treat debt to a family member and bank debts?

1. Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 8:16-21.
(a) The law of Moses instructed Israel to give their firstfruits to God. When you receive wages, is it important to give priority to giving to God? How can this be achieved?
(b) Do you think the precautions Paul took in collecting and administering the money were important? What wisdom can be gained from this?
2. Summarise your feelings and plans about money. Include in the summary: Do you consider yourself as rich, poor or comfortable? What are your financial aims for the next 10 years? Do these plans include God?

• The dimensions of a disciple: planning for spiritual growth by Stan Dawes (published by the author, 1993). Pages 49- 50 cover greed and covetousness.
• Freedom in Christ by H.A. Twelves (published by the Christadelphian, 1968). Chapter 4: Money. 6 pages.

13. Idolatry
48. Worry
55. The law of love
56. Honesty
59. Gambling