As Christians our focus should be spiritual, but we live in a physical world and money is a part of that world. We will be judged for how we deal with money, possessions, and our stewardship of them. Too many Christians in America spend more money each year on late fees and interest for their debt than they give to the work of the Lord. That can’t be called good stewardship. In Luke 16:1-13 Jesus tells a parable and makes some statements about money, stewardship, and using them in relationships. The fact is that Christ had more to say about money than many other subjects. It has been said that there are over 800 verses about money in the Bible. God even established a monetary system for his nation, Israel, and though He did not do that with His church, He does give guidance for us on how to handle it.
One of the things that Jesus taught while He was here was that His followers should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). In one of His parables (Luke 16:1-13) His lesson is that we should use money to develop our relationships, or we might say invest in our friendships instead of using our friends, family and other relationships to make money. The reason He gives is that when necessary our relationships can be more powerful resources than money. That being said money can be an extremely helpful tool when it is used wisely and is the servant and not the master.
Consider men like Barnabas who were able to sell land and help the needy in the Jerusalem church. How was he able to do that? If he had not wisely handled his financial affairs in the past he would not have had any means to help in the time of need. Jesus promised there will always be those who are poor (Mark 14:7). Even in the church there will be those who need financial help for one reason or another. This will be especially true as the level of negativity toward Christians increases to the point that there is discrimination against them or they lose income and/or employment as a result of standing for what is right and refusing to commit sins to keep those jobs or that income.
While life is not about the accumulation of wealth, the Bible does teach us to take care of our own household and management of money as well as other resources is a necessary part of obeying that teaching. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:20 that wise people have treasure and oil, but foolish people spend everything. By that definition many of us in America are foolish because we spend everything and then borrow more and spend that too. The problem is that at some point that comes to an end. In Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins the wise had extra oil with them and the foolish ran out. Most in our society would think that the ones who had some oil should share with the ones that ran out, but Jesus doesn’t have them do that in the story and he calls them wise for refusing. Their answer when asked to share was that if they did they would not have enough for themselves. God loves sharing, but sharing is to come from a surplus not from what is needed for the individual or his family.
Considering all of these things we need to quit spending wastefully and store up resources for our families’ needs during difficult times. It doesn’t matter whether it is an actual persecution of Christians, or a natural disaster, illness, lost job, war, or any other emergency that occurs; money and resources will be useful.
We must emphasize our trust in God, but also our obedience to his teachings about caring for our families.