Managing finances may be simpler than you think. The motto “money in money out” is a patently clear saying. You try to have adequate funds to cover your expenses and hopefully at the end of the month have enough left over to build on your savings. This was familiar territory for previous generations to operate under but in the last little while the bottom has fallen. While economist say that the general mood, even after the recovery from the financial crisis of 2008, is now one of pessimism. Not surprisingly, most individuals are not hopeful about what lies ahead. The typical business today took a shelling with three COVID lockdowns so far, many coming with so little notice they were caught off guard, losing much of their supplies and stock. This has taken a devastating toll on our economy. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business have estimated that over 222.000 small businesses and 3 million jobs may come to an end, and that was predicted back in January of this year. What will come of the owner who had invested his time and money into a business venture that may have been their nest egg for future years, or to pass it down to their children, and grandchildren? A great deal of despair hangs in the air. We cannot help but sympathize with those whose enterprising spirit worked so hard to build up their business to earn a decent living only to watch their investment fade away.
True accounts have been given about resourceful entrepreneurs whose economic fortunes rose after having begun their lives in abject poverty and had worked their way up to achieve financial success. These are often praised for their steely determination and savvy to make it up the ladder in the financial world. These “rags to riches stories” are the stuff that audiences go to hear about in large auditoriums where inspirational speakers explain their story and what it takes to become independently wealthy. Usually what is said concludes with the thought that happiness and financial freedom are partners, that if you have enough money, you can do whatever you wish and have no need of anyone or anything else.
No one would argue that Scriptures teach that hard work is expected in this life which may lead to prosperity, success and a better life overall, and that it may increase our enjoyment of life. But earning our keep in this life means more than what we take out of it. We must ask to what degree should we enjoy the fruit of our labours? The Bible teaches believers that we have responsibilities to others regarding how we manage our bank accounts and pocketbooks. You reach that conclusion from the many exhortations found in Scriptures about the use of money. God teaches that money is beneficial if used properly and can do much to advance the comfort of others. The question is: are we willing to follow wise counsel from heaven and use money to help others? Or have we become tight-fisted over money’s value that we have an inordinate affection for it. You are invited to look at the good money can do, also the evil it can be to us if we are not careful.
First, let us look at some instructional words from Paul to Timothy and churches about money and satisfaction:
“But godliness with contentment is a great gain or joy, for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it, but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Tim. 6:6-8
God tells us not to be miserable with having less but be satisfied with knowing that He is meeting your needs in life. By the way, that is a large order for those who base their happiness by their net worth. Our contentment is coupled to our faith in God and His continual provision in our lives. His faithful care over us is our keepsake for peace and happiness. Having less does not mean you are destined to a lifetime of misery. It is not about what but who we trust. That is the crux of the matter. God is the true source for satisfaction in life, not money or anything else.
Earlier we did indicate that we will be looking at the right use of money so here it is. God cares for the unfortunate and oppressed. He directs believers to be kind and welcoming to those in need and to visit prisoners (see Heb. 13:1-6). God has called the believer to show hospitality. Often travellers and strangers would be welcomed into the believer’s home, being given accommodations and meals. Prisons in the first century did not provide meals for their prisoners so Christians would bring food to them. While these humanitarian measures can be costly, verses five and six are quite fitting seeing it does cost money to look after those less fortunate:
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” (See this passage set to music below)
It may be tempting to skip over God’s instructions to feed and care for others, seeing how it may bite into your budget leaving you anxious about meeting your bills or having less by month’s end, but God wants each of us to know that His presence and Fatherly care is what counts and that is what we need to remember. We are to love God more than anything else. Money and what it can bring us should not control our heart’s affection.
Keep all this in mind especially if you are one of those who have suffered loss of income or even your business. Many have less now than before since the pandemic has impacted most of us. Yet, this can be a reminder of our own spiritual need.
The debt of sin has left us with a great imbalance in our lives. Our sins are like a debt we can never repay or make up for and God will not take mere tokens of our good deeds or morality — both fall short of what God requires anyway. What God requires is precisely what Jesus Christ was able to provide. We are told in 2 Corinthians 8, 9:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Christ purposely came down a perfect human who left His throne on high, to become a carpenter’s son and live His life in relative obscurity, while a young man growing up in Galilee, and later spend three years in ministry largely contested by the religious order of that day and be crucified on a cross. It does not sound like He had profited from His life on earth, but He did! The King of kings truly humbled Himself when He left His glory behind and paid the price for our sins with His own sacrificial life which was needed to win a people’s salvation and give them the right to His inheritance in heaven. While Christ did not deserve to be punished, yet He willingly forfeited everything for our sake. Will you put your trust in Christ and follow Him?
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36, 37