I want to introduce you to a new financial concept I made up:
(“What in the world is Paul Tripp talking about?!”)
The Bible definitively teaches that this life is not all there is. Every human being is heading for an eternity of some kind. But me-istic present-ism has gripped the hearts and wallets of many believers and our secular culture.
Me-istic – we put our wants, needs, feeling, hopes, and dreams in the center of our field of concern.
Present-ism – we are fueled by a short-term view of life rather than the long-view perspective that dyes all that the Bible teaches.
Okay, I digress; the phrase me-istic present-ism isn’t easy to repeat. So let’s consider the error of forgetting about eternity and its implications for the financial resources that God has entrusted to us to steward.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “put eternity into man’s heart.” This means that in the heart of everyone is a longing for paradise.
What will you do with this hunger? Either you will realize that this present life has been designed as a preparation for the paradise to come, or you will try and spend this present moment into a paradise it can never be.
God has chosen to keep you in this broken world to use its brokenness to prepare you for what is to come. The brokenness you live in the middle of, and the difficulties you face there, are not in the way of God’s good plan for you; they are an essential ingredient.
Amid this brokenness, however, there are beautiful and delightful material things. The Creator gifted us with the physical creation and the sensory abilities to experience it. Yet the material world was designed to be one big finger that points you to the only place where your heart will ever find its peace and rest.
Too many of us forget the promise of eternal life, and in so doing, try to buy life in the here and now. It hasn’t worked—it leaves us fat, addicted, in debt, and discouraged but still hoping that we can buy life in this material world.
So if eternity reminds us that this life is not a destination and that true satisfaction can only be found in the life to come, eternity must also inform how we should invest our resources. It’s not wrong to spend our money on physical life necessities. It’s not wrong to invest in health care and retirement. But it is wrong if that is all we do.
In two statements of stunning wisdom, Jesus summarizes how eternity is meant to shape our money decisions. He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matt. 6:19); and “Pray then like this: . . . Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9–10).
Here we have two short pieces of messianic brilliance that capture what it looks like to invest our money with eternity in view.
We don’t allow the principal purpose of our investment of funds to be the amassing of earthbound treasures. We don’t expend our resources on things that will quickly break, grow old, get stolen, decay, or otherwise pass away. We stop allowing the warehousing of physical stuff from driving our spending.
Every time you put your hand on your wallet, remember to focus your eyes on eternity, celebrate its comfort, and surrender your funds to its call.
By grace, it will help you deal responsibly with money in a world that has gone money insane.
Paul David Tripp
1. Is there evidence that your spending was “me-istic” this past week?
2. Is there evidence that your financial planning has been captured by “present-ism” recently?
3. How can you make practical steps to spend for the good of others in the coming days?
4. What can you do to invest in things of eternal significance before 2020 is complete?
5. Aside from financial matters, how can you live out the prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” with your time, energy, and gifting?