The stock market is rallying ... Unemployment is dangerously high ... The stock market is now crashing ... Consumer spending is rebounding sharply ... The economy is shrinking at an alarming rate.
Accompanying nearly every coronavirus update is a change in our financial world. It can be exhausting and stressful, but it is not unspiritual to think about money, to be concerned with the stock market, or to talk about your finances frequently.
Rather than avoiding money matters or addressing them with timidity, as many churches do, Jesus taught on the subject all the time. Did you know that Christ discussed money more than he did heaven or hell? Of the thirty-nine parables recorded in the Gospels, eleven are focused on money.
Your Lord addressed these issues so often because he knows we are easily seduced. He knows how quickly we can lose our way. He knows that we are susceptible to giving the love of our hearts to money.
This conversation about money is not just in the ministry of Jesus but also a recurring theme throughout all of Scripture. There are three significant elements that we need to be aware of if we want to have a heart that handles the temptations of money and a life that glorifies God with our finances.
A grateful person is aware that they deserve nothing of all they possess and enjoy. If they remember this fundamental biblical theology, they will daily count their blessings and be thankful for the little things that would otherwise be taken for granted.
An attitude of ingratitude does just the opposite. If we tell ourselves that we deserve more than we have been given, we will live an entitled and demanding life. Never quite satisfied, we could easily justify a wasteful and selfish use of money.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:2, ESV)
Need is one of the most poorly and overused words in human culture. The majority of what we tell ourselves we need, we don’t actually need. We all are very skilled at loading our desires into our needs category.
This is a dangerous mistake. Once we have, we think it’s our right to demand these things, and therefore appropriate to do what is necessary to possess them. This leads to wasting all kinds of money satisfying “needs” that aren’t really needs, all the while feeling quite comfortable, because if it’s a need, it seems right to pursue it.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV)
If you are unthankful and persuaded that you deserve more, and if you have been able to convince yourself that you need certain things that you do not have, you will invariably look over the fence and envy the person who appears to have what you have not yet been able to acquire.
Envious people are always taking account. Envious people are always comparing. Envious people are consistently placing things on their “they have, but I do not” list. Envious people regularly feel that they have been given a bad deal, so they justify spending what God has given them to steward to settle the score.
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (Proverbs 14:30, ESV)
As you handle your money, no matter how much you have, remember gratitude, need, and envy. Forgetting or neglecting these spiritual battles will cause you to be both self-oriented and foolish in your use of money.
To walk the pathway of spiritual maturity demands far more than financial education, mathematical skills, and budget discipline. In fact, it takes more than good theology and knowledge of biblical commands and principles!
Financial maturity requires powerful, rescuing grace. And when it comes to money, our hearts will rest contented only when they have been freed and protected by God’s amazing grace.
Grace is what we need, and by grace, grace is what has been supplied!
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, ESV)
1. Has coronavirus impacted your finances? What has that exposed in your heart?
2. How frequently do you count your blessings? What benefits from the Lord have you forgotten or taken for granted?
3. What are you currently telling yourself that you need that only qualifies as a desire of the heart? How is that impacting your financial behavior?
4. Is there anyone that you are envious of today? What do they have that you wish you had? Is this impacting the way you relate to them?
5. Is the generosity of your Heavenly Father transforming the way you handle your finances? What ministry opportunities are available to you this week that you can invest in?