“Money answers all things (Ec. 10:19)”, Solomon said. “But the love of it is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10), Paul said. Both the rich and the poor love money, and often will go to extremes and use questionable means to get more of it. There are hyper-prosperity preachers, and then there are prosperity preachers. There are anti-prosperity preachers, and pro-poverty preachers. What does God think about all this? Is there a proper balance? Is there a higher wisdom?
Although there is some good, balanced, and basic teaching in the area of finances, I also know that there is revelation from God’s Word that would undermine the financial foundations of most churches and ministries today, especially in America where mammon rules. The truth is that there is such a lack of substance and spiritual depth in the way financial prosperity has been taught.
Money reveals people’s hearts. While the love of money is the root of all evil, fear is the root of the love of money – fear of not having enough for yourself. This is a problem. It locates the hearts of Christians. Some of the blame for this fear should be placed on ministers, many of whom have not taught and prepared their people adequately.
One pastor told me that he has taught his people to give their way out of debt. Another preaches that tithing as stated in Malachi 3:10 is the formula for the blessings of God. And yet others will even go as far as to declare that those who do not give are under a curse. None of these statements have any of God’s grace or wisdom in it.
If you are not a pastor or a minister please don’t try and correct other pastors unless they give you permission. They have an authority you don’t have and they will have to give account to God one day for the way they used their authority.
What helped me to finally rightly divide the word of truth on money was when I understood the difference between provision and stewardship. God provides for us by grace, and not by works. God provides for us whether we tithe or not. God provides for us whether we are involved in our local church or not. God provides for us whether we pray, witness, or ever win a soul to Jesus or not. Simply put, our provision does not depend on our performance. It depends on our son-ship. You do at least that for your own children. God does it for the birds of the air who neither sow nor reap (Mt. 6:26). Are we not more important than birds?
Do you only provide for your children when they are good and obedient? Do you require them to work for their food? Do they have the right to eat at your table or not? Do we think God our Father loves us any less?
Many people have been believers for a long time, but are still bound with so much religious tradition that hinders their perspective of the heavenly Father and His unconditional love, grace, and goodness.
Of course, I am not saying you can live as you please, but if you’ve been born again, you are a child of God. His provision for you is based on that alone and nothing else. Disobedience, however, can lock up some of the increase of supply God wants to bring you into. For example, if the Lord leads you to start attending a particular church and you choose not to, it will affect the supply you receive from the Lord. Or, if the Lord leads you to give to meet a need in someone’s life and you don’t do it, it can hinder the blessing of increase He desires to give you.
Stewardship, however, is different. Stewardship is based on performance, and how well you work, budget, save, invest, and give. And your promotion in the kingdom of God is based on performance and obedience. Cornelius prayed always and he was a giver so a memorial was built in heaven for him (Acts 10:1-4). There are rewards for our faithful stewardship. The parable of the talents (Mt. 25) and of the minas bears that out (Lk. 19).
It is very important to be a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted you with. Be a giver, not a kicker. Be a sower, not a sucker. Be a supplier, not a moocher. But always remember, the Father’s provision is by grace alone.