For the Love of Money: Part Three – Give

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, preached many times over the course of his life on the topic of money. To take Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money” seriously would require a whole new way of thinking about how we earn and use money in a world in which others are in want.

As church leaders wrestle daily not only with their individual circumstances but also those of the organization they lead, it would be helpful to revisit Wesley’s 18th century sermon and learn applications for today.

In each section below, the “Simple Solution” lists a portion of Wesley’s sermon, his most concise articulation of his views on how to use money. The sermon excerpts are adapted from John Wesley on Christian Practice: The Standard Sermons in Modern English, by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Giving to God by Mark Allen Powell

We all know that everything we have is a gift from God. But sometimes it’s hard to know just how to give back to God. How much is enough? What does the Bible really say? What should giving look like in our everyday lives?

Filled with good news for followers of Jesus, Mark Allan Powell’s Giving to God shows Christians the way to a better life and a better relationship with their money — and with God. Powell presents stewardship as an act of worship, an expression of faith, and a discipline for spiritual growth. Faithful use of our time, talents, and money starts with a deep, satisfying relationship with the God to whom we belong.

We can then learn, says Powell, to give gladly and generously out of our heartfelt connection with God. Informative, concise, and eminently practical (including discussion questions), Giving to God gives us resources for best using the treasures, material and otherwise, that God has given us.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

First, having gained all you can and, second, having saved all you can, then give all you can.

In order to see the basis and objective of this rule, consider the following point. When the owner of heaven and earth brought you into being and placed you in this world, He positioned you here not as an owner. He placed you on earth as a steward or manager. As such, for a time he deposited various kinds of goods with you. But the sole ownership of these things still rests in God, and they can never be taken from Him. Because you are not your own, neither are the possessions that you enjoy.

Even your soul and body are not yours — they belong to God. And your possessions in particular do not really belong to you. In the most clear and explicit terms, God has revealed how you are to employ yourself and your possessions. You are to use them in a way that becomes “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

If you want to be a faithful and wise steward of the things that God has presently put into your hands (with the right to take them back whenever it pleases Him), ask these questions:

(1) In spending this money, am I acting according to my character? Am I acting not as an owner, but as a steward of my Lord’s goods?

(2) Am I giving this money in obedience to God’s Word? In what scripture does God require me to spend this money?

(3) Can I offer up this action or expenditure as a sacrifice to God through Jesus Christ?

(4) Do I have reason to believe that for this very work I will receive a reward at the resurrection of the righteous?

You will seldom need anything more than these questions to remove any doubt that may arise.

Faithful giving is part of faithful living – it is one way of using our finances in a manner that is pleasing to God.

Why is this subject so important? There is not necessarily anything more spiritual or godly about giving money to a church or any other cause than there is about paying bills, buying a new suit, sending children to college, or saving for retirement.

God may be equally pleased with us for using our money in any of these ways. What makes giving to a church or charity special is the aspect of renunciation. We take a portion of our money and we give it away. We give it away for others to use in what we hope will be a God-pleasing manner.

The spiritual principle of renunciation is important in the Bible and is clearly presented in the stories of Jesus. The Gospels consistently tell of Jesus calling his followers to renounce worldly goods and material possessions. Such directives may seem extreme but, certainly, Jesus calls all of his followers to deny themselves and to resist the temptation of storing up treasure on earth.

The basic point seems to be that we have a need to give. Stewardship, then, is not just about our meeting the needs of the poor, or the needs of our church, or the needs of any particular charity – it is about fulfilling our own need to give as well.

Mark Allen Powell, Giving to God

A NEXT STEP

The author of Giving to God lists 10 motives for giving:

  1. To gain recognition
  2. To attain power or influence
  3. To appease God
  4. To earn rewards
  5. To fulfill obligations
  6. To support a worthy cause
  7. To divest unwanted assets
  8. To give thanks
  9. To express love for God
  10. To convey the Christ within

As you consider these motives, which of these do you think has played the greatest part in moving you to give?

In Romans 15:27, Paul is speaking of the churches in Macedonia and Achaia and their sharing of resources of behalf of those in need. When he writes, “They were pleased to do this, and in deed they owe it to them.”

In this case, giving was something that the Christians ought to do and something that they wanted to do. Giving is both a responsibility and a pleasure, a duty and a delight.

Do you know people who have moved from reasonable to radical and given their money in ways that go beyond what might be the usual expectation? Have you ever done this yourself?

Create a giving “bucket list” for you/your family. What are the big dreams of giving you are pursuing for this year or this life? Start small and let the joy of giving propel you toward bigger and bigger generosity goals.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 97-3, released July 2018.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

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For the Love of Money, Part One: Earn

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, preached many times over the course of his life on the topic of money. To take Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money” seriously would require a whole new way of thinking about how we earn and use money in a world in which others are in want.

As church leaders wrestle daily not only with their individual circumstances but also those of the organization they lead, it would be helpful to revisit Wesley’s 18th century sermon and learn applications for today.

In each section below, the “Simple Solution” lists a portion of Wesley’s sermon, his most concise articulation of his views on how to use money. The sermon excerpts are adapted from John Wesley on Christian Practice: The Standard Sermons in Modern English, by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn.

THE QUICK SUMMARY

In the business community, as in any profession where the stakes are high, there is no credibility without proven success. So often business books distill that success down to a set of theories or “easy to follow” steps. Make All You Can, Give All You Can was written from a different perspective-to communicate the how and why of success with real-life, documented examples of business transactions.

Following the progress of a company from start-up to industry leader, you will learn how the application of God’s principles as a core foundation brings true accomplishment, not just monetarily, but also in the satisfaction of growing your greatest asset: people. This book will help you learn to let God lead your business, expedite your learning curve in doing so, and give you access to more than 50 years of hard-earned knowledge with warnings along your journey.

There is much kingdom work to be done throughout the world. If God is calling you to help fund His work in even more significant ways, may you read, study, and begin applying His principles now as a business owner or leader. Though the journey is tough, you will have the immense joy and satisfaction of giving with an eternal purpose and influencing beyond what even you believe or perceive possible.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Gain all you can

The first of these simple rules is: Gain all you can. Of course, it is certain that we should not gain money at the expense of life or health. Therefore, no gain whatever should prompt us to enter into, or to continue in, any lengthy or difficult work that will damage our health.

If we are not to harm our bodies, neither are we to harm our minds. Whatever the circumstance, we must maintain a healthy mind. Therefore, we cannot begin or continue in any sinful occupations, any of which are contrary to the law of God or the nation. In gaining money, we must not lose our own souls.

Furthermore, do your work as well as possible. Do not sleep or yawn over it. Put your whole strength into your labor. Let nothing be done by halves or in a superficial and careless manner. Let nothing in your business be left undone if labor or patience can do it.

In gaining all you can, use common sense. That is, employ all the intelligence that God has given you. It is astonishing to observe how few people use all that God has given them. From the understanding of others and from your own experience, reading, and thinking, you should continuously learn in everything you do better today than you did yesterday. See to it that you put into practice whatever you learn, so that you can take full advantage of everything in your hands.

If God chooses to bless you with wealth, His primary purpose is for you to use that wealth to bless others.

According to Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” How you deal with your finances is a barometer of where your heart is. There are so many scriptures on stewardship, finances, giving, and faith that we need a lifetime to experience and truly know and understand them all.

The more familiar we are with the idea that God owns it all anyway, the easier that becomes. Ecclesiastes 5: 15 reminds us that “Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands.” Then there’s the bluntness of Psalm 24: 1: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” We are not really owners; we are simply stewards of what has been given to us.

There is not a single verse in the Bible that condemns wealth that was created from hard work, as Solomon had. But there is much said about the love of money and wealth, and the dangers of making them your god. Money is not the root of all evil, as we have all heard, but the love of money is a sin. When we truly understand that God gives us the ability to create wealth and that He owns it all, that’s when we can open the door to meaning and purpose and learn to greatly impact the lives of others with it.

Tom Chapman, Make All You Can

A NEXT STEP

In early human history mankind learned to trade items for other items. Eventually, the concept of “money” was developed, and money became the one thing that everyone was willing to trade goods for.

Money makes voluntary exchanges fairer, less wasteful, and far more extensive. We need money in the world in order to glorify God through using it wisely. If money were evil in itself, then God would not have any. But Haggai 2:8 says, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord.” It all belongs to Him, and He entrusts it to us so that through it we would glorify Him.

Along with the above thoughts, Wayne Grudem, professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, believes that leaders should rejoice in the God-given goodness of business itself pursued in obedience to God.

Specifically, he believes that the following aspects of business activities are to be enjoyed, and thanks given to God for them:

  1. Ownership
  2. Productivity
  3. Employment
  4. Commercial transactions
  5. Profit
  6. Money
  7. Inequality of possessions
  8. Competition
  9. Borrowing and lending

As you might surmise, Grudem believes the above items are fundamentally good things that God has given to the human race, but they all carry many temptations to misuse and wrongdoing.

As you contemplate the list above, reflect on each by asking how God enjoys seeing His character reflected in that action in our lives as well as how that action could lead to sin that does not glorify God.

Set a firm foundation in your life by listing the nine aspects above and writing a one-sentence statement about each that anchors your theology and practice. Here is an example using #1: “God owns it, I manage it, Others see it.”

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 97-1, released July 2019.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> It is a good idea to to know how christians should be good leaders. Thanks
 
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— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.