Your Money ~ A Spiritual Force for Good!

If a Pastor wants to get in “quick and deep” trouble with the congregation, let him or her preach about the evil nature of money and the call from Jesus to “sell all that you own” and “give all your money to the poor.” The truth is that Jesus knew the perils of money in our lives and its power to lead us astray from a life of faithfulness.                                                                                                                                                                   And because he knew that, he showed us a way to turn that danger around and instead teach us how money can indeed by a spiritual force for good in our lives – a concept I call “blessed money.”  If you read the Gospels closely, you will discover that Jesus talks about money a lot! He brings it up in his teachings, in his parables and in his commands. He understands the power that money can have over us, but he also knows that the power can become “kingdom” power when we learn to approach our money and its use in a spiritually led way.  As people of relative abundance, imagine the spiritual power we could muster up if we all dedicated our wealth to God’s use instead of our own use. Instead of thinking of the money we possess as something we own, think of the money we have been gifted with as something God owns. The truth is, God really does own it, just as God owns all things.  To make that leap from “my money” to “God’s money” requires us to do something that we have a really hard time doing: seeing the world from outside of ourselves. When Jesus commands us to put God and neighbor first, he is essentially telling us to move over and make ourselves less important as we make God and others most important. This is a fundamental aspect of personal conversion, and Jesus teaches this lesson over and over again in many different ways in the Gospels: deny yourself; be born again; become a servant of all; love God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind – and love your neighbor as yourself.  Once we accomplish this, then we have one more step that is required: seeing our lives as extending beyond this world. Jesus teaches us that the Kingdom of God has come – and it’s all around us. He is telling us that eternity has broken into this world and we can now live the eternal life of abundance that God had planned for us all along. With this understanding, we are freed from the urges to use our money for temporal things for ourselves, thinking that this life is all we have and we should buy as much stuff as we can before we die. Instead, Jesus teaches us to use our money for eternal purposes, for things that don’t get eaten by moths, and to store our treasures in heaven. Imagine if we used our money solely for eternal purposes – for things like love, compassion, justice, healing, and comforting. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t buy stuff or own possessions, but it does mean that in all the things we spend our own money on – each and every one of them either has or is used for an eternal purpose of God. Examples: the new boat becomes the venue for the Sunday afternoon adult Bible study; the new kitchen appliances become a way to gift the used ones to someone in need; the new van gets used for transporting seniors to and from church every Sunday; the new clothes means I can donate some gently worn clothes to shelters or halfway houses; the restaurant bill provides a way for me to help assist a single mom working 2 jobs to make ends meet and raising 3 kids by matching the amount of the bill to the tip I leave; and on and on it goes. Turning money into “blessed money” becomes a way of life.  Imagine if a church decided to turn all of the congregation’s money into blessed money. Just think of the impact that would have – and not just on those who would be the beneficiaries of the gifting, but even more so, the spiritual impact that would have on the individuals in the church who surrendered their need to own and control “their” money and instead gave it all away to God, and used it all as blessed money for kingdom purposes.  That, my friends, is what Jesus teaches us to do. And in so doing, money gets transformed from being one the greatest dangers to our faith lives into one of the most powerful spiritual forces for good in our lives.  Think about it. Definitely pray about it. And then start. Do something blessed with your money once a day. Get into the habit of seeing the money that you have as God’s money. And then see the blessings begin to flow. And follow God’s lead to new ways to bless your money every day!

If you do, the day will come when you wake up and realize that you’ve become the richest person you know!       In His Name & By His Way <>< Pastor Bob