I know only a very few Christians who are abounding in money.
There are those believers who, like Abraham (Genesis 23:16) or Lydia (Acts 16:14, 40), have more than enough resources to live and still have disposable income to give away. Churches, Bible colleges, seminaries, and Bible camps benefit from wealthy contributors.
But those who abound in money are not the ones who fund ministry. Paul wrote, “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:5-8).
- Paul did not appeal to the wealthy in the Corinthian church. He appealed to the saved in the church.
- Paul taught that giving is not merely a matter of how much income or expenses one has; rather, giving is a matter of how much grace one has received.
- We give out of gratitude for the grace we have received.
For example, in our church four times each calendar year we take Abounding In Thanksgiving offerings. It is important to note these are not named Abounding In Money offerings.
Our AIT offerings are giving that is above and beyond our systematic support of the local church of which we are members. Our AIT offerings are GIFTS TO GOD in grateful response for His gift to us. Our AIT offerings are sacrificial.
To give in an AIT offering likely means a giver chooses not to use that money for something else. It may mean no eating out for the next two months. It may mean putting off the purchase of new phone, a new dress, a laptop, a television, or new carpet.
For most of us, participating in an AIT offering will not be because we have an abundance of money. For most of us, participating in an AIT offering will be because we have an abundance of gratitude.
This is why we encourage everyone to participate. We all have been the recipients of God’s grace, and we are thankful to Him for His gift to us.
But we not only display our thanksgiving to God in our financial giving; we display our thanksgiving to God in the abundant offering of every resource we have. For example, none of us abounds in time, but to serve the Lord requires we relinquish our limited time to do the work of a disciple. To connect, care, converse, or chase requires time, a limited, not an abundant resource. When we give of that precious commodity to the work of the Lord and His gospel, we can abound in thanksgiving to Him.
Jesus talked a lot about money. Jesus talked about money more than he did heaven and hell combined. Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God. We know our Lord regularly taught in parables. Of the 39 parables recorded in the New Testament, 11 address money.
Admittedly, many pastors find preaching on money as difficult as preaching on divorce. We are self-conscious that our hearers will conclude our preaching on money is self-serving. Still, Jesus taught with authority on the subject and so should those who echo his words to his followers.
Coins and bills have no moral value. They are metal and paper, nothing more and nothing less. Having or not having money neither makes a person unrighteous nor righteous. The place we give to money is a moral matter and requires the teaching of Jesus to give ethics to how we earn money and how we spend money. Acquiring, giving, using and spending money is a moral issue. We need Jesus’s teachings to direct our thinking about money.
What do you know about money from the teachings of Jesus? The point of this Musing is not to tell you everything Jesus says about money but to prompt in your mind the question, “How does the teaching of Jesus impact my comprehensive approach toward money?”
- Type “Jesus and money” in your search and broaden your understanding of what Jesus said about money.
- Ask a Christian friend, mentor, or fellow church member, “What do you know about money from the teachings of Jesus?” Listen to the answer and talk about Jesus’s teaching.
- Pray for your pastor as he endeavors to preach the teachings of Jesus, including his teachings on money.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.