Everything belongs to God. That house you’ve just paid off after 40 years of blood, sweat and tears, that car sitting proudly on the drive, those new pair of trainers, the phone in your pocket, the sofa you might be sitting on right now – it all belongs to God.
Psalm 24:1: ‘The earth is the Lord’s – and everything in it’!
In our Western capitalist culture, that’s a bit awkward; we work hard, we sweat, we put the hours in, we dream, we gain, we achieve – for it all to belong to God? But who put the breath in our lungs to grunt at the alarm clock that gets us up for work? Or who inspired the genius to create the car to get us to work? Or who gave you the hands to complete that project, to build that wall, or the brain to complete that spreadsheet or prescribe that medicine? The answer is God. The earth is the Lord’s – and everything in it.
God being creator means God is owner; the copyright on everything belongs to Him.
Any discussion about God and money has to start here with God as owner.
But God the owner has delegated the ruling. To you, and to me.
‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26).
It’s right there – God the owner, man the ruler.
And more; ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground… The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’’ (Genesis 1:28, 2:15)
Its right there again; rule, increase, work the garden, look after.
Man looking after what God already owns. There’s no greater responsibility than to take care of that which God has handed to us.
And when it comes to money, God, who already owns it all, has given us job to look after it. He does want our money, but He wants much more than that – He wants our hearts.
Yes, that’s right. I said it. God wants your hearts more than He wants your money. But Jesus said that you can tell where someone’s heart is, is by checking out where their wallet is!
Matthew 6:21 ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’.
Now most of us would have expected Jesus to put it the other way round; where your heart is, that’s where you’ll spend your money. But Jesus doesn’t say that. He said wherever you put your money, your heart will follow. You put your money into stocks and shares, and guess where your heart is? You out your money into redeveloping your home, guess where your heart is?
Please hear me. These things are ok. They are good gifts. But lousy gods. And they’ll let us down, and demand more from us than they’ll ever give us. So Jesus is kind in challenging us to give our treasure to what will only ever give more than it takes, build up more than it tears down, and satisfies more than the sweetest wine – Jesus.
So if you want a heart for Jesus - put your treasure there.
I love the local church. I always have. I was privileged to be brought up going to church, seeing the local church as a great hope in a dark world. By God’s grace, I learnt many years ago to sow financially into it. Admittedly not gladly at first. It was hard. It was ‘my’ money, I haven’t always agreed with what my church is doing, or liked what I’m hearing! But I found as I kept going, giving to God first, before anything else, my love for Jesus and His house grew – my heart followed my wallet. I couldn’t afford to wait until I felt like it.
Maybe today you have too much debt to even think about giving to God. Debt is serious and sad and is not how God intends us to look after what He has given us. If you are in debt today, then I want to tell you that regardless of how you may have ended up in that situation, God loves you and so do we. Contact the church office and we will help you confidentially and point you to people who can help you be free from this cycle of living. But don’t let debt stop you. God has a way for you, a way out. Will you trust Him today?
Perhaps in this season, you just don’t have much affection for the church. You’d rather give your money elsewhere, even to noble causes. That’s great. But how about testing Jesus at His word and sowing your treasure into the local church with the faith and confidence that Jesus will start to captivate your heart once again with a love for Him and his house.
“Where your treasure is – there your heart will be also”. Jesus.
Questions for application:
- How do I feel about the church asking for money? Why do I feel that way?
- Does Jesus really own everything? Do I see it that way, or is there anything He can’t lay claim to?
- How can I grow in my giving and why should I? What’s in it for me? How is my life going to change?