`Money answereth all things.' -- Eccles. 10:19
`I verily dedicate the silver unto the Lord from my hand.' -- Judg. 17:3
`Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back mine own with interest.' -- Matt. 25:27
It is in his dealing with the world and its possessions, that the Christian finds one of the opportunities in which he is to manifest his self-denial and the spirit of discretion. (John 17:15,16; 1 Cor. 7:31) Since it is in money that all value or property on earth will finds its expression, so it is especially in his dealing with money that he can show whether he is free from worldliness to deny himself and to serve his God. In order rightly to comprehend this, we must consider for a little what falls to be said about money.
What is money the token of? It is the token of the work by which a man earns it: of his industry, and zeal, and ability in that work: of his success and the blessing of God upon the work. It is also the token of all that I can do with money: the token of the work that others would do for me, of the power that I thereby have to accomplish what I desire, of the influence which I exercise on those that are dependent upon me for my money: a token of all the possessions or enjoyments that are to be obtained by money: a token of all upon earth that can make life desirable: yea, a token of life itself, which without the purchase of indispensable food cannot be supported.
Money is thus, indeed, of earthly things, one of the most desirable and fruitful. No wonder that it is thus esteemed by all.
What is the danger of money? What is the sin that is done with it, that the Bible and experience should so warn us to be prudent in dealing with it? There is the anxiousness that knows not if there will be sufficient money. (Matt. 6:31) There is the coveteousness that longs too much for it. (1 John 2:16) There is the dishonesty that, without gross deception or theft, does not give to a neighbour what belongs to him. (Jas. 5:4) There is the lovelessness that would draw everything to one's self and does not keep another. (Luke 16:21) There is love of money, which seeks after riches and lands in avarice. (1 Tim. 6:9,10,17) There is robbery of God and the poor in withholding the share that belongs to them. (Prov. 7:24,26; Ma. 3:8)
What is the blessing of money? If the danger of sin is so great, would it not be better if there were no money? Is it not better to be without money? No: even for the spiritual life money may be a great blessing: as an exercise in industry and activity, (Prov. 13:4; 18:19) in care and economy: as a token of God's blessing upon our work: (Prov. 10:4,22) as an opportunity for showing that we can possess and lay it out for God, without withholding it or cleaving to it; that by means of it we can manifest our generosity to the poor and our overflowing love for God's cause: (Isa. 47:7,8,10,11; 2 Cor. 8:14,15) as a means of glorifying God by our beneficence, and of spreading among men the gold of heavenly blessing: (2 Cor. 9:12,13) as a thing that, according to the assurance of Jesus, we can exchange for a treasure in heaven. (Matt. 19:21; Luke 12:33)
And what is now the way to be freed from the danger and to be led into the right blessing of money?
Let God be Lord over your money. Receive all your money with thanksgiving, as coming from God in answer to the prayer: `Give us this day our daily bread.' (1 Chron. 29:14)
Lay it all down before God as belonging to Him. Say with the woman: `I verily dedicate the silver unto the Lord.' (1 Tim. 4:4,5)
Let your dealing with your money be a part of your spiritual life. Receive, and possess, and give out your money as one who has been bought at a high price, redeemed, not with silver and gold, but with the precious blood. (Luke 19:8)
Make what the word of God says of money, of earthly good, a special study. The word of the Father alone teaches how the child of the Father is to use blessing.
Reflect much on the fact that it is not given to you for yourself alone, but for you and your brethren together. The blessing of money is to do good to others, and make them rejoice.
Remember especially that it can be given up to the Father and the service of His kingdom for the upbuilding of His spiritual temple, for the extension of His sway. Every time of spiritual blessing mentioned in Scripture was a time of cheerful giving for God's cause. Even the outpouring of the Holy Spirit make itself known in the giving of money for the Lord. (Ex. 36:5; 1 Chron. 29:6,9; Acts. 2:15; 4:34)
Christian, understand it: all the deepest deliberations of the heart and its most spiritual activities can manifest themselves in the way in which we deal with our money. Love to God, love to our neighbour, victory over the world by faith, the hope of everlasting treasure, faithfulness as steward, joy in God's service, cheerful self-denial, holy discretion, the glorious freedom of the children of God, can all be seen in the use of money. Money can be the means of the most glorious fellowship with God, and the full enjoyment of the blessedness of being able to honour and serve Him.
Lord God, make me rightly discern in what close connection my money stands with my spiritual life. Let the Holy Spirit lead and sanctify me, so that all my earning and receiving, my keeping and dispensing of money may always be well-pleasing to Thee and a blessing to my soul. Amen.
1. John Wesley always said that there were three rules about the use of money which he gave to men in business, and by which he was sure that they would experience benefit.
Make as much money as you can. Be industrious and diligent.
Save as much money as you can. Be no spendthrift, live frugally and prudently.
Give away as much money as you can. That is the divine destination of money; that makes it an everlasting blessing for yourselves and others.
2. Acquaint yourself with the magnificent prayer of David in 1 Chron. 29. Receive it into your soul; it teaches us the blessedness and the glorification of God that spring from cheerful giving.