Proverbs 21: 26 (NLT)
“Some people are always greedy for more,
but the godly love to give!”
This is an interesting contrast between people who love God and people who love money. The Bible actually has a lot to say about that.
Jesus taught about our priorities here on earth, and He was very clear about money not being a big priority. I don’t have to explain these verses at all; the message is very obvious.
Matthew 6:19 (NLT) “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Matthew 6:24 (NLT) “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
I really think this is a message that our culture today needs to hear. I do think today’s younger generations are more concerned with social and environmental issues than previous generations. So I think progress has been made in that area. But we still tend to admire and want to follow the example of folks who have made lots of money. I really enjoy watching the various shows on HGTV. Home renovations intrigue me, but if I really think about what I’m watching, it’s how to spend money and have your home look like a home décor advertisement. Is that really our priority?
Jesus caught a young rich man in that dilemma. The young man wanted to follow Jesus; he was likely very attracted to this man who was challenging the current religious practices. But Jesus realized there was an issue he had to deal with – his wealthy family and life of privilege. So Jesus made him face that issue right on.
Matthew 19:21 (NLT) “Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Sadly, when he realized that money couldn’t be a priority, the young man left.
There are some verses in the New Testament written by Paul that instruct Christ followers about money. Again, these verses are very clear and need no explanation.
1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT) “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
1 Timothy 6:17, 18 (NLT) “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”
An interview with Melissa Gates that I once watched at the Global Leadership Summit intrigued me. Melissa and Bill Gates, owners of Microsoft, are one of the richest couples on the planet. Yet Melissa was dressed in an outfit that she could have bought at any clothing store. She wore navy dress pants, a cream plain blouse with a pink jacket. She had a plain wedding band, and no other jewellery. She talked about how her faith prompted her and her husband to share the wealth they had by establishing the Gates Foundation. They have made such a difference in the world by funding health and education projects, and they are encouraging other billionaires to get involved as well. There were some picture clips of her sitting cross-legged with Third World women – something she does several times a year because she wants to know firsthand the issues those women face. She talked about how she needs to spend more time in quiet meditation on those trips in order to keep her focus in the right place. It seemed to me that Melissa Gates demonstrated what those verses said.
Over my lifetime, I’ve struggled between how much I can accumulate or purchase, and how much I should give away. I think it’s important to really think and pray about that issue, especially since we live in such a wealthy country in comparison to most of the world. Solomon challenges us to have a giving mindset.
“The godly love to give.”
Our song for today is Do Something by Matthew West