The following is adapted from the Lenten challenge “40 Acts”, which is about living generously. You can find more about it here: 40 Acts.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (I Timothy 6:10 NIV)
People often think that the phrase goes “money is the root of all evil” but you can see what the actual scripture passage says. Money itself is neutral, it’s the love of money and seeking money over other things more important that brings us to grief.
Take some time to challenge yourself to look honestly at your giving attitudes: do you view it as ‘your money’, or God’s? How much would you like to be able to give, if you could? What causes would you give to? Pray about those things.
Here’s a story by David Flowers from Leeds Vineyard / Flowers McEwan Ltd. Find out more about them and support their chosen charity here.
‘Are you a Christian? How can you do this and wear a cross on your lapel?’
‘This’ was me giving a talk to some medical staff about their financial planning some years ago. I was wearing a suit with a small gold cross tastefully pinned to my lapel. My questioner was a newly qualified Christian doctor for whom (by the turning up of her nose) money was as inevitable yet as distasteful as emptying bedpans.
Interestingly, the Bible in general and Jesus in particular have a lot to say about money – without the upturned nose. The book is full of wisdom about saving, investment, insurance, debt, budgeting and, of course, generosity.
The overwhelming message of scripture is God’s grace to an undeserving creation. And the consistent application of that grace for us as we handle money is in generosity.
In fact, it is not the cash that is dirty; it is our love of cash. We are the recipients of so much grace and generosity from the Father, the least we can do is live generous lives for others. But when our love of money overcomes our generosity we can become resistant to God’s grace. The love of money may be the root of all evil but generosity with money grows good fruit in our lives.
As we learn generosity and how to handle money as recipients of grace, we make better and better decisions about finances in all areas of life. Money is not dirty cash – something that we separate out from our faith. Following Jesus affects everything, including how we spend, invest, borrow and give.
So I turned to the doctor and tried to explain how there was no conflict for me in wearing a cross and talking about money. In the words of John Mumford, founder of Vineyard Churches in the UK, I described life as a Christian as being less like a grapefruit and more like a milkshake. Faith and money should not be tasted in separate segments but all whisked up together!