Editorial - Finance
When we hear the word “FINANCE” our thoughts drift to the business world; we think about banking, investments, assets, liabilities, or money. It also directs our minds to Wall Street in New York City, which is well-known for being the world’s leading FINANCIAL center, where the work of the U.S. FINANCIAL markets, FINANCIAL services industry, and the stock exchange take place. In one way or another, all business people are associated with this FINANCIAL institution—and one of these people is Jeff Bezos. Forbes, an American business magazine, noted in its publication that Jeff Bezos—the CEO of Amazon—is recognized as the number one businessman among the top 10 greatest business leaders of the world today. He is one of the first pioneers in the world of Internet commerce and business. He innovated the concept of “online commerce,” which is more profit-rich and efficient. Bezos also made online shopping a better and more convenient experience for consumers worldwide (https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkwilliams).
However, when we talk about Christian FINANCE, let’s not refer to the huge business industry such as Wall Street or Jeff Bezos, the king of Amazon; rather, let’s talk about how it impacts our spiritual lives.
I still recall how my mother managed her personal FINANCE. Back then, when I was a little lad, my father’s salary was received in cash rather than deposited directly into the bank. My parents never had a 'Promise' plan back then but they set aside 5%of their income as offerings. I remember that whenever my father brought home his salary, the first thing my parents did was pray for the money they received. Then my mother would put aside the tithe and offerings, and place it in a special wallet. She would give pocket money to all her children and ask us to take the tithe and offerings out of our pocket money and take it to the church. The rest of the salary was used for the family living expenses throughout the month. I also remember that every time my mother came home from book canvasing, she would put her tithe and offerings into a piggy bank and take it down to the church at the end of the month. Thanks to her, I learned how to manage my personal FINANCE and the principle of putting God first by setting aside the tithe and offerings first, and handling it as my first priority.
How about Jesus? Have you ever realized that Jesus paid a great deal of attention to FINANCE when He spoke? In the New Testament, Jesus said more about FINANCE or money than He said about heaven and hell together. He talked about FINANCES frequently. Out of 38 parables Jesus told, 16 of them are about FINANCES. He advised His people on how to use money in a proper way. If we dig more deeply into the New Testament, we find there are 500 verses on prayer and fewer than 500 verses on faith—but more than 2,000 verses dealing with FINANCIAL matters. It doesn’t mean that FINANCE is the most important subject in the Bible, but it is a crucial issue to deal with.
In Luke 12 Jesus taught five specific principles that could help us when managing our FINANCES: (1) In verse 15 He said, “‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’”[i] This means that people who have more in material possessions are not necessarily happier. (2) In verse 20 Jesus calls a person who hoards his income for himself and doesn’t generously share it a “fool.” It reads, “ ‘But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (3) Verse 22 says, “‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.’” God wants us to put our trust in Him and promises that He will not leave us behind because we put Him first. (4) Verse 31 says, “‘But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.’”God knows that we become very protective when we have money in our hands. We tend to give less; that’s why God says we have to seek the kingdom of God first in order to receive all the things we need for our lives. (5) Verse 35 says, “‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.’” The time to serve is now. The time to give is now. Not when we get things settled. Stay dressed for action, ready to serve, ready to give, ready to make God first above everything. Verse 38 says, “‘It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.’” Ready . . . Get set . . . Go!!!
[i] All the Bible texts in this article are taken from the New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.