It’s the end of the year – the time some folks think more about their giving. After all, if they “give” enough, they can claim a deduction for their taxes – at least if they have plenty of money to give and think they need the tax break.
Jesus never said that it is wrong to have money – or to have wealth. What is wrong, He said, is to have our treasure in our earthly possessions, which of course, includes our money. Our heart holds our treasure, He said. All we need to do is look where our heart lies, and that tells us where our treasure is.
Scripture never tells us that money is the root of evil. In a letter to Timothy, Paul told him that the love of money is the root of all evil.
I can be dirt poor and still love money that I don’t have. That love of money is what is wrong, not because I said so, but because the Word says so. Loving money intensely can pull us away from God. Scripture says so.
The wealthy man who outgrew his barns and decided to tear them down and build bigger was making an investment. The problem is that his investment was geared toward himself instead of others. Because of this, he was called a fool. His soul had lost its way.
Jesus suggests a better way: become rich toward God. How do we do that?
We invest in our relationship with Jesus Christ. This means taking time to read His word and listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. It doesn’t mean we’re a failure if we don’t have our devotional time without fail day in and day out. It means that, when we skip that time, we miss it. We’re thirsty for more instead of subsisting on less.
We invest in others. Sometimes that means time, and sometimes it means finances. Sometimes it is both. Being too busy or too tired is never a good enough reason to not be able or willing to give our abilities, resources, and time to others.
We invest in the Kingdom. This includes our local body of believers. It also includes the broader church. Sometimes this means we give financially to support other programs or missionaries. Sometimes it means we invest in our community, our neighbors, and friends.
Investing takes time, energy, and our abilities. Whether we’re investing in those closest to us or those we have never met, giving is not a choice if we want to be rich toward God.
The Question to Answer
There’s a question I ask myself when there’s something out there I’d like to have – or something I don’t want to do or give. Sometimes the answer makes me squirm, and sometimes I can smile.
What is my purpose in making that extra dollar or hoarding that extra item I could do without? What is in it for Him? Is this about me or about the Kingdom?
The answer always, always lets me know whether I am rich – or poor – toward God.