Updated: Jan 20
I am writing this on November 27 which is "Black Friday", a day on which consumerism goes crazy! Thankfully, next week we will have "Giving Tuesday" to take us back to what really counts! Financial fruitfulness comes from using our money to love others. To love is to give. If you choose money over love, you will always be poor. We need to love people and use money instead of loving money and using people! Someone quipped, “you can use money to buy a dog, but only love will make it wag its tail!” Money is like love. It slowly and painfully destroys the one who withholds it and enriches the other who uses it for the good of his/her neighbour.
The Greek word which is used for love is ‘agape,’ which carries the meaning of sacrificial giving. We give, not out of any duty or compulsion, but because we love God. Giving is the logical reaction to the fact that God loved us first and gave us the most precious gift of all. Salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus.
‘Agape’ love is not really an emotion, but more a devotion. Not a feeling but a conscious choice; a commitment to willingly sacrifice for love of Gods’ work amongst the people He created and whom He loves – believers or not!
Then, to use our money to love our neighbour as ourselves? Who is our neighbour? Jesus answered this question in the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan.’ Our neighbour is one we come across in our daily life who needs help. The Samaritan took time out from his business, helped the one who had been attacked, took him to an inn, paid for his care and even gave the hotelier a kind of ‘blank cheque’ for whatever the man needed! He used his resources to demonstrate love. Love can be costly! (Read Luke 10:29-27)
During the many times I have spoken to people about money, one of the most occurring questions I get asked is about the Biblical tithe. Should I give 10% to the Lord’s work? My answer is no. You should be giving 100% to the Lord so that He can use any or all of the resources under my management in any way he likes and as much as He likes. Only when the commitment to release all of what you control to God has been made will you be in the right place to give at least 10% to God’s work in this world. I ask people I teach; “Who do you think was the most financially free person talked about in the New Testament. I think Jesus Himself told us when he described how a poor widow out two slam copper coins into the offering in the Temple. “She out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Read Luke 21:1-4)
Love is a matter of the heart, which in a Biblical sense is the centre and seat of all spiritual life, the fountain of our thoughts, passions and desires. Money has a strong connection to our hearts, because our heart follows our money. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21) If we apply our money to God’s work, then that’s where our heart will be – with God. A very strong motivation to grow spiritually is to give to Gods work – our heart follows our money! If you want a heart for the lost – give to evangelistic movements. If you want a heart for the church – support your local congregation financially.
If you want a strong marriage, love your partner by planning and managing your finances, in prayer, together.
The dimensions of love are described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. These have a lot to do with money.
· Love is patient. We can learn not to make impulsive buying decisions or to enter int debt, but wait and save for what we want to purchase
· Love is kind. I can be generous and freely give my time, treasure and talents.
· Love does not envy. I can be happy for what another has been able to buy and can be content and thankful for what I have.
· Love does not boast or is arrogant. I can meditate on the fact that all I have in my possession has been given by God out of His grace.
· Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful. I can learn how to manage my money God’s way. He is in control and gives us whatever I need, in His time.
· Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. I need to be honest and truthful in all my financial dealings and reporting.
· Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. When we believe we do not own anything but hold what we have in trust, then we can trust God and be thankful in any circumstances we find ourselves in.
The Beatles sang, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” … true, but giving can make you rich. “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24) Rich in God, rich in good deeds, rich in love!