“Checkbooks & Spirituality”

Posted: October 26, 2012 in 1 Corinthians, Dispensations, Giving, Thanksgiving

  “The most sensitive nerve in the human body is the one that reaches from a person’s hand to his checkbook.” Do you agree or disagree? Some people refer to the checkbook as a “spiritual journal.”  What could other people learn about you if they were allowed to look into your check book? On what kind of things did you spend your money? Which things are absolutely essential and which are discretionary things? With what should Christians be content (1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5)?

Counselor. Suppose you were having money problems and decided to visit a financial advisor. He might ask you to keep a journal of all the money you receive and spend in a month. That might be hard for some people. Can you “window shop” without buying something?  Do you abuse your credit card? Do you pay just the minimum balance each month or do you pay off the whole amount? Did you know that compounding interest can work for or against you?

Needs. Are you a young adult weighed down with car payments, a big mortgage or high rent, credit card bills, or paying off a college debt? Would you like some advice from God’s Word to help you make wise decisions? Are you an older adult in your retirement years with your home paid off and a steady retirement income? Would you like to do something that could bring you greater joy during the rest of your life? If so, read on.

Evil. Money is not the root of all evil. It is the “love of money” that is (1 Timothy 6:10). It is a part of this present world system over which Satan himself rules (Matthew 4:8, 9; Ephesians 2:2). It is something that a Christian can use on earth but we aren’t supposed to abuse it (1 Corinthians 7:31). It’s possible for maturing Christians to misdirect their “agape” love away from God to the things of this world that are all passing away (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Peter 3:10-12). But we who are Christians can/should glorify God by the way we earn, save, give, and spend money. Believe it or not, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Jesus

Stewards. Do you think of yourself as an owner or a manager of someone else’s things? “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17). Think about this, “What do you have that you did not receive” (1 Corinthians 4:7)? Most people are proud of something. It might be their race, face, or place in life. Don’t boast about it; you could lose some things in a flash.

Communism. The Apostle Peter warned us against those who would twist the Scriptures for their own advantage (2 Peter 3:16). There are many teachers and preachers within Christendom who misuse the words of Jesus (Red Letter Christians). They try to tell us that socialism or communism is what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and what the early church practiced (Acts 4:32-37). Not so! What happened in the early days of the church was a temporary situation that gave the richer Christians an opportunity to share with those in need. Barnabas gave willingly, he wasn’t forced to sell his land and give it to others.

Sermon. The Sermon on the Mount was addressed to Jews (not Christians) who were anticipating Christ’s earthly kingdom (Daniel 2:44, 45) when things will be dramatically different. They rejected Him (John 1:11) and had Him crucified by the Romans.  When He returns to this earth to set up His kingdom, all of man’s needs will be met (Isaiah 2:4; 11:1ff; 35:1ff), the devil will be bound in the Abyss for a 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-7), and the sin nature of man will be curbed though not eradicated (Jeremiah 31:34). By the way, all Christians still have a sin nature (1 John 1:8), but they also have a nature from above (2 Peter 1:3, 4). This is why Christians are sometimes doing sinful things they shouldn’t be doing.

Poor People. Jesus said, “For the poor you have with you always…” (John 12:8). He was chiding those who were condemning the woman who anointed His feet with costly oil. Judas and the others thought she was wasting money that should have been given to the poor.

Government. The government’s stealing from the rich and giving to the poor doesn’t help matters. Socialism or communism hasn’t worked in the past and can’t work today while man still has a sin nature.  It tempts him to be jealous, covetous, or envious of what others have. These attitudes can even lead Christians to commit murder (1 John 3:15; 4:20; James 4:1ff). A Christian can overcome these lusts by learning how to filled with the Spirit and to walk by means of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-25). Are you yielding to sinful lusts or living victoriously over your sin nature?

Capitalism. Even though many people abuse this system, it’s not condemned in the Scriptures. (Do you know what the best form of government is?  Any form of government is better than anarchy.)  Before you can honestly give something to another person in need, you must own it as your own. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something [i. e. own something] to give to him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28).

Tithing Or Tipping? Did you know that in the Old Testament times, the Jews were required to tithe 23% of their gross income (Numbers 18:20-32; Deuteronomy 14:23-29)? They gave to be blessed (Malachi 3:8). Christians shouldn’t give “to be blessed” but can/should give because “we have been blessed” with spiritual and material blessings that God gives to us (Ephesians 1:3; James 1:17). Do you “give to get,” or “get to give?” If you attend church, what kind of a “tip” do you give? Why?  Do you give more to the waitress when you eat out?  Do you give grudgingly or cheerfully?

Thanks. The Christian’s giving is called a spiritual sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15, 16). When we give, we should be expressing our gratitude to God for an income (Ephesians 5:20), and expressing our faith in Him to keep on supplying all our needs while we are here on earth (Philippians 4:19).

Humor? A church member refused to participate in an offering for missions. When an usher passed the offering plate to him the miserly member muttered gruffly, “I’m not going to put anything in; I don’t believe in missions.” “Then take something out,” replied the usher, “it’s for the heathen.”

Motive. If you give to charity or to a church, why do you do it? Is it to gain favor with God or to earn your way to heaven? Maybe it makes you feel good or gets you notoriety so people will refer to you as a great philanthropist (Matthew 6:1). Jesus denounced the scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites. He said, “You devour widows’ houses, and for pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14). Yes, there are degrees of suffering in hell as there are degrees of pleasure in heaven. Where will you spend eternity?

Principles. The Apostle Paul gave Christians some guide lines to help us in our decisions concerning the use of money and our giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). It should be systematic, an individual matter, consistent, proportionate, and private.

Quote. Someone has said, “Under grace, God doesn’t look at the amount on the face of the check, but on the balance left on the tab. The man who makes $50,000 and gives 50% to the Lord still has far more left than the widow who gives 10% out of her meager allowance of $800 a month.”  Grace teaches us that our giving is not a legal obligation, but is a blessed privilege and becomes a measure of our love for God.

Question. Do you think of yourself as an owner or a steward (manager) of the resources that God has entrusted into your hands? How do you spend your time, your talents, and your treasures? It’s been said, “Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ shall last.” Are you doing all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)? “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?

Help?  If you need spiritual help, call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at www.kelseypeach.com. These articles usually correspond to our talks on Sundays and can be heard on the Internet.  If you’ve been helped by this article, will you let someone else know about it?

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