Did you know that the Bible talks more on the subject of finances than even faith or salvation? There are over two thousand verses on money and finances. Sixteen of the twenty-eight parables that Jesus told were about finances. Why would God speak so much on this subject?
I remember reading the account of the rich young ruler that Jesus asked to sell all he had, give it to the poor and come follow Him. Let's read this from the Amplified Bible. Luke 18:27 says, "And a certain ruler asked Him, Good Teacher [You who are essentially and perfectly morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah's kingdom]? Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me [essentially and perfectly morally] good? No one is [essentially and perfectly morally] good--except God only. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not witness falsely, honor your father and your mother.
And he replied, All these I have kept from my youth. And when Jesus heard it, He said to him, One thing you still lack. Sell everything that you have and divide [the money] among the poor, and you will have [rich] treasure in heaven; and come back [and] follow Me [become My disciple, join My party, and accompany Me]. But when he heard this, he became distressed and very sorrowful, for he was rich--exceedingly so. Jesus, observing him, said, How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle's eye than [for] a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. And those who heard it said, Then who can be saved? But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God."
Was Jesus against wealth? Or was He against the power that enslaves and corrupts those who look to wealth and riches as their source of power and livelihood? I believe this young man was entrapped by the spirit of Mammon, a demonic lord that sought to manipulate his attitude toward money and put him in bondage to its power. All Jesus was trying to do was to alert this young ruler to the deception working in his life. Because whatever you make the primary source of power in your life becomes your god. He also missed the opportunity to be with Jesus full time. Jesus only hand picked a few disciples to be His closest comrades and this young man declined the offer because of the strong hold that his wealth had on him.
I found a Scripture that really ministers to me on how much God cares about us and how He desires us to prosper in this life. In 3 John 1:2 the scriptures tells us, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers." The Greek word for 'prosper' is euodoo. This word means, "to help on the road; succeed in reaching; to succeed in business affairs; have a prosperous journey." I ask you this question, can you have a good journey if you don't have adequate provision? God desires us to succeed in our business ventures, in our jobs and everything we put our hands to.
In Psalm 35:27 it tells us that God takes pleasure in our prosperity. Moreover, He wants to help us accomplish this. Why? Well, God has an agenda. In His economy, prosperity is the means to an end--world evangelism. God is primarily interested in saving the lost. He said in Mark 16:15 "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." How do we do that unless we have resources to accomplish this great task? Poverty stricken people are limited in their ability to accomplish this task.
Therefore, the question arises, "How do we qualify in God's economy for prosperity?" God uses money to reveal how much we look to Him as our ultimate source and He also wants to help us be better managers of His resources. After all, God owns everything. He said in Psalm 50 that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. By the way, He also owns the hills (Psalm 24:1).
Read what 1 Chron. 29:11-12 has to say, "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as Head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hands are power and might; in Your hands it is to make great and to give strength to all." Would you say that God is wealthy? I would! If He owns the heavens and the earth and everything in the earth, I would say He owns it all. Can He give some of it to you? Yes, He can. However, if you were God, would you pick you to hand over your wealth to? Now we are getting personal.
Let me give you a typical scenario and I will let you be the judge in this situation. You have been given a large sum of money to manage. You are told by the owner to give to the worthiest cause. Now, there are two men who are in need of your resources. They both arrive at your office asking for you to give to them. The first man is totally broke, he has quit his job because he didn't like it, so now he cannot pay his mortgage. He needs gas for his car and he is in debt up to his ears from overspending and racking up credit card debt. That last vacation to Hawaii took a real chunk out of his budget--WHAT BUDGET!
The second man is a well dressed businessman who doesn't ask for anything for himself as he has budgeted his money properly and doesn't owe anyone anything because he only buys what he can afford. However, this man comes in asking you to invest your money into a project that he is working on in India. He has planted a large orphanage and the children have so many needs. Which one would you give to? I hope the answer is obvious to you. God doesn't bless mismanagement.
According to Luke 16:10-12, the Wuest translation states "He who is faithful in a very little and therefore can be relied upon, is faithful also in much and can be relied upon there. And he who violates law and justice in a very little thing does the same also in regard to much. Since you therefore were not faithful in the use of the riches, which are the object, and desire of the unrighteous world, who will entrust you with that wealth which is genuine? And in view of the fact that you were not faithful in the use of that which belongs to another person, who will give you that wealth which is your own?"
If He can't trust you with the little He has already given you, why would He trust you with more? This is such a powerful scripture. If you want God's resources, you need to learn to be a good steward of the provision He has already entrusted you with. You must be faithful with little money to qualify for true riches. So, the first step in managing the Kingdom finances is to have your own personal budget in biblical order. Now that's a scary thought isn't it?
How many of us know exactly what our money is doing and where it is going? Since God is our source and money is our slave to do kingdom work, we should always know where our money is going and we should be directing its activity. A master always knows what the slave is doing. Unfortunately, we have no control over our finances and our money is just flying out the window at will. Suppose your hand went into your pocket any time it wanted, pulled out your money and spent it independent of your head? Would you trust your hand anymore?
This is how God feels when we act independent of Him; soon you will not have the resources to do anything you want to anymore. God will cut you off just like you wouldn't put any money in your pocket anymore if your hand was to continue acting independent of your head. This is why we need to start thinking about getting control of our finances. Start being responsible with the resources God has already entrusted you with. How can you handle millions for God when you can't even balance your bank statement and you don't know where your money is being spent?
Brothers and sisters, I may seem harsh but God is calling us to higher things. We all need to be better stewards of all that He has given us. Our life style steals the money we need to obey God with. If you prove yourself faithful over time, God will entrust you with more. You must grow in wisdom with God and man in order to qualify for more responsibility and more resources from God. Money is to serve us as we serve the Lord! We are the lord over mammon not the other way around and if your stewardship is 100% faithful, you will be exalted. If your stewardship is faulty and unfaithful, you will be demoted. If you prove yourself to be the unjust steward, the Lord will simply look for another son to do His business that will be faithful in the handling of His finances.
Won't you examine yourself and take a close hard look at your financial situation. God wants to increase your capacity to receive His resources. Have you asked Him lately to show you how to better manage what He has placed in your hands? Will you be that faithful son that only does what He sees the Father do? Isn't that what Jesus said He did? God wants to have the blessings of heaven come and overflow upon you. Do you have the capacity to receive all He has to give?
Maybe it is time to make some changes in your life and allow God to show you where those changes need to be made. May you have a good prosperous journey in this lifetime with enough provision to accomplish all that God has predestined you to do.