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How can I be both wise and generous with my money?

We are to use the money God has given us to give, save and live.


LIVE


Much of the money God has given us will go toward our living expenses - providing for our basic needs and the needs of our families. Paul teaches that “anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5.8). He also teaches us that “everything God created is good” (1 Timothy 4.4), and God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6.17). This means we can give thanks to God and use the money God has given us as we pay the rent, buy the school uniforms, and pick up the groceries. It’s also worth remembering that there is a place for celebration and rest in the Christian life (Psalm 104.14-15; Ecclesiastes 3.1-8; John 2.1- 11; Luke 15.22-24). This means we can give thanks to God and enjoy using money even as we throw parties and go on holidays! Of course as we do these things we need to guard against greed (Luke 12.15), which is idolatry (Colossians 3.5). Like all of God’s good gifts, money - and the things we buy with it - can easily enslave us (Matthew 6.24).


SAVE


Some of the money God gives to us we will save. The book of Proverbs praises the wisdom of the ant who saves food for the future (Proverbs 6.6-11). Joseph is another model of wisdom when he stores up grain in a time of famine (Genesis 45.5-11). We don’t save because we fear the future (Matthew 6.25-33), nor do we save in order to store up treasures for ourselves (Matthew 6.19). If we save, it should be so we don’t become a burden to others (2 Thessalonians 3.6-13), and so we can have something to share with others (Acts 20.34-35; Ephesians 4.28), this could include passing on an inheritance to our children (Proverbs 13.22).


GIVE


God provides us with money so that we can live and save. But above all, God calls us to give and share with others. In particular, it is a biblical principle that we should work out our giving first, and then live and save from what is left (Genesis 4.3-5; Exodus 23.19; Proverbs 3.9; 1 Corinthians 16.2).


There are at least three reasons we should be generous:


  1. To reflect God’s likeness: When we give - and especially when we give to those who don’t deserve it - we become like our heavenly Father, who gave his own Son for his enemies (Romans 5.8-11).


  1. To store up treasure in heaven: Jesus urges us to “store up treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6.20) and teaches that those who give away possessions in his name to provide for others will have treasure in heaven (Mark 10.21). Paul encourages us that “whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9.6).


  1. To guard against idolatry: It is hard to worship money if you are always giving it away. For this reason, Paul commanded those who are rich in this present life “do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6.18-19).



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