Biblically Responsible Investing
What Does the Bible Say About Money?
First, we all must agree that the Bible is the divinely inspired, ultimate, and infallible Word of God given to man, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must also agree that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and that He came to save the world to deliver us from sin. Only through Him can we gain access to God the Father.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. —Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
In this verse we see the word mammon is used to represent money. Mammon from the original language was a translation of a common Aramaic word. It was derived from the Hebrew word that meant to be established or to be certain; and thus originally meant to entrust. Before we go on, ask yourself an important question. What do you place your trust in? Mammon was used to describe material wealth or greed, most often personified as a deity. The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence. We see its personification in Luke 16:9, Luke 16:11, Luke 16:13, and Matthew 6:24. Webster’s dictionary defines mammon as: 1) the false God of riches and avarice. 2) Riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? —Matthew 6:25
This is a verse that Madison Avenue wouldn’t want the world to implement I am sure. Imagine what could happen if we took this verse to heart in America. We spend billions on food and clothing each year, yet millions of people in the world will go to sleep hungry and naked tonight. How much different can the world be if we all did our part?
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. —Philippians 4:11-12
This scripture does not say, I want to be rich, or I am unhappy about being poor. It talks about contentment. Contentment is a heart issue. I believe this is the biggest reason many do not receive the scriptures about finances taught in the Bible. I will talk about God’s will and our responsibilities to unlock an overflow from the Lord later, but for now, realize that abundance is not provided to us so we can buy boats, cars and houses. It is to be used to further the Kingdom of God. Many preach on God’s goodness to provide wealth for their own use. I am preaching on God’s goodness to provide blessings to others. Paul speaks of contentment, and that is the key word here; so before we move on you need to have a clear understanding of God’s will and His intentions. We must be content in our seasons, no matter what they are; that is how God allows us to go from glory to glory. The Bible talks about money more than anything else, even more than Heaven, Hell and salvation. This issue has plagued man since the dawn of time, second only to lust of the flesh.
In the King James Version of the Bible, money is referenced in the form of gold, silver, and wealth some 870 times. Giving is mentioned 2,165 times. To put this in perspective, wisdom is mentioned 234 times, love is spoken of 310 times, joy 165 times, faith 247 times, and angels are mentioned 273 times. Only God, Jesus, and sin are mentioned more than money in both testaments of the Bible. There is a reason for this. The quest for wealth has toppled kingdoms, caused millions to perish, destroyed families, and instilled a life of crime in some for generations. However, there are those that have done wonderful things for the Kingdom of God with their resources.
Many have the attitude that money is evil. After all it is the root of all evil, right? Wrong! What the scriptures actually tell us is that the love of money is evil, not the money itself. Money by itself can do nothing right or wrong. For years this scripture has been incorrectly interpreted and more importantly, incorrectly taught. It is my opinion that no other scripture is more misunderstood and misquoted. We have all heard money is the root of all evil so much so that we actually start to believe that is how the scripture reads.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. –1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. — (ISV)
So you see it is how we think of the money, or our heart issues that dictate what the true evil is. Money, in and of itself, has no evil qualities what-so-ever. God created everything, yes, even money! Let’s look at this scripture along with the verses that accompany it prior to and following:
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a Godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NLT)
Notice in verse nine the emphasis is on those who long to be rich. The verb “longing” in this sentence identifies the sin issue. You can be totally broke and long to be rich and fall away from God. This is idolatry. When we long for riches we are trapped by our foolish and harmful desires. Watch the news sometime and count how many crimes have resulted from someone longing to be rich. The quest for wealth is the cause of ruin and destruction of lives, families, and separates us from God. As the title states, everything we have is God’s to begin with. He’s more or less just letting us use it while we are here in our earthly suit. Our heavenly suit will not have a need for money once we reach our final reward. Since the streets of Heaven are paved with gold, and the gates are made from giant pearls, it is obvious riches have no numismatic value there.
So God was the creator of everything that was ever created including all of our financial resources, get it?
Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.— Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)
The word dominion comes from the Hebrew word radah, meaning to rule over, to reign over that which is owned by God. As illustrated in Strong’ Exhaustive Concordance. Radah, (raw-daw); a prim. Root; to tread down, i.e. subjugate; spec. to crumble off (come to, make to) have dominion, In other words, God has given us the ability and the command to rule and reign over his property and to become faithful stewards. Then God gave us dominion over the earth. We have the power to rule the earth as given by God, thus the resources we utilize in that dominion also come from him.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. —–Genesis 1:27-28 (KJV)
To Tithe or Not to Tithe? That’s Not the Question.
God was very clear from the beginning how His church was to receive its provision. After God used Moses to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt, He gave each tribe specific roles. The Levites were the priests. Since they had no way of producing income, they were totally dependent upon the other tribes for one hundred percent of their food and support. In other words, they did not eat unless it was directly given to them by their brothers.
Churches today are no different. The church is totally dependent upon the body of Christ to meet its obligations. In the Old Testament the tithe was to be brought in to the Temple, and that is how God provided provisions for the Levite priests. A tithe is money given by you to the church from which you are being fed.
Tithing is generally the only source of income the church receives. If the congregation refuses to tithe, then the church will have a hard time keeping the lights on and the public address system fired up for worshipping the Lord, and yes, this is also how the administrators of the church get paid. This is the way God set up the pay scale for the Levites in the Old Testament. Read: 2 Corinthians 9:7, 2 Corinthians 13:1-4, and John 10:12-13.
God uses money while we are on earth to teach, groom, and even correct us. But most importantly He uses money to keep our obedience in check. Where your treasure is there is your heart, thus the most important thing we can give God is our obedience. After all, what else could we possibly give God?
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. —Malachi 3: 10 (KJV)
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. —(NAS)
Malachi, an Old Testament prophet, stated that the first ten percent of what God blesses us with must go back to God. Notice I said what God blesses us with, not what we earn. This is the first and most important facet we must get our head around. It all comes from God, thus it’s not ours to begin with. God is our source, not our jobs; our inheritance is with the Kingdom of God, not man. We are first introduced to the word tithe in Genesis after Abraham defeated Chedorlaomer (Kedorlaomer) King of Elam in his quest to get his nephew Lot free from captivity.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he [Abram] gave him a tithe of all. —Genesis 14:18-20 (NKJV)
Melchizedek was given a tithe, or one tenth of the spoils of war Abraham received in an act of grace, not obligation. This is very important to understand. So many get hung up on the percentage of giving that they lose sight of the big picture. It is how your heart approaches the subject of the tithe that matters. Melchizedek in his office of high priest received a tithe from Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20). Thus tithing took place over a century before the Old Covenant was made at Sinai. Abraham was paying tithes for about one hundred and forty years before Levi, the father of the Levites and Abraham’s great-grandson, was born. Obviously since this was before the law was written, tithing is older than the law itself. So in my opinion we cannot say tithing is part of the law, at least in its inception.