Imagine you suddenly got $1,000. Where would it go? Chances are you’d want to go in one of two directions with it. Either you think of new stuff you can get with it (the spenders), or you would want to stash it away (the savers). Neither response is wrong in itself, but both can grow out of proportion. For spenders, money too often assumes the role of their significance. They use it to enhance their image or their comfort. For savers, money assumes the role of trust. They use it to ensure that the future is going to be OK.
When we look to money as our significance or our trust, something’s gone wrong. Only God should be our significance and our trust. The problem isn’t money itself; it’s that money has kicked God off the throne as first and best.
3. Do you think of yourself as an owner or steward of your blessings?
There are two ways to live when it comes to our resources. We can see them as ours—to use as we please—or we can see them as God’s—to use as he pleases. When God blesses us richly, it’s not to increase our standard of living. It’s to increase our standard of giving.
We were meant to be channels of God’s blessing, but too many of us want to be reservoirs. God blessed us so that we would bless others. As Paul says, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way” (2 Cor 9:10). What this means is that if you don’t give generously, you’re actually stealing. You are embezzling God’s money.
Think about how upset you would be if you made a huge donation to Feed The Children, then found out that 90 percent of the money went to the CEO (and not, you know, feeding the children). You’d be outraged, because that guy was stealing money that wasn’t meant for him. We are that CEO. Each person in the church is a “nonprofit organization,” and God has made donations to us because he wants us to use them for his mission. If we sit on those donations or use them for our own luxury, we’re taking what doesn’t belong to us.
The irony of all this is that the more we cling to money as ours, the more it seems to slip away from us. As Martin Luther said, “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” What you keep is all you’ll have—and even that you’ll lose eventually. But what you give, God multiplies.