Re-posting of an article shared by Lino Nabong...
*MONEY AND CHRISTIANITY*
A Holy Week Reflection on Maundy Thursday (March 25, 2005)
By: Lino Nabong
IS WEALTH GOOD OR BAD?
Money is not evil. It is the LOVE OF money that is the root of all
evil. When money becomes your god or master and begin to trust in
it, that's wrong. But when money becomes your slave and you make
and manage it to benefit others and use it for God's purpose in your
life, it becomes a good thing. Not only is it a good thing but it
becomes an act of personal worship. Through it you are
demonstrating that you are not the owner of the wealth but is a
faithful steward of it.
In the first book of Chronicles we find that wealth comes from God.
In Deuteronomy, it says that it is God who gives us the ability to
produce wealth. In Psalms we read that the earth is the Lord's and
everything in it. God is therefore the source of all wealth.
There's absolutely nothing wrong about wealth. It becomes good or
bad depending on how we use it. Just like a knife, it is a useful
tool in the hands of a cook but it is a destructive tool in the
hands of a murderer.
There are several Bible characters who were both wealthy and close
to God - Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Job, David, Solomon, Nicodemus, etc
Do you want to help the poor? Do you want your church to grow?
Do you want to feed the people dying of hunger in other poor
countries? Do you want to send missionaries to the ends of the
earth and win them for Jesus? Do you want to help your own needy
brothers and sisters who are not as fortunate as you are? Folks,
all these will involve money in one way or another. Wealthy people
do have an opportunity for a very special ministry. That is the
ministry of giving. I like what Andrew Carnegie said: "The life of
a wealthy person should have two periods: a time of acquiring wealth
and one of redistributing it." When you receive something, you have
to give it out. You can't keep it to yourselves. It will surely
feel like constipating. (Pardon the word used here but I find it
appropriate in order to drive the point.)
As long as wealth is acquired in a Godly manner, by being fair and
honest, and that you have really worked for it, you should not feel
guilty about having and enjoying it. Work is valued very much. The
Bible said that "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." One has
to earn his keep. Of course, the only exception to that is if the
person is too young, too old or too sick to work. Then we must be
responsible to care for them. Jesus said that we've got to love
others as we love ourselves – the second greatest commandment.
IS JESUS ANTI-RICH?
Jesus was never anti-rich. When he told the rich young man to sell
his possessions and give it to the poor, it was because Jesus knew
that the rich young man's god was his possessions. He was tested and
it was clear he didn't want to part with his great wealth. A person
cannot both serve God and Money. Abraham himself was tested when
God asked him to offer his own son.
When Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit" he meant to
underscore the dependency on God's saving power. In simple terms,
it means that we cannot be self-sufficient without God. Alone, we
are not complete. There will always be that missing piece. Once you
have found that PIECE, you will have the PEACE. You will find true
contentment. God is the missing piece, my friend.
If you're very wealthy today and tomorrow all that wealth is wiped
away because of a great misfortune, and you are still able to praise
God in spite of what happened, then I am sure that wealth is not
your god. God will probably give the wealth back to you a hundred
fold, just like what He did to His faithful servant Job after losing
all his possessions and children.
Is money your God? This question is between you and God.
IS FUTURE PLANNING BAD? IS INVESTMENT UN-CHRISTIAN?
Planning is good. Worrying is bad. Jesus said that we should not
worry about things in life such as clothes and food. We cannot add a
single hour to our lives by worrying, He continued. Planning is NOT
the same as worrying. You can do both at the same time but they are
not the same.
Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
No one can serve two masters." Again, as in the example of the rich
young man, just don't make wealth or money your god such that you
become fully dependent on it. Don't make it get in the way of
serving God. Wealth or money has to be used according to God's
purpose in your life.
Wealth accumulation is not bad per se especially if you want to save
for the rainy days. We are asked in the book of Proverbs to
consider the ways of the ants because they (the ants) store
provisions during summer and gather their food at harvest. They
save and accumulate for future use! Unless God specifically tells
you "not to save manna for the next day or else it will just spoil"
then save for the future by all means.
Is gambling bad? I say yes. But isn't a stock market play a form
of gambling also? Well, not really. Gambling is that which where
you leave it solely to chance to win or not. You win at the expense
of those who will lose. In the stock market, there's some work or
investment analysis efforts involved. That means you are not
leaving it to chance or pure luck alone. There are investors who
really do some due diligence before they invest in something. They
look at the financial statements, market trends, factors affecting
investment psychology, political and economic outlook, laws,
government policies, etc before they invest. They look at different
options. It's not the same thing as simply playing the LOTTO,
In the parable of talents, Jesus gave an investment example. The
application is spiritual but it can also be used for whatever you
have - talents, gifts, money, etc. What you have, you must use and
multiply. That's why the master was mad at that servant having one
talent who just hid the talent and didn't even care to invest it
with the bankers where it could have earned some interest. But the
man with the five talents went at once and put his money to work and
gained five more and was later recognized with the words "Well done,
good and faithful servant!" Are you using your gifts and talents
properly? Again, that's between you and God.
A DIFFERENT FINANCIAL FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
For engineers like me, the two formulas below are mathematically
a) Income - Expenses = Savings
b) Income - Savings = Expenses
But in terms of financial planning perspective, they are not.
The first one is about an expense-driven mindset. And instant
gratification. Like a play now and pay later scheme. Savings is
what's left after all the expenses.
The second formula is about a savings-driven and delayed
gratification mentality. Like a pay now and play later scheme.
After setting aside the forced savings, the remaining is budgeted
and used for expenses. The second formula is much better than the
But a more meaningful and powerful financial formula (call it the LN
formula) is this:
c) Income - Tithes/Offerings/Charity - Savings/Investments =
This third formula is an acknowledgment that your money came from
God and you have to give back part of it to support your own church
and to help others in accordance with your burden or passion. You
are not the owner of the wealth. You are a steward of it. . If one
of your passions is helping the street children, reserve some money
for that. Increase your income so you can give and save more! Your
working harder and smarter will become more meaningful as a result.
Just be responsible in giving though. You don't want to be helping
someone that will destroy himself in the process - like himself
becoming dependent on you and will not work anymore or use your
money for the wrong reasons. Will you give alms to a beggar when
you know that a syndicate is behind them? Will you give money to
your own brother when you know he's going to use it for drugs,
alcohol or cigarettes? Absolutely not! Jesus said, "Be innocent
as a dove but be wise as a serpent."
WHAT SHOULD YOU ASK FOR? WHAT'S YOUR LIMIT? WHAT IS APPROPRIATE?
Will you pray and work towards a P1 million or for a P100 million?
It depends. The follow-up questions will be: Are you ready? Can you
handle it? Where will you use it? Will it be for your own good?
Is it God's will for you? Let's take a look at the prayers of Agur
and Jabez. One was content in praying for just his daily bread, the
other prayed for abundance.
Jabez said "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!"
God granted his request. But Agur prayed "Give me neither poverty
nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have
too much and disown you and say,'Who is the LORD ?' Or I may become
poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Who prayed correctly? I say that both of them. The prayer was
appropriate for each. Jabez is most likely someone who can handle
success and big projects well. Maybe he's good in finances and
management. Agur is probably the very opposite and won't be able to
handle great success well. I'm just guessing here of course. Just
like in the work environment, you don't want to promote someone to
his level of incompetence. If you do, you are designing that person
for failure. God will not give it to you if it will destroy you.
His wisdom is higher than yours, no matter how bright you are.
What is appropriate is important to consider. A business executive
may not be considered excessive in driving a luxury car if he can
well afford it and the kind of car is necessary for business
purposes. But someone who can use public transportation and barely
afford a car but even use credit to finance it, is not acting
wisely. He could be considered worldly or materialistic.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
Go ahead and make money. Work hard but not wear yourself out
getting rich. Have balance. Enjoy life. Every human activity,
except sin, can be used for God's pleasure. Do find out what is
God's purpose in your life so you can be aligned and be blessed.
Proverbs 19:21 says "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is
the Lord's purpose that prevails." According to the wise King
Solomon, this whole life (achievements, wealth, pleasure,
discoveries, etc) is meaningless unless you put God in it and
remember Him. In the book of Mark, it said "What good is it for a
man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"
Borrowing from what I once heard from Ed Lapiz, we must live morally
and uprightly as if the end of the world is today. But enjoy life
and be productive as if the end of the world won't come yet for
another thousand years...
Let me end with this verse. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 states "Command those
who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put
their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope
in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to 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."
Holy Week Reflection: Our sins demand payment by way of death.
Simply, justice must be served. Jesus died once and for all of our
sins so we can have an eternal life with God, who is the source of
all wealth. Now, that's what you call the ultimate eternal wealth.
Nothing in this world compares to that! It's entirely up to you to
accept either Jesus or money as your master. You can't serve both.
- End of article
BIBLE REFERENCES USED:
Wealth comes from God - 1 Chronicles 29:12
It is God who gives us the ability to produce wealth - Deuteronomy
The earth is the Lord's - Psalm 24:1
Honor the Lord with your wealth - Prov 3:9-10
Honesty - Prov 13:11, 16:11, 16:8, 20:17, 20:23, 21:6; 23:10, 28:20,
Bible characters who are wealthy - Gen 24:34-35, 26:12
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine - Haggai 2:8
Ants storing provisions in summer - Proverbs 6:6
Not being dependent on somebody or becoming idle (If a man will not
work, he shall not eat) - 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12, 2 Thessalonians
Have balance and not wear yourself out to get rich - Prov 23:4
Enjoy life - Ecclesiastes 3:22, 4:8, 5:18-19
Love others as we love ourselves - Matthew 22:37-38
One has to earn his keep (and not be lazy) - Prov 6:10, 10:4, 12:24,
14:23;, 20:13, 28:19
Helping others, giving to the poor - Deuteronomy 15:7, Prov 10:24, 1)
25, 19:17a, 21:13, 22:2, 22:9, 22:16, 22:22, 28:8, 28:22, 28:27; Gal
2:10, 1 John 3:17-18
Cannot serve both God and Money, seeking His kingdom first -
Matthew 6:19, 24, 33; Luke 16:13
Parable of talents (investing) - Matthew 25:14-30
Life is meaningless unless you put God in it - whole book of
Ecclesiastes (conclusion is at Chapter 12)