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Money matters: Jesus taught about wealth

Why did Jesus speak more on the area of money than anything else in His entire ministry?

Gracetidings with dr doug mamvura

It is because money matters, and matters about money are very important in our lives. Few people connect their spiritual work with finances and their wealth.

God connects our finances and treasures to our spiritual walk. When we look at finances, there are various aspects we can learn about money.

The first one is that money affects our everyday lives. There is very little, if any, that we do on a daily basis that does not involve money and this is why Jesus spoke so much about money. The second aspect is that finances also affect some of the key aspects of our lives such as our marriages, raising children and our lifestyle choices. If you fail to handle money, you will face serious challenges in all these areas. Marriages are breaking up because of lack of money. Children are dropping out of school because some parents are failing to pay the fees. Life without money can be extremely miserable.

The third aspect about finances is that money matters are closely connected to our hearts as we see in Matthew 6:19 -21. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus didn’t separate your heart from your finances. Most people deceive themselves. They think they have very good hearts. I often hear people say: “If they only knew my heart.” I really love the Lord. We only need to see your spending pattern and see if you really love the Lord “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

How much of your finances are being invested in God’s work? You can’t say I wish my wife and children knew how much I loved them and yet when you look at your spending pattern, most of the money you spend on yourself and friends.
According to Jesus, I can only look at how you spend your money and then I will know where your heart is.

The third aspect about money is that it reveals the condition of your heart as we see in the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10: 21-30. Jesus was trying to reach this young ruler’s heart and establish where his heart was. One of the ways of knowing the condition of your heart is through how you react to the issues of finances. Finances reveal the condition of your heart. This is why whenever a minister of the gospel talks about finances, some of the members of the congregation become uncomfortable.

I am not referring to those greedy ministers whose focus is on lining their pockets. I am talking about those genuine men and women of God dedicated to serving the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and spirit.

If you bring the topic of finances to people, there is no neutral reaction. They either don’t want to hear about finances because they don’t want to invest in the kingdom or they always see this as an opportunity to sow into the kingdom of God. Admittedly, there are also pseudo ministers of the gospel who take advantage of their members of congregation (especially those who don’t want to read and study the scriptures for themselves) and pocket the money for their selfish use. The onus is also on you as a believer to discern if your spiritual leader is being genuine or not, so you are not taken to the cleaners.

We go back to our story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10 and find that he is serious about inheriting eternal life and so he kneels before the Lord asking how he would inherit eternal life. Jesus, in His response, focused on some of the commandments such as do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not defraud, do not bear false witness and honour your father and mother.

The rich young man, in his arrogance, replied that he had observed all these commandments. Then Jesus, who according to the Bible “loved” this rich young ruler, then said to him “one thing you lack, go your way and sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven and come, take up the cross and follow Me.” (Mark 10:21).

The Bible tells us that “he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22). ‘Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God.” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

Jesus qualified that God loves people with riches as much as He loves those who are poor. Jesus died for both the poor and rich. However, it is easy for the poor to put their trust in God because they don’t have the money than for the rich to trust God because their trust is in their riches. It’s not the riches that keep the rich person out of the kingdom of God, but their trust in riches.

I liked what Jesus then said, “It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples “were greatly astonished saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” This also confirms that these disciples must have been rich people because if they were poor, they would have rejoiced saying that we will enter the kingdom of God because we are broke.

It is also interesting to note that even some mature believers tend to trust in their riches than believing that if they sow in the kingdom, they will reap 30, 60 or 100-fold as the Bible promises. How many of us have struggled in the area of giving? Most believers find this area very challenging and yet Jesus said “this is the least area we should have faith in”. In other words, if we fail to trust God with our finances, how can we trust Him to even heal us, deliver us or protect us?

It should be noted that God is not telling all of us to give away everything or sell everything and give all the money to the poor. He is teaching us about the importance of having the right attitude with regard to money matters.

Ironically we find another incident in the Bible where we come across a man who had the right attitude towards money by the name Zacchaeus.

He was a chief tax collector and was rich and sought to see who Jesus was. Jesus came to his house and had dinner with him and many people struggled with that because he was a sinner unlike the rich young ruler who had boasted that he had observed all the commandments that Jesus had spoken about.

Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord: “Look Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). Zacchaeus volunteered to give half his goods to the poor and to pay back fourfold those whose money he had defrauded.

This clearly showed a transformation of one’s heart and no wonder Jesus remarked: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he is also a son of Abraham for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:9)

 Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: drdoug@corporatemomentum.biz or Twitter @dougmamvura

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