Without a doubt my favorite teaching of Jesus is the Sermon on the Mount. In this message, he was instructing disciples on their very way of life as citizens of the Kingdom of God. When we think of the Kingdom of God, we usually think of a place we go when we die. This is not the teaching of the New Testament. God’s Kingdom is an already, not yet reality. It is now, and still to come. It was ushered in with Jesus and His ministry, yet it won’t come in full authority and rule until He returns.
How are we to live in light of this? We are to live as citizens of His Kingdom now. This impacts how we live–how we raise our family, how we treat others, and even how we handle our finances.
Surprisingly, Jesus had quite a bit to say about how we think of possessions in the Sermon on the Mount.
when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do (Matt. 6:2)
when you pray, pray for your “daily bread” or needs for the day (6:11)
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… (6:19-20)
You cannot serve God and money. (6:24)
Do not be anxious about God’s provision in your life (6:25-31)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (6:33)
Too often we promote our kingdom above His. We are consumed with materialism–always wanting bigger and better. We hoard money instead of being generous. Perhaps if we are honest, this is because we have a fundamental mistrust in God. We are workaholics because we want to chase the almighty dollar, and perhaps save ourselves through material wealth. We don’t trust God and His provision. It is dangerous to pursue money over Christ and His kingdom.
So, how do we handle our finances in light of what Jesus taught on possessions?
- We Seek His Kingdom First-This is about stewardship. We should see God as the owner of everything that we have; we are just managers. When you do your budget or get your paycheck are you looking at how you can advance God’s kingdom or your own comfort?
- We Trust Him to Provide-It is clear that we are to provide for our families by working for a living. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8) Yet too often our American culture produces workaholics. How do you know if you are a workaholic? The very indicators are that you neglect your family, forget His church, and don’t prioritize down-time.
- We Serve God, Not Money-Jesus’ teaching was clear. You cannot serve God and Money. In fact, money is an idol in many of our lives; it’s what we really worship. You must make a decision…which is more valuable to you? God or Money. In light of eternity, the decision is a no-brainier. Invest in things that matter. Invest in things that will last throughout eternity. Invest in His Kingdom. How do you know what you worship or value? Examine your calendar and your bank account. Those are the things that you’re investing in…the things that matter most to you.
Next week I will begin offering practical financial advice for Christian families, but I wanted to establish the foundation first: our allegiance to advancing His Kingdom.
How about your family? Do you see finances as an opportunity to advance His Kingdom or your own?