We want to honor God in all that we do. Honoring Him is, of course, commanded. The more we come to love God, though, the more it should be our desire to honor Him in all we do. That needs to be true in our financial lives as much as it is true in any other area of our lives.
Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment was, responded that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Money can harm each of those if we are not careful. It can have our heart, weaken our soul, corrupt our mind, and zap our strength.
Or, we can use our money to honor the Lord. Here are six basic principles for using our money and possessions to God’s glory.
1. Realize it’s Not Yours in the First Place
In the Psalms God says:
For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. – Psalm 50:10-11 NIV
We often speak of “stewardship,” which reminds us that we are simply managing what we have for God, since He not only created it all, He owns it all.
Psalms also says:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. – Psalm 24:1 NIV
When I realize that, it will be the first step in using my money to His glory. After all, it’s really His money, anyway.
2. Recognize Responsibility
If you are given some money and asked to manage it for someone else, you likely take great care with that money. Such needs to be true with the money God entrusts to us, as well.
In Matthew 25:14-30 NIV, Jesus told the Parable of the Bags of Gold. The master in the parable gave to each of his three servants according to their ability. Whatever you have – whether a lot or a little – is given to you by the Lord. That should help build within us a great deal of responsibility to handle that money properly.
3. Remember God First
When making out your family budget, does God have first place, or does He just get the leftovers? If you are blessed with a bonus check or some other money, is your first thought how you can spend it on yourself, or do you consider how you can use at least some of that money to further the work of the Lord? While we are not under the Old Testament law, in which the Israelites were required to give their first to the Lord, doing so is still a good way to make sure He is always the priority. Paul told those in Corinth:
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
4. Reign in Spending
Many articles on this site will help you here, but if you want to honor the Lord, you need to cut down on lifestyle. That means overcoming the problem of debt, and it means avoiding frivolous spending. Christians are to be people of control (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:6). One place that manifests itself is in our spending.
5. Ready Your Future
While we do not know how much time we might have in this life (read James 4:13-16), we are still to consider our future. Always remember that plans can, and often do, change, and be ready for God’s will in any area. However, think about the rainy days that will likely come. Consider your children or beyond (Proverbs 13:22). Think of how you can bless many people to God’s glory by good, solid planning.
6. Respect Others
The rich fool in Jesus’ story had some favorite pronouns: I, me, my, and mine (Luke 12:17-19). He never considered giving some of his bumper crop away, or selling it at a lower price to help those with less money.
No matter how much you might have, think of others. Bless them with whatever you have. If you don’t have much money, you can still have someone over for a meal to bless their life. But, if you have wealth, think of how you can help and bless those who are made in the image of God.
These may seem like basic steps, but they are steps you can take to be sure that your finances are handled in a Christian way.
What are some other Christian financial principles that have helped you? Leave a comment!