Several years ago my husband, Gary, and I enjoyed watching a TV show where the theme song was “For the Love of Money” by The Ojays. The song stuck in my mind. You probably know the tune: “Money, money, money, money, MONEY.”
The lyrics remind us of the wrestling match money creates in our hearts.
Why do our hearts battle with the love of money?
Interestingly, Jesus spoke more about money than any other topic, most likely because he knew the challenge it presents us as sojourners in this world.
Since my husband is the Generosity Monk, I often get the privilege of sharing and speaking on money. Yesterday I spoke at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Group at The Bridge Church at Bear Creek. I challenged them to live in the way of Jesus intentionally with their children in relationship to money.
Christ instructs His followers to steward faithfully all God supplies. If all we are and all we have belong to Jesus, why does it seem as though so few people live like they believe it?
Perhaps it’s because the world communicates a different narrative. Like Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings,” we exhibit selfish, controlling tendencies from an early age that say “my precious” to possessions. “Mine” dominates our vocabulary and sharing becomes counterintuitive. Rather than trust in God and His provision, we fear the future. The world teaches us to live independently of each other and God.
Psalm 49 reminds us that money cannot save us, satisfy us, or give us the security we desire; only God can. Nevertheless, we default by accepting the world’s messages and live as though we just need a little bit more money to be content, happy, fulfilled, and secure. The struggle is real.
When Jesus taught on money, He aimed not at depriving us of His good gifts. He wants us to prioritize them rightly in our lives. If we aren’t careful, we end up with disordered affections. The daily pursuit of money and possessions controls us.
What are ways to instruct our kids (and those in our influence) to trust in God and not money? For ideas, download the keynote I shared at MOPS.
The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy, his child in the faith, to command the rich in the church to enjoy and share all God richly provides (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Paul’s clear directions don’t include anything about keeping, though that seems to dominate the focus in today’s culture. What’s in your Money Market account? How are your stocks performing? Want to switch to our company to get a better rate of return on your investments?
How would Jesus respond to these questions? He’d likely answer them with questions of His own. He might ask us, “What does the balance of your earthly account say about your heart? Which account dominates your focus: earthly or heavenly? Do you want to know how much is in your heavenly treasure account?”
Why does Jesus care? Think about it. After all, everything is His.
Years ago, one of Gary’s students gave us a game, the Generosity Game. We have enjoyed playing it over the years with Sammy and Sophie. The object of the game is the opposite of the Game of Life. Instead of accumulating on earth, players target at storing up as many resources as possible in heaven. With each giving opportunity players must draw an “attitude” card. Only if “your attitude is right” do the gifts of players make it into their “heavenly treasure chest.” Each time we play the game we are reminded of what matters.
Let’s scatter the resources God provides into expanding His kingdom, not ours. Enjoy and share His gifts. Let’s give to the needy, grow in Jesus, and advance the gospel with all we are and all we have.
What if we lived by the rules of the Generosity Game, rather than the rules of the Game of Life? It is essential we teach our children to depend on God through our words and actions. Live in the way of Jesus through intentional family activities and conversations.
This week muse over these questions: What is God asking you to do with the provision He supplies? Is it time to learn a new narrative that reflects God’s truth about money? How can you and your family embrace the biblical teaching that calls you to enjoy and share richly?
Follow Jesus with me and experience life. You won’t be disappointed!
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21
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. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Hoag, Jenni. Money, Money, Money,MOPS. Keynote. April 9, 2018.
Hoag, Gary. Good and Faithful: Ten Stewardship Lessons for Everyday Living. Franklin, TN: Seedbed, 2017.