"Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."
The things that matter in life – the things that money can’t buy – those things are the blessings of God . . . peace of mind, contentment of heart, health, strength, and true prosperity. These blessings are the product of a life yielded to His Spirit and His Word. When Jesus is first in your life, everything else is where it belongs as well! . . . Including how you spend your money!
The text above says: "Honor the Lord with your wealth." Well, OK; but HOW do I do that? I believe that there are three ways: give it away, spend it wisely, or save it faithfully. I previously wrote about honoring the Lord through your GIVING . . . specifically through tithing and giving offerings. Today I am going to deal with wise SPENDING. And sometime in the near future I intend to write to you about faithful SAVING.
So . . . how can we honor the Lord through wise spending? First, remember that we spend not just our treasure; we spend our time and our talent as well. Second, ask yourself a few questions:
"Does this expenditure honor the name of Christ? Am I using the resources He has given me in a way that causes others to honor Him?" Every expenditure of time, talent, or treasure is a choice. . . a one-time opportunity to do it right. Once spent the options are gone.
"Does this expenditure advance His cause?" Some expenditures are helpful to your spiritual growth or the spiritual growth of others but, honestly, most expenditures are sort of ministry neutral. Still, don’t forget that caring for your family is what God expects and that's not spiritually neutral. And some expenditures or other kinds of financial options are not helpful to your spiritual growth or to anyone else’s; that's not the way to honor God with your wealth!
"Will this expenditure bless God's people?" All other things being equal, how about buying your goods and services from Christian people or institutions. And how about avoiding doing business with those people or institutions that work against the church or the cause of Christ.
"Can I make this expenditure and maintain my integrity?" In the parable of the talents in Matt. 25:14-30 Jesus makes it clear that servants are accountable for what they have done with what the master provided. Just make sure that you would be comfortable (spiritually secure) reporting the way you have spent the time, talent, and treasure over which you have been granted stewardship.
"Does this expenditure demonstrate that I Trust God?" People are afraid to spend if they think their source might dry up, and that makes a certain sense to the natural mind. But our source is God. We need to seek His direction and follow His counsel. Just make sure that your choices flow from a spirit of faith and not a spirit of fear.
Here is why all this is important; in Luke 16:11 Jesus said: “. . . if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" You see, money isn’t the thing that really matters – being in a right relationship with God, seeing your children in a right relationship with God, being involved in bringing your friends and neighbors into a right relationship with God – THAT is what really matters. True wealth is eternal.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews