The Test of Money


The Test of Money

Richard Hollerman

When we go to school, we can expect to be tested.  When we want to drive a car, we face a driving test.  When we have a medical condition, we may be tested.  The most important tests we have come from God!

God places tests before us to determine the condition of our heart.  He allows circumstances to develop so that our real self, the condition of our heart, may be manifested.  It may be a sickness, a rejection by a loved one, the loss of a job, the slander of neighbors, or a prominent personal defeat.  On the other hand, it may be something that the world considers a success—a marriage, the birth of a child, a raise at work, a new house, a personal achievement, a financial gift, or an inheritance.  God uses a variety of events in life to test the condition of our heart.

Moses told the nation of Israel of God’s intentions to test them: “You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deuteronomy 8:2, 16).  Although these people may not have been fully aware of it, they were being put to the test by God. You see, God is ultimately concerned about the condition of our heart.  We also are tested by the Lord!

One of the chief ways that God tests our soul is through the use of money.  Have you ever looked at the money in your pocket or purse in this light?  Most people make no connection between their finances and God, but there is a direct link.  Jesus said, “The mouth speaks out of what which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34).  Just as our words reveal our heart, the way we use our money also reveals what is in our heart.  Our Lord said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (6:21).  If our treasure of money and possessions is on earth, our heart will be there as well.  If we have placed our treasure in heaven (by giving to the Lord), then our heart will be focused on God in heaven!  No wonder that John Wesley once spoke of money in this way:  “When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” Thoughtfully consider these points and search your own conscience:

First, God is interested in whether Money is your God!  Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24).  Is Money your master—your “god”?  Do you love money?  Are you devoted to money?  Are you willing to compromise your convictions and violate the will of God in order to earn more money, to retain your job, or to win the lottery?  Paul sternly warns, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Second, Money is an indication of your love.  God expects us to use our money not only to provide for ourselves and our families, but also to bless the lives of others and to share the good news of Christ.  In the longest section of Scripture dealing with giving of our finances to others (2 Corinthians 8-9), Paul says that “the sincerity of your love” is revealed in whether you are willing to sacrifice yourself by giving to meet the needs of other brothers and sisters in Christ (8:8).  He says that “the proof of your love” is your willingness to give to the work of the Lord (v. 24).  Do you love like this?  Or do you pile up money for yourself and accumulate material things to gratify your lusts, to revel in luxury, and to feed your pride?  Where is your own love centered?

Third, Money may be used to prepare for the eternal future.  Not only does God want us to place our treasure in heaven by giving sacrificially to His work on earth (cf. Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:33-34; 1 Timothy 6:17-19), but He says that the ultimate outcome of this way of life is an eternity with the Lord!  Jesus said, “Make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9).  In this enigmatic statement, Jesus seems to be saying that we are to do all we can to use our money (the wealth of unrighteousness) to influence people to come to Christ and be saved and forgiven of sin (they thereby become “friends”), so that when our wealth (and our bodies) fails, these saved brothers and sisters in heaven will receive us one day, after death, in God’s glorious Kingdom.  Are we using our money in this way?  Do we have the forethought to plan for the future like this—or are we too occupied with piling up earthly riches for ourselves and our families to be interested in the salvation of others?  Are we so earthly focused that we fail to prepare wisely for our eternal future?  Jesus says that a man is a “fool” who “stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).

Fourth, the use of Money is an indication of our faithfulness to the Lord.  In the context of the proper use of earthly money, Jesus gives a basic truth: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10).  Money is a “very little thing” in God’s sight, but it reveals much about you and your heart!  If we are faithful in our use of money—regardless of how much we have—we will be faithful in much, whereas if we are unrighteous and unfaithful in our use of earthly money, we will be unrighteous in much.  Is Money our “god”—our idol—or do we worship and serve the true and living God who offers eternal life to us?  Do we serve our true God with money—all of our money?  (Matthew 4:10; Hebrews 6:10; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 9:6-15).

Fifth, we are responsible for how we use all of our money.  Some people erroneously think that God only owns a measly tithe of 10% of our income.  How misguided is this view that has been promoted by certain pastors and preachers.  Actually, God owns all of our money—as well as all of our possessions, our mind, our time, our skills, our body, and everything else we have.  Some of our money must be used for daily necessities, some for living expenses, some for transportation, some for health and nutrition, and some for incidentals.  All of this is legitimate.  However, let us make sure that we waste nothing, but only use what is necessary for living.  You may remember that after Jesus fed the 5,000 people, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost” (John 6:12).  Jesus was interested in saving as much as possible and wasting nothing.  We should have the same view of money and possessions.

How Do You use Your Money?

We earlier stated that money is a test—a test of our heart.  Ask yourself the following questions about your view of money:

  • How do you spend your money?  Be totally honest with yourself.

  • How do you view and use your paycheck?

  • Do you throw away small amounts of money on wasteful things?

  • Do you ever waste money for soft drinks, unneeded clothes, designer clothes, junk food, movies, sports events, luxury items, expensive foods, lavish home furnishings, car gadgets, nick knacks, and other unneeded items?

  • Are you like most Americans and only give 1 to 3% of your income to religious causes?  Do you merely give a tithe of 10%?  Or do you give as much as possible to the work of the Lord and the service in God’s kingdom?  Do you sacrifice yourself?

  • Are you willing to actively help others in need?

  • Is Money your god?  Or do you worship and serve the true and living God?

  • Are you piling up treasure on earth—or in heaven?

  • Is your heart with money—or is it with Jesus Christ in heaven?

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