A young man became interested in and then married a young lady because he’d heard that her father owned a bank and that the banker’s health was failing. But it turned out that it was the bank that was failing! Do you think money matters? The truth is money does matter to practically all of us. And it should, because, according to the Bible, money matters to God. The Bible’s pages are peppered with passages about money and material things and how they ought to fit into our world-view and overall philosophy about life. Jesus often dealt with money matters. His teaching contains warnings that money can become our master and take over as a god that we serve (Matthew 6:24). Becoming rich with money, Jesus warns, can make it “hard” to enter the kingdom of heaven to the point “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23–24). The Lord made that statement to his apostles immediately after the rich young ruler rejected Jesus’ call to sell his possessions, give to the poor and follow Jesus. The Bible says the rich man “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (vs 22). And so Jesus’ statement: “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,” not because he had riches, but because in reality his riches had him! It is important to note even in that encounter Jesus declared to the rich man his possessions could be used to “have treasure in heaven”– but only if he was willing to dethrone money as his god and instead follow and serve Christ as Lord (vs 21)!
Money matters, and what we do with money matters. In 1 Timothy 6:10-11 the apostle Paul warns that money is hazardous for those who “desire to be rich” to the point they become infected with “the love of money.” That desire and that love, so the apostle writes, can lead people to “fall into temptations and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” since “money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” But a few verses later, after urging Timothy to flee the love of money and desire for riches (vs 11), Paul makes clear in verses 17-19 that you can be rich and be a faithful Christian at the same time. He declares, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” Paul’s teaching here is consistent with the rest of the Bible’s instruction about money. Money matters because of what we do with it. Or, maybe more accurately, what we allow it do with us! Paul does not tell rich people it is wrong for them to be rich. Nor does he pressure them to feel guilty about having riches, or to divide their money equally with everybody around them. What he does urge on them is to have a caring, giving spirit. He teaches them to make deposits in the bank of heaven by being “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.” We all deal with money matters. Maybe you have more than you need; maybe you “barely make ends meet”; maybe you often “run out of money before you run out of month.” Whatever the case, the challenge we all face is to keep money in its place. Money matters to all of us. But none of us – rich or poor or in-between – can afford to let money matter more than God (see Matthew 16:26). How much does money matter to you?