Windows on Finance Part 8
We’ve covered quite a bit of ground so far and I thought it would be a good idea just to pause and review where we’ve been. So let’s take another look at the foundations we’ve been laying.
We started out by asking who our Source was. By that I mean who do we look to for our provision? The example I used was, say someone is asking for an offering for a building project, do we look in our wallet or chequebook and make decisions based on what’s there or do we ask God how much we should give? This is a tough question but it does reveal where we’re expecting our provision to come from. Whilst there is nothing innately wrong with money, when we look to it for our provision instead of relying on God we have made mammon (the spiritual power behind money) higher than God.
We then talked a bit about how mammon affects us, how we can get a bit hot under the collar when people start talking about money – especially if they’re telling us we should be giving some of ours away! We also looked at the fact that it’s not actually “ours” in the first place… What ultimately makes us recoil from the giving thing is fear of lack. Fear that if we give it away, it won’t come back, that we’ll miss out because if we give it away, we won’t have the money to do what we want. We’re scared of the price God will ask of us.
This led on to trying to buy God off ie if I tithe then God will (must?) deliver for me. Again this is placing mammon above God, it is saying “I need money to live, money is my provision and if I do XYZ then God must supply me with money.” So whilst tithes and offerings are very valid in God’s economy, unless we come from the right perspective we can get things around the wrong way. We need to get our spiritual foundations rightly established before we build on them with tithes & offerings etc.
We looked at Luke 16:11-12 where Jesus said “if you have not been faithful in the case of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?” This makes it clear that Godly stewardship of our money is powerfully connected spiritually to God trusting us with His true riches. For this reason alone, it seems we should be doing all we can to get our finances in order spiritually.
We saw how Godly giving blasphemes mammon and glorifies God. It is a rubber hits the road proof of our trust in God as our provider. We are saying we don’t trust in money, in fact when God directs us, we’re happy to give it away because we know our God is our Source.
Mindset was our next challenge. We saw how a poverty mindset (which may initially seem quite pious) was actually desiring a curse and how God never blessed anyone with poverty, He only ever cursed people with poverty. We saw that to attract poverty biblically, we had to practice being stingy and unteachable, and indulge in drunkenness, gluttony and laziness – hence embracing poverty is an unacceptable position.
The provision mindset is partially correct in that God does supply all our needs according to His riches by Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19), however if we only get our needs covered, where is the extra to give away? At its root, the provision mindset is selfish, it looks out for me, but everyone else is on their own. It promotes mediocrity as it lets us off the hook in striving for greatness, especially if there is financial reward attached to that greatness. It feeds off the scarcity mindset that says there is only so much in the world and so I can have my share but not too much because then there won’t be enough left over for others. Unfortunately this promotes small thinking and greatly limits our potential in God.
The third mindset we looked at was the Abundance/Prosperity mindset. It is the only option left if we discard the other two as being unbiblical. It is also what we find in the bible. God promises prosperity as a blessing over and over, in fact God delights in our prosperity (Ps 35:27).
We then covered how God gives purpose to our being blessed in Gen 12:1-3. We are blessed to be a blessing, however this doesn’t work if we get hot under the collar at each of God’s appointed times for us to give, or if we ask our wallet and not Him how much He wants us to give… and it’s no big deal to Him to ask us to give before He’s supplied it to us.
We saw how God promised incredible blessings to Abraham in Gen 12:1-3 and how they are now available to all God’s followers through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:13-14). So the whole prosperity thing is biblically available to us.
Lastly we started to look at how to move into the blessing of prosperity and how people can get all excited about God blessing them and so they rush out and start chasing the blessing. Unfortunately they can end up chasing mammon and not God. The risk is that at a heart level they are still looking to money for provision and not God as their true Source.
Matt 6:31-33 shows us how to walk this walk. Jesus said “Therefore do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for after all these things the Gentiles seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Seeking first God’s kingdom requires faith. Putting God ahead of mammon is faith in action. It’s a bit like “Pay it forward.” The more we seek to be led by God and to bless others as He leads, the more we will be blessed, and not just financially! The secret is to bless others for the sake of blessing them, of seeking and following God for the sake of seeking and following Him and not for the money. It’s not that you despise money or try to push it away, it’s that your heart is sold out for God and not to the almighty dollar (mammon). If you can move into this place, you are on a right foundation for spiritual financial stewardship. You have broken the shackles of mammon and are now free to follow after God.
May God richly bless you,
This series is designed to build your faith in God as your Provider and to enable you to release His full abundance into your life. If you have a testimony of God’s provision as a result of applying the principles from this ministry please share it with us (and let us know if we can share it with others). If this article has helped you, please consider praying for me and this ministry. Thanks and God Bless, Richard B-P.
This article is provided for educational and edificational purposes only. It does not constitute and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you require financial advice or assistance please contact a suitable professional adviser.