Monday, January 18, 2016

God and My Wallet ............. Parables 381

August 3, 1993
“The wallet is the last part of the body that gets converted to Christ.”

The person who said this could have been one of those high-powered, fund-raiser types who pleads for money and faith pledges with motivational ploys like guilt trips and nagging... or it could have been said by someone familiar with what the Bible says about money and about human nature.

If the first option is true, I am turned off. Manipulation designed to get me to fork over money, whether by high-pressure salesmen or high-pressure preaching, makes me grab my wallet and hold on tight.

Instead, I rather suspect the person who talked about wallets and conversion knew all about human nature. Whoever it was also knew that God speaks rightly about our relationship to money.

The verse most people know about money says something about “the root of all evil” so people sometimes call money an evil thing. However, this verse actually says, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Money itself is useful; it is the way we feel about it that gets us into trouble.

For one thing, the desire for cash (and the things it will buy) has a certain tendency to preoccupy our thinking. Sometimes we presume our problems would be over if we just had enough of the stuff. But God’s Word says even if gold and silver increases, desires increases along with it... there is never enough to satisfy those desires. (Ecclesiastes 5)

Second, preoccupation with money interferes with our inner peace. To be fully content, our soul must rest in the Lord, think about what He has done for us, and communicate with Him (Isaiah 26:3). Continual money-thoughts disable our ability to hear His voice and do His will, something Jesus says will make us truly happy (John 13:17).

Money seems to have a mind of its own as well. Just when we think we have our financial reservoir full, it sprouts wings and flies away. By its very nature (temporary need-meeter), it is just that, an impermanent asset.

God has other reasons for wanting our wallets converted as well as our souls. We tend to think money will take care of us and thus it becomes a sort of god, but one that does not serve us as it should. Money is a harsh taskmaster and actually can make slaves out of us.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

God calls us to eternal assets, an inheritance that will never fly away, banked in heaven for us. This asset is gained, not by having a cash reserve but by a special kind of faith that trusts Him to take care of our eternal destiny plus all temporary needs, even the kind money will buy.

That is why some say trust in God can be measured by a person’s willingness to empty their wallet. When the disciples pointed to the rich people who gave what seemed large amounts, Jesus commended a poor widow who only gave a couple of pennies. He said, “. . . this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”

This widow was not afraid of the future, no matter what her bank balance said. She looked to her heavenly Father to provide all her needs. Ultimately, that kind of trust demonstrates itself in a converted wallet.

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