It is sometimes said that “money is the root of all evil.” Is it? I don’t think so. A few weeks ago our gas fireplace stopped working. As my wife and I researched the cost to replace it we realized we didn’t have the money to do that which led us into a three-day discussion about our finances and our spending. In the process we realized that Sandi felt horrible every time she spent money because I keep track of the finances and I was always telling her we didn’t have a lot of money this month. I was frustrated because we haven’t been able to save any money and had been spending more than we make for several months. Fortunately we had saved money and we aren’t in debt. At the end of our conversation we had a new budget that helped us both accomplish our goals. Now Sandi feels freedom and I feel like we are able to plan for the future. Moreover the best part is that it looks like we are going to be able to give more money to others.
In Matthew 22:15-22 says:
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
As I read the passage I start to ask myself, what is God’s? The answer that keeps coming up in my mind is that God owns everything. I think that leads us to a whole new mindset. Nothing I have is mine. I don’t need to hold on to things. I can freely give because it isn’t mine in the first place. I still want to take care of it. In fact, I think we want to be more careful with it. My parents taught me that if you barrow something you return it in better shape than you took it and if you destroy it, you find a replacement and give that back. How much more with what is God’s, except in this case, I think God just wants us to do our best to multiply what he has given us. As I meditated on that, I thought about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Each servant was given different amounts. The point of the parable had nothing to do with the amount each was given. It had everything to do with what the servant had done to multiply the master’s money. So what are you doing to multiply the master’s resources?
What would it look like if we all practiced this kind of mindset? Would the world be in need? Would we have such stark contrast between the prosperous and the impoverished? Or would we be like my neighbor who owns a snowblower, but doesn’t just use it to remove the snow from his driveway. He also helps with my driveway and two others on the block? And when he had to be out of town for a few weeks he came over to appologize that he wouldn’t be able to do it. Money and possessions can be used for good. In fact they can be used for God!
How are you managing what God has given you (money, possessions, gifts, talents, time)?