The principles of good wealth management must be grounded in a sound theology of wealth. Most of our perceptions about this subject does not come from our knowledge of the scripture (at least not a clear understanding of it), but from our experiences. As I’ve come to learn, reactionary theology is a broken clock – it’s right twice a day.
Recently, I preached from Matthew 17:24-27 on Jesus paying the temple tax. These 12 points are from that sermon, titled ‘Tax, Tithe & Tent-making’.
- It is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23). This difficulty cannot be blamed on the nature of money because money is inanimate and does not have a will of its own. Your wallet is not out to get you. This difficulty arise because of the sinful nature of man. We are to blame. Therefore, caution is good and accountability necessary for those who seek to be wise in their dealings with wealth.
- The Bible is not ambiguous about the use of money, it is clear and precise. The overarching tendency of the Christian ought to be toward giving rather than toward receiving.
- Man must take responsibility for sinning with wealth, and not blame it on the money. Repentance must be readily available at the tip of our tongues.
- Money is not the object of our joy or sorrow, though it may be the means to it. Money is only a tool, a very useful or destructive tool, but nothing more than a tool. God gave us wealth for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). Our stewardship of it is what matters most.
- When money turns from a tool into the very object of our delight, that love for money is the root of all kinds of evil. The root problem here, is idolatry. We cannot serve God and money. The problem with rich men who don’t enter heaven is idolatry.
- We need to think about money as wealth and not merely as currency. Wealth is more than just money, wealth is all the riches you possess and that includes your knowledge, skills, talents and most importantly, time. Our wealth is far more than our bank balances. A godly family is among the greatest wealth a man can possess, and even this he is called to steward well.
- Riches are meant to be shared, and generosity has a far better pay off than the savings in your bank account. Giving is an act of enjoyment.
- The Old Testament gives us at the very least a good 3-step framework for tithing. To provide for the elders of the church whose service is to minister to the congregation as the Levitical priests did in the Old Testament. To provide for the costs and expenses of our gatherings and feasts like the Israelites did in collecting the temple taxes. And finally, to provide for the poor and the needy.
- Tithing (the word meaning 1/10th), in the Old Testament has given way to an abounding Christian generosity in the New. The question is no longer if we are obligated to give. We are not. Instead, we are free to give, and yet, our freedom in the Spirit obligates us to give.
- The principle of tithing is rooted in the principle of the first-fruits.
- Give and it will come back to you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over into your lap. Benny Hinn didn’t say this, Jesus did.