Last week we asked the question, Why does God want your money? We made the important clarification that it’s not your money but God’s money. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get back to the original question:
Why does God want your (er, His!) money?
Here are just two reasons from Matthew 6:19–21:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (emphasis added).
When we go, we’ll leave everything behind. Everything except the money and stuff we’ve invested in God’s forever kingdom.
God wants your money because He wants you to have treasures that’ll last. As in, forever.
My sweet neighbor has let me watch two of her births. Elijah came out clutching a flat-screen TV, and Mercy came out with a sparkling pair of twenty-four-carat diamond earrings. (Kidding!) They both came out naked and empty-handed. No surprise, right? Paul says it like this in 1 Timothy 6:7:
We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world (emphasis added).
Have you ever asked your mom what you brought into this world the day you were born? Probably not, because you already know the answer. Nada. Zippo. Nothing.
But have you ever stopped to think about the fact that when you leave this world (whether it’s through death or through Jesus’ soon return for you), you will bring nothing with you? Nada. Zippo. Nothing.
I like how John Piper says it:
There are no U-Hauls behind hearses.
In Matthew 6:19, Jesus isn’t saying it’s wrong to store up treasures; He just doesn’t want us to be stupid about it. We can’t take our favorite possessions or clothes with us (sorry to disappoint!). When we go, we’ll leave everything behind. Everything except the money and stuff we’ve invested in God’s forever kingdom.
Randy Alcorn says it like this, "You can’t take it with you—but you can send it on ahead." He continues in his fantastic little book The Treasure Principle:
Jesus has a treasure mentality. He wants us to store up treasures! He’s just telling us to stop storing them in the wrong place and start storing them in the right place!
God wants you to have treasures that’ll actually last—as in forever.
God wants your money because above all, He wants your heart.
There’s another reason God wants your (ahem, His!) money.
"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21).
What if God is really after your heart? And what if the way to your heart is through . . . your wallet?
As I read The Treasure Principle, I learned that 15 percent of everything Jesus says in the Bible relates to money—more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined!
Why does He care so much about money? It’s ’cause He knows that wherever our money goes, our heart goes.
More than your money, He’s after your heart (Matt. 15:7–9). He wants you to share a relationship with Him that’s closer than any other relationship you have on this entire planet. (And yes, when that happens, He’ll also have your money.)
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t payback. God didn’t sacrifice His life for you so you could pay Him back (as if you could!). Your salvation was a free, lavish gift. Don’t pull out your wallet to pay Him back. Give out of joy and gratefulness for how He gave to you, and watch your love for Him skyrocket as you do. Because where your money goes, there your heart goes.
You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9).
God wants your money. But not for the reasons you think.
He’s not poor.
He’s not a mooch.
He’s not looking to take, take, take from you.
He’s not anti-money, and He doesn’t think the poor are more holy than the middle class.
Before I tell you why God wants your money, I need to back up.
Something is terribly, terribly wrong with the subject line of this post. Read it again. Did you catch it?
Nope, I didn’t misspell any words or use incorrect punctuation. I did make a wrong assumption, though.
As much as it feels like my money, God teaches that the money in my purse, the money in my bank account, that paycheck I just received . . . is actually His money. Here are just a couple places we learn this from God’s Word:
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Ps. 24:1, emphasis added).
If that’s not clear enough, how about this one from Haggai 2:8:
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the LORD Almighty.
(I know you don’t buy things with silver or gold, but this passage is talking about currency. Substitute “silver” and “gold” with “dollars” and “cents.”)
Before we go any further, we need to ask God to reset our minds so we realize it’s not our money; it’s His money.
We don’t own the money stuffed away in our top dresser drawer; God has entrusted us with delivering His money to those who need it most.
Picture it like this: You buy a sweet gift for your friend’s birthday. Since she just moved across the country, you wrap it up and give it to the FedEx guy to deliver to her. But instead of delivering the package, he takes it home and breaks open the present for himself!
Obviously, this guy doesn’t understand his job. He’s just the delivery guy!
Did you know that you and I are like that FedEx employee? We don’t own the money stuffed away in our top dresser drawer; God has entrusted us with delivering His money to those who need it most.
Now that we’ve cleared that important misunderstanding up, let’s get back to the original question:
Why does God want my (ahem, His!) money?
First, though, I’d love to hear from you. Is this news that the money in your purse actually belongs to God? Or have you already been thinking and living like it’s His?
I’m pretty big about communicating winsomely. But would you mind terribly if I ranted . . . just a tad? (Pretty please?)
There’s a “truth” I hear tossed around Christian circles that makes my stomach churn. It goes something like this:
Marriage is the ultimate reward for living a life of purity right now.
Come again? Marriage is a great gift, but it is not the ultimate reward!
It can be hard to believe, but God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.
Then there’s the line that:
The ultimate reward of oneness in marriage will be worth every moment of loneliness.
Yikes, that’s a looong time for tween and teen girls to wait for their reward—especially in a culture of instant gratification where the average marrying age for females is 27–30.
God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.
So a girl’s to pine away in loneliness for three long decades? And then, suddenly, it’ll all be worth it? I don’t see how that’s good news.
But this, on the other hand, is: You and I don’t have to wait until marriage to experience the happiness we’re looking for today! It is ours for the having—right now.
Single or married, sixteen or senior citizen, joy is found in God’s presence, which can be experienced anywhere, anytime:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
Our hope for the “good life” isn’t tied to marriage; it’s tied to the One to whom marriage faintly points.
At least, that’s what I thought . . . until I was corrected by Matthew 5:8. You know, the verse that says:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall snag a great husband.
(Oh, whoops, I grabbed the wrong translation!) Let me try that again:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
There. That’s right. Seeing God is purity’s reward. God-gazing is the greatest reward that exists.
David got that. In Psalm 27:4 he asked for just one thing,
“One thing have I asked of the Lord . . .”
What one thing would you ask God for? For most of my life, a husband would’ve been at the tip-top of my list. But when we read the context of Psalm 27, we learn that as David writes this wish, he has an enemy army encircling him. You’d expect him to ask God for weapons or a divine rescue, right? But instead, He asks to be able to gaze on God’s beauty,
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
Let’s make sure we’re not misleading our girls. God is their reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.
And you, if you’re single, or you, if you’re in a miserable marriage, you, too, can experience the happiness you long for. Today! It’s found in His presence.
If you met Liza, you might think she’s an "ordinary" twenty-something girl. She works as a web developer by day and savors coffee and LIVE music by night. But if you spent some time with her, you’d quickly realize she’s not so ordinary. Yesterday we talked about Liza’s surprising bucket list addition: living in the hood. Once you’ve read part 1, catch the rest of her story here.
. . . I knew it was time to go live with these people and make God’s love real to them. All that was left to do was find a "hood."
I started looking right where I lived, and the name "Keller Park Church" kept coming up. So on a cold Sunday in February, I drove to the west side of South Bend, Indiana, and slipped into the back of a small church sanctuary. I immediately noticed the people there—all ages, classes, and colors. There was something different about this place.
After the service, I briefly spoke to a woman who loves Jesus and pours her life out for the kids in Keller Park. In the course of conversation, she said:
Liza, we were right where you are three years ago. We wanted Jesus to be more than just the dessert [on a comfy, self-sufficient life]. We wanted Him to be the whole meal. So we sold almost everything and moved into an 800-square-foot house.
She told stories of buying one kiddie pool, then two, then three to host all the kids in the summer. She talked about tutoring, youth group, Bible studies, and doing life with your neighbors.
I started swinging by the neighborhood to look at the people that lived there (creeper!), pray, and ask God if I was supposed to be involved. A love for the people was developing, and the area started to feel like home. I told God I would pursue living here and expect Him to redirect if this was the wrong way to go.
He directed all right.
Signpost #1: My Parents Say . . .
I knew it was time to involve my parents. A few weeks later, I called Dad and said, "Is Mom around? You may want to put this on speakerphone." They’re semi-used to me announcing radical, ridiculous, and passionate ideas, but still . . . I know they get nervous when I want to talk to both of them at the same time.
If you want to be truly filled, set your wants on nothing less than God Himself.
God had brought me to a place of wanting to completely honor them in this process. I was totally prepared for them to say what any loving parent would be tempted to say, "No. It’s too dangerous."
I told them everything. In one breath. Then I stopped. There was a few seconds of silence.
Then Dad said, "We think you should do it. We don’t really have any concerns at all."
"Liza, the Christian life isn’t about being safe," Mom added.
"Yeah, in fact, do they need more house-parents?"
I didn’t know what to say! Their full support of what I’m doing frees me in incredible ways. Picture the Kentucky Derby, when the horses spring from the chutes. That was me. I knew then that I was on the right track, and I could run. But I didn’t quite know which lane I should be in yet.
Signpost #2: My Friends Offer Me . . .
On March 16, a group of friends were gathered in a living room. With coffee in hand, we were telling stories of how we were seeing God working in and around us.
A friend’s husband shared how God had been challenging him to use his resources to build God’s kingdom here on earth. He wanted to build as much kingdom here as possible, so we all dreamed together about ways that could happen.
Later I shared, "I’d just love to live in a big house in the hood where lots of people could find Jesus. A place where we could house people that needed a safe place and have a dozen kids around the table every night and play soccer in the backyard."
We all rejoiced in the different things God was doing and went our separate ways. The next day, I got a text. It was my friend’s husband. "Could you show me around this neighborhood?" As we drove around the neighborhood, he said, "We want to equip you to build the kingdom of God here. We want to buy you a house. Pick one out."
What?!? Buy a house?! I have never been so humbled or in awe of the Body of Christ coming together and everyone getting serious about what God has called them to do.
That’s when I realized, God is serious about this. He means business in this neighborhood, and I better get serious about it, too. It’s time to stop dipping my toe in the water to see if it’s cold. Of course it’s cold. Jump in anyway. Because He is worthy.
This doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. I am in awe of a God who weaves His purposes and our surrendered desires together so perfectly. In turn, it’s only appropriate to fall on our knees in worship and give Him all the scraps of our lives.
I feel like a kid who just got a pony for my birthday. I’ve dreamed of it, but never quite expected it.
I cannot believe we get to do this. And it’s not the stuff; it’s God Himself and His heart and sending us out as His personal ambassadors and involving us in His grand plan.
Caring about what He cares about is blessed freedom from yourself and caring so much about things that don’t pay up on their promises for fulfillment and happiness. If you want to be truly filled, set your wants on nothing less than God Himself.
"Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food [the profuseness of spiritual joy]" (Isa. 55:2).
(Hey, girls. Paula here.) Did you catch what Liza said?
Caring about what God cares about is blessed freedom from yourself and caring so much about things that don’t pay up on their promises for fulfillment and happiness.
That’s why I shared Liza’s story with you—to spark your imagination for how God might multiply your life. Yes, yours! Oh, I know you feel ordinary. But God’s always used "little" people to do great big things as they rely on His mighty power.
God made you for so much more than snagging that cute guy’s attention. It doesn’t mean you’ll write a book or live in the "hood"—God has a unique plan just for you!
How can you begin to bless others today with the talents He’s given you?
Liza is a natural beauty who shines Jesus. One of the things I love most about her is that she’s had this routine for years where she spends most Wednesday nights with God. I think that’s a big part of why He’s writing such an incredible story in her life right now. In fact, I think it’s so great that I want you to know about it. Read Liza’s account below to see what I’m so excited about.
I’m one of those people who wrote my bucket list years ago. It’s full of things I imagined would make an adventurous, worthwhile life. But it’s recently become clear there was a large oversight when making that list.
I didn’t put "live in the hood" anywhere on it.
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8–9).
So yes, "live in the hood" is now somewhere near the top of the list . . . but I’m getting ahead of the story. It all started in the spring a couple of years ago.
Spring 2012, Pregnancy Care Center, Michigan
I started volunteer work at the local pregnancy care center—not because I was particularly drawn to that field, but because I was looking for ways to share the Light. One of my first times there, I saw a girl walking by with bleach-blonde hair and hard, empty eyes. My heart tightened knowing I would soon be in a counseling room with her or one of her friends having no idea what to say or how to relate. But at least I noticed her. That was new. That was progress.
God doesn’t just see 142 million orphans. He sees one. And another one. And another one.
The pregnancy care center ended up changing the way I see people like her entirely. Cut to a year later: precious friendships, baby showers, laughing with, crying with, and learning how to love people the way God loves.
June 2013, Set Apart Girl Conference, Colorado
At a Set Apart Girl Conference in Colorado, I heard the miraculous testimony of a rescued street girl from South Korea, and it sunk deep down into my heart that God doesn’t just see 142 million orphans. He sees one. And another one. And another one.
He sees Ayushi, begging at a rickshaw on the streets of New Dehli. And He cares so much. He wants to rescue her. And He uses His hands and feet, His people here on the earth, to go pick her up out of the dust, brush her off, and make His love real to her.
The gap between my comfy life and volunteering at the center was becoming wider and wider. It didn’t feel right anymore.
God, if there are people out there You want to rescue, I’d consider it a privilege to be the one to take them by the hand and lead them to safety. Please send someone to rescue them. Send me.
January 2014, Lori’s Home, Ohio
The gap between my comfy life and volunteering once a week at the pregnancy care center was becoming wider and wider. It didn’t feel right anymore. How could I truly love the people God had so clearly drawn my heart to when I kept them at such a distance?
Then I connected with an old friend, Lori, who told stories of Christians (herself included) who’d just asked God to show them people to love and then moved right next door to them in the rough part of town. I had no idea Christians could just . . . do that. They called it Christian Community Development, and there were associations and conferences and everything.
That made so much sense. That’s what Jesus did with us. He came incarnate, God With Us, and stayed. He came into close proximity with the ones He loved to rescue them and redeem them. When He finished the redemption work, He went to heaven, sent His Holy Spirit, and now gives us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18–20).
From that day forward, knowing how much Jesus loves the poor, the least of these, the broken, the castaways . . . and knowing how much He loves me, I knew it was time to connect the dots and just go live with these people and make His love real to them.
All that was left to do was find a "hood."
To be continued tomorrow . . .
(Hey, girls. Paula here.) Did you catch what Liza said?
The gap between my comfy life and volunteering once a week at the pregnancy care center was becoming wider and wider. It didn’t feel right anymore.
You’re probably still sharing a room with your little sister (or maybe not!), and I don’t imagine "living in the hood" is even an option for you at this point in life. But in what other ways is God calling you out of your comfort zone in your everyday life?
Oh, and I’d love to hear . . . do you have a bucket list? What’s on it?