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The Bible makes it clear that all things belong to God, including us and everything we own.

Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

Genesis 1 through 3 tells us that God created all things, including men and women, for his own glory, and that human beings have the honor of being at the very top of his creative order. This means human beings, while inherently sinful, are infinitely valuable, and should be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.

Since the beginning, God has given humanity the great gift of dominance over all living things, but also a responsibility to be good stewards of His creation. Therefore, we owe it to our Maker to use our money wisely. We should do nothing to hinder His Kingdom and instead advance it. We should not invest in ventures that promote or traffic in sin and thus are destructive to people.

Good stewardship begins with acknowledgement of Who really calls the shots.

“I believe the most dangerous misconception is the idea our money and possessions belong to us, not God,” says Randy Alcorn, author and founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries. “Many of our problems begin when we forget that God is the Boss of the universe. But in fact He is more than the boss; He is the owner.1

Deuteronomy 10:14

“From beginning to end, Scripture repeatedly emphasizes God’s ownership of everything: ‘To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it’.”2

“When I grasp that I’m a steward, not an owner, it totally changes my perspective. Suddenly, I’m not asking, ‘How much of my money shall I, out of the goodness of my heart, give to God?’ Rather, I’m asking, ‘Since all of ‘my’ money is really yours, Lord, how would you like me to invest your money today?'”3

Money itself is a dynamic instrument. In a sermon about the proper uses of money, John Wesley said this:

“I. We ought to gain all we can gain but this it is certain we ought not to do; we ought not to gain money at the expense of life, nor at the expense of our health.
II. Do not throw the precious talent into the sea.
III. Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then ‘give all you can.'”4

Making the Most of God’s Provision

Jesus warned against the folly of being content to sit on cash or any bounty from God without putting it to good use. In the Parable of the Talents (a form of money in Jesus’s time) He praises two servants who invest their master’s money and reap dividends, but sharply rebukes a third servant who merely hid the money he was given and so there was no increase.

In Matthew, the third servant desperately tries to explain:

Matthew 25:25-29

“And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.'”

Of course, this parable is about more than money, and reflects concern for good stewardship in all areas of life. But Jesus chose to base it on money for a reason.

Throughout the Bible are myriad warnings against money becoming an end in itself, that is, an idol, and others about the virtues of sound money management. In fact, there are more than 2,300 verses that mention money, more than any other topic, including faith (500 verses) so God cares deeply about what we do with it.

Scripture often reminds us that while money is important, our earthly and eternal security lie in our relationship with God.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon cautions,

Ecclesiastes 5:10

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.”

Proverbs says,

Proverbs 11:28

“He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.”

In Hebrews, we are told,

Hebrews 13:5

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus puts it this way:

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Apostle Paul gives an admonition against greed that is often misquoted. He does not call money itself evil, only excessive desire for it.

1 Timothy 6:10

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Along with warnings about over reliance on wealth, the Bible is full of wisdom about handling money and assurances that God will always provide.

Deuteronomy 8:18

“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

Philippians 4:19

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:32

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

While reassuring us of God’s providence, the Bible gives ample advice about managing our wealth. For example, the Book of Proverbs condemns dishonesty, foolishness and laziness.

Proverbs 11:1

“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.”

Proverbs 6:6-8

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.”

Proverbs 24:27

“Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”

Financially speaking, this means making wise investments with our time and money before spending what we have on non-essentials.

The Apostle Paul lauded hard work, citing himself as an example, and warning that hunger awaits those who will not exert themselves:

2 Thessalonians 3:7-10

“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”

The Bible places much importance on how wealth is accumulated.

Proverbs 21:5

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

Proverbs 16:8

“Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice.”

Mark 8:36

The most famous and most often quoted warning against ill-gotten gain is from Jesus Himself: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Matthew 6:21

And, He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The Bible even has advice about diversifying one’s investments. A popular non-biblical saying warns against putting all of our eggs in one basket. Solomon explains it this way:

Ecclesiastes 11:2, NIV

“Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.”

Conclusion

God wants us to use our strength, talents and investments wisely in the service of his kingdom. The sum total of wisdom throughout the Bible should lead us to reject the two opposite theological errors when it comes to money: the “prosperity gospel” and the “poverty gospel.”

The first, which also goes by the “health and wealth gospel,” teaches that God rewards faith—and heavy tithing—with financial and health blessings. The implication is that if we struggle financially, it is a sign of weak faith. It’s the modern equivalent of throwing a non-swimmer into a pond and labeling her a “witch” when she drowns. The second, the poverty gospel, reflects an extremely unbiblical disdain for money that often reflects a common misreading of Paul’s warning about the love of money.

Money, like other material things, is good because God made it. Money allows us to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors who have legitimate needs. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We have to have resources to give, which brings us back to John Wesley’s admonition to “gain all you can, save all you can and give all you can.”

Biblically Responsible Investing allows us to grow our finances and to be able to give without supporting moral corruption. We have true peace of mind when we lean for all of our needs on the One Who made us:

Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. (1 Chronicles 29:12)


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Series 2 of 6: GOD'S FINANCIAL ADVICE -- Since the beginning, God has given humanity the gift of dominance over all living things, but also a responsibility to be good stewards of His creation. Therefore, we owe it to our Maker to use our money wisely. We should do nothing to hinder His Kingdom and instead advance it. We should not hurt people by investing in ventures that promote or traffic in sin.


1 “Christ-Centered Stewardship in a Consumer-Driven Culture: An Interview about Money and Giving,” Eternal Perspective Ministries, July 5, 2017, at: www.epm.org/blog/2017/Jul/5/christ-centered-stewardship.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 John Wesley, “The Use of Money,” Sermon 50, John Wesley Sermons, the United Methodist Church, 1872 (The text for John Wesley’s sermons originally came from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library) at: www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-50-The-Use-of-Money.


YOUR CHOICES COUNT: THE CASE FOR BIBLICALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING

Article 1 – A Brief History of Socially Responsible Investing
Article 2 – God’s Financial Advice
Article 3 – Biblically Responsible Finance from 1976 to the Present
Article 4 – Moral Investing – A Growing Field
Article 5 – BRI Historical Returns: Comparable–or Better
Article 6 – Impacting the Kingdom.