Put God First

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How do you feel about your finances? There is no way to get more personal with someone than to talk about their finances. The bible has much to say about how we should handle our day to day income and what our attitude toward material things in general should be. Just how are we to get by in this life and where should our emphasis in life be?

We are told to work quietly and earn our own bread so that we may have to give to those who are in need (1 Thes 4: 11,12; Ephesians 4:28). There are some exceptions to this rule, such as those who are unable to work, but even in these circumstances one should be ready to do all they can and give to others who have need greater than their own. We are to earn our way in this life and not be beholden to others. Our dignity demands it and the scriptures teach us to do so. Let even him who depends on others for sustenance work to earn his place in this world. We must not be slothful and lazy and expect the rest of the world to look after us.

But what is to be our attitude toward others regarding our finances and the monies we control in our lives? First we are to put God and spiritual things first in our lives and depend on God for our survival and not place all our emphasis on the day to day acquisition of material things. (See Matthew 6:19-34). This passage teaches us to lay up treasures in heaven and not on the earth. Our emphasis should be on getting to heaven and on spiritual things and not on the treasures of this world we might accumulate.

We are to earn our own bread so that whatever we earn in excess may be for the benefit of others (to give to those who have need) and not to acquire the treasures of this earth that show others how well we have done. We should not be out to impress the world, but to impress Him who has our eternal destiny in His hands, our Father in heaven. If we put the emphasis on spiritual things and doing what is right, we won’t worry so much about acquiring this world’s goods, but rather seek to help others as best as we are able. When we do suffer financial loss of some kind, we will not stress over much about it either, but  take it in stride and realize perhaps it is for the best anyway.

We, of course are to be wise in financial matters and not waste what we have even when it comes to giving to others (Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us this as well as a great spiritual lesson). Still Jesus taught that we should lend to others without expecting to be repaid (Luke 6:34, 35). We are to be wise in this , but when we discern a true need we are to give not expecting anything in return in this life, but great reward in the life to come. And when it does occur that we are not paid back for a loan we should not hold a grudge and seek to punish the defaulter, but simply realize that we  gain spiritually by handling the loss as God would have us do. Not that we should lend to others who are fully capable of paying back but do not, without expecting repayment, as this would lead to being taken advantage of again and again. God will judge those who seek to take advantage of others generosity in the end.

 I have members of my own family who have never made an effort to repay loans I made them and they have talked me into further loans more often than I like. It would not be right for me to continue to give them my money (as I think some of them never had any intention of making repayment). This would not be wise and I would not be a good steward over  what God has entrusted to me in this life if I continue to do so. Still, if they had a great need of some kind should I not be willing to help even without expecting repayment. I should be, but I must be wise in discerning need. God does not give us an abundance so that we just throw our money away on those who have no real need. He does so that we may give where there is true need. We must be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves when it comes to financial matters as well as spiritual matters (Matthew 10:16).

May God bless and keep you until next time.

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