“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”
We need to see money for what it is: A resource to be used for operating an organization, supporting family, helping others, contributing to society, and getting things done as an agent of the kingdom. Jesus said this in the sermon on the mount:
“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.” (Matthew 6.19-21)
Jesus’ message is that your heart directs your life, and what you treasure directs your heart. Therefore, what you treasure directs your life. It is imperative then that you make sure you treasure the right things.
To “treasure” something is to assign value to it. And since what we treasure affects our heart, we must assign the right value to the right things. We get in trouble if we treasure the wrong things, or we assign the wrong value to the right things. What we need is discernment (which is awareness) and discipline (which is action).
This core message is written all over the book of Proverbs with regard to wealth. Money is a good thing, but only if you assign the proper value to it. You need money to buy food, clothing, a place to live, a car, etc.. If you have extra money you can use it as a safety net for your family, as well as to help and support the needs of others. That’s assigning the right value to money.
However, if you value money too much — if you assign the wrong value to it — then you begin to focus on it too much. You allow your identity to become attached to how much money you have (or don’t have). You will be tempted to compromise your values in an attempt to acquire more money. You will spend your money on the wrong things. You will begin to value money more than you value other people and their needs.
The central question is this: Is money a tool that you use wisely, or is it a treasure that you pursue selfishly? Again, what you treasure directs your heart, and your heart directs your life. Therefore, what you treasure directs your life. Guard your heart, and choose your treasure wisely.