When we say we want to follow Christ, make Him Lord and experience all He has for us, we have one very real test of our devotion. Money. Jesus never seemed to be satisfied with a slice of the pie of our obedience. He did not rejoice in the tithe or a big offering as much as He did in the sacrificial, complete giving of a widow.
The New Testament concept of stewardship arises from our total commitment to Jesus Christ. When He becomes our Lord, He becomes Lord of our time, talents, finances, and everything else.
Jesus warned about the insidious effect of money, saying “Your heart will always be where your riches are” (Luke 12:34). And we don’t need to have much to be controlled by it. It’s a bit like an affair. Suddenly we can find that we are in too deep to pull away.
So here are some affair-proofing things we can do:
1 Give more than a trivial amount of money away. Look at the Master’s example, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9 NIV).
2 Give until it takes faith to do so. Then we might discover what Jesus had in mind when he said this, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV).
3 Give to “kingdom” work. By that I mean to those who labour to extend God’s rule and influence on earth. Typically this may be to our church, and to those working with the poor and needy.
4 Give in secret. If we want to take the credit for our giving here on earth, there is no commendation later in heaven. So Jesus said “when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Mat 6:3&4).
Psychologists tell us that most people do not plan on being in an affair, it just happens. Maybe decide today that it will not happen between us and money.