By Heidi Vegh, Crosswalk.com
We all need money. We save money, we spend money, and we work hard for money. Some of us are avid savers, penny-pinching wherever we can. Others are spenders, struggling with the temptation to spend needlessly, causing financial strife and often accumulating piles of debt.
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money." Mathew 6:24
So what does God have to say about money? Let's take a look:
Everything We Have Belongs to the Lord
"The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord;" Psalm 24:1
Everything we have is a gift from the Lord, including our finances. Everything we own, and every dollar in our bank account. Yes, we work hard for what we have, but even our ability to work and the opportunities we have to work are a gift. Living in humility, knowing that we are not the sole earners and bringers of our wealth, gives us a healthy understanding of what we have and prevents us from boasting and showing off our blessings.
Instead, we ought to live a life of giving and sacrificing, using our finances to care for ourselves and bless those around us.
Our Treasure Ought To Be in the Lord
"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 6:21
Money is not evil, but the love of money is. Living a life loving money over God is an empty and unsatisfying existence. It may bring you happiness temporarily, but in the end, it is fleeting; you can't take anything with you, and it won't last.
Where is your treasure? Is it in the fleeting things of this world or the Lord? Money can be stolen, lost, squandered, and so can our possessions. But our hope in Jesus is everlasting, we can never lose it, and we take it with us right into heaven. The greatest satisfaction of all time!
God Blesses Us with Work
Proverbs 10:4 says, "Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring riches."
Adam and Eve were given the blessing of work in the garden of Eden. They were blessed with dominion over plants and animals. It gave them purpose and activity in paradise. However, after the fall, the work became toil. It became arduous. But even that work was a blessing for them, producing crops and life. God blesses each of us in different ways, some financially and some in other ways. Either way, we ought to thank the Lord for our work and the fruit that it yields.
Be Careful with Wealth
Timothy 6:17 says, "Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy."
There can be a misunderstanding that financial blessings mean that God is pouring out more on certain people leaving the ones who struggle financially feeling lost in the dust. If we take a step back to understand the blessings of the Lord, it is not always in the form of money or things.
I have seen poverty in Africa and Guatemala. I have spent time with people in the most remote and needy places. However, one thing I noticed is that the joy of the Lord was real, raw, and sincere. They were blessed beyond measure with the presence of the Lord, even as they had nothing of earthly value. That is not to say that a rich person cannot feel the joy of the Lord, but it is harder to come by when you have many earthly things vying for your attention.
"And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Mathew 19:24
Being wealthy is a blessing from the Lord, but relying on the Lord takes more intentionality because the need is not as great. Jesus is warning us to be careful with our wealth and to place it in the right alignment with God.
We Are Called to Bless Others with Our Blessings
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver."
In this passage, Paul tells us that God wants us to use the blessings that he bestows upon us to bless others. It is easy to become prideful about what we have, what we own, and the number on our banking app. This is not God's intention.
Ask yourself these hard questions:
Do you tithe regularly to your church?
Do you give to those less fortunate?
Do you have the heart to give, even if it means sacrificing something for yourself?
The Lord Calls Us to Give Our First Fruits to Further His Kingdom
"Make an offering of ten percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year. Bring this into the Presence of God, your God, at the place he designates for worship, and there eat the tithe from your grain, wine, and oil and the firstborn from your herds and flocks. In this way, you will learn to live in deep reverence before God, your God, as long as you live." Deuteronomy 14:22-23
This can be viewed as a legalistic act monitored and controlled by the church, but that is not how God intended it. He intended us to give with cheerful sacrifice out of our love for God, not out of obligation. When we take the first tenth of everything we earn and give it to further the kingdom of the Lord, He promises to bless us.
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:10
We must remember that blessings and "floodgates" don't always mean material blessings. You will be blessed in ways beyond our life on earth.
"Give and it will be given to you." Luke 6:38
He is asking us to sacrifice and give, teaching us how to live in deep reverence before God. Aligning our hearts with His rather than with the things of this world, temporary things.
We all struggle with the temptation to put our hope in money and the empty promises that it will bring us fulfillment and lasting joy. God tells us in the Bible that we are not to be controlled by money and not to worship money. God is clear about Him being the only true source of satisfaction and fulfillment in this life on earth. Bring your finances to the Lord, whether you are in plenty or want. He understands that we need them, but he doesn't want us to be burdened by money or possessions. Ask the Lord to show you where you are misplacing money in your life, and be willing to sacrifice where He asks you to.
There are greater blessings to be experienced in having a relationship with Jesus. More abundant joy and purpose than money could ever buy!
Heidi Vegh is a writer, speaker, and ministry leader living in Gig Harbor, WA. She is a remarried mother of four, navigating the blended family life after the loss of her first husband to cancer in 2013. She longs to use her writing as a way to encourage others who have experienced loss and guide them on the road to healing. She contributes to her blog found at www.mrsheidivegh.com , sharing stories and devotionals of faith stemming from her loss and healing, mothering, and her blended and complex family. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in Creative Writing and English and is working on her first book. Heidi is the Women’s Ministry Director at Gig Harbor Foursquare and has a deep heart for sharing Jesus with women and encouraging them in their faith walk. When she is not writing she loves to travel, read, craft, and experiment in the kitchen. Visit her Facebook and Instagram (@mrsheidivegh) to learn more.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
There are still things you can do with a little ingenuity and a sense of adventure to make a great vacation for little or even no money. Here are seven low-budget trips you can take this year.