By Roger S. Oldham, Crosswalk.com
Whether it was Roman-era coinage or it is today's dollars and cents - no matter the currency - Jesus had plenty to say about money.
Jesus taught that a legitimate use of money is to support the Lord's work through the religious institutions the Lord established (Matthew 23:23; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 8:1-3). In the Old Testament, it was the tabernacle and the temple; in Jesus' day, it was Herod's temple; in ours, it is the local church. The LORD's command to bring the tithes and offerings was not predicated on how holy the priests were (Malachi 2 and 3; Mark 11:15-18) or, in our day, whether or not we like the pastor. It was predicated on obedience and surrender to his Lordship over all we are and have. God knows how to deal with disobedient priests (1 Samuel 2:12-36; 3:13; 4:11-18).
Jesus taught that we ought to pay our taxes (Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-22). Caesar was the emperor of an oppressive regime; but his followers, then and now, were called to show deference to the ruling authorities in matters that do not violate our Christian calling to be his witnesses (compare Acts 4:18-19 and Romans 13:1-8).
Jesus taught that we should use our financial resources to help the poor and needy through benevolence (Luke 10:29-37; 18:18-25; compare James 2:15-17) and missions/ministry support (Luke 8:1-3; 10:1-9).
Jesus taught that we should exercise careful money management and exercise shrewd wisdom prior to making any purchase (Luke 14:28-30).
Jesus taught, particularly through his frequent illustrations of stewards (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 16:1-13) and farming (Matthew 13:8, 23; John 4:34-38), that it is appropriate, and even expected by the Lord, to invest our resources for long-term gain and/or financial security.
Jesus taught that we should not depend upon our resources, but upon God, as the source of our supply, trusting him to meet our essential family needs (Matthew 6:9-13, 19-34; Luke 12:22-34).
Jesus taught that, since we are merely stewards, we should invest ourselves into the lives of others, not hoard our resources to ourselves (Matthew 25:34-40; Luke 6:30-38; 10:25-37; 12:15-21).
Jesus taught that we should not use the power of money to lord it over others, either through arrogance or coercive manipulation (Matthew 18:23-34; Luke 7:40-43; 20:9-16).
"All Scripture is God-breathed," the apostle Paul wrote to his young co-laborer Timothy, "and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
When anchored in Jesus' teaching, our money can be all that God's intends for our part in advancing his Kingdom, in ministering to the needs of others, and in providing for our needs according to the resources he has allowed us to receive.
Roger S. Oldham is vice president for convention communications and relations with the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter, Facebook, and in your email.
Courtesy Baptist Press. Used with permission.
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