In the Christian Stewardship walk, there is the economy that the world knows and then there is God’s economy. The problem with the two occurs when we try to live in both worlds. It is a fence not worth straddling. As a result, we see money through the eyes of the world versus through the eyes of God’s economy. Unfortunately, there are some who preach the Prosperity Gospel in the combination of the two worlds. It is the taking of terms and applying definitions from two different worlds. It is important to be clear on the true meanings of financial terms and their meanings in God’s economy and differentiating them from the world in which we live.
The world application is that we own everything that we have. In addition we own these items because of everything that WE did. In God’s economy, we don’t own any of it. We manage what is given to us. We use the talents and the opportunities that God provides to obtain whatever we have. Our responsibility is to be good stewards of it. You view “stuff” differently when you accept you really don’t own it. For example, what happens when you die? That stuff you "owned" is redistributed to someone else.
Psalm 24:1 - “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
How do you define prosperity? For most, it is about money and wealth. Prosperity however is not limited to wealth. Prosperity can be found in happiness, fulfillment, contentment, security, etc. It is an abundance of life that can only be found in relationship with God. Unfortunately, the word is often exclusively related to money which can create a misinterpretation. There are many verses in the Bible that associate prosperity with being obedient or with giving/tithing. Thus, you can fall into the trap of being faithful to a discipline that creates financial prosperity. If I do ____ (fill in the blank), then God will bless me financially. God will bless you for being faithful and trusting His way. Here is the key - It is not up to us to define/determine that blessing ahead of time and tell God how to bless us. True prosperity has nothing to do with money.
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Investing in the world economy is about creating wealth for the purpose of personal consumption. Investing in God’s economy is about an investment that never goes away and one that lasts forever. It is about investing in lives. It is about the type of investing that allows for others to know God.
Matthew 6:19-20 - Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Freedom is not found in money and wealth. Ask yourself a question - If you won the lottery, would you be more content, happy, secure, confident, and free than before you won the lottery? Financial freedom in God’s economy is found when money does not control you, when you are not attached to it, and when it doesn’t define you. That is freedom for finances versus financial freedom.
Galatians 5:1 - It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Credit is about getting something before you can afford it. The Bible doesn’t specifically address debt in a manner that says don’t flat out do it. However, it does give stern warnings and for good reason. In God’s economy, debt robs you of your freedom to be in a relationship with God. As long as you have the obligation of debt, you have the obligation to do the things necessary to pay it back. That limits your freedom. The world economy wants you to buy into the immediate gratification economy, enjoy it now, and worry about paying for it later.
I Corinthians 7:23 – “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
Look at money through the lens of God's economy and what you see just might redefine how you look at money!