Worshipping God with Your Pocketbook
by Nancy K. Grace
If there’s one topic of conversation that has the potential to create tension, it’s money. Congregations bristle or squirm during the stewardship sermon, and pastors cringe at having to present it. It is a skillful pastor who can teach about money with confidence. We in ministry should hopefully have a different view of money than non-believers, but this doesn’t negate the tension that money creates.
We can tell ourselves, “the servant of God is to be dependent on God to provide,” but if we are serving in a ministry that is struggling with finances, our faith can be tested. I vividly remember the day years ago when the church treasurer gave my husband his paycheck and said, “Don’t cash it until after I make the offering deposit on Monday,” My faith was put on high alert. I desperately recalled Phil. 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” God showed me He would provide, and I gained some peace in my heart.
As ministry families, we may think that we shouldn’t be concerned with the amount of money we have, minimizing the importance of material possessions. But, like everyone else, we face the very real expense of raising a family, of children’s braces and of future college tuition. These types of financial demands can cause financial strain on an already tight budget.
Not Our Money
How we handle our money and possessions reveals something about how we approach God. If we grasp too tightly to what we have, and continually worry about money, we can develop a self-sufficiency that keeps us from honestly reaching out to God. But if we realize God is the owner of everything, and we are the stewards of what has been entrusted to us, we will have an attitude of serving God with our money and possessions.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus clearly speaks to us regarding our earthly possessions. “Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus teaches us to look beyond the temporal and reach heavenward for contentment and peace. Knowing the peace and love of God is the greatest treasure for our hearts. Following His stewardship teachings also brings contentment. Jesus taught more about money than anything else. He knew the struggle of the human heart with possessions, and reminded His listeners to keep their focus on God. At the heart of God’s financial commands is this premise: everything belongs to God. We are the stewards of the resources He has entrusted to us. As His stewards, we are to wisely manage the resources for His glory.
BOW . . .
before God as the creator, provider, and sustainer of everything. Using this simple acrostic, apply the following thoughts to your worship of God through your finances.
Bring your heart to God. At Christmas we often read Christina Rosetti’s poem. It’s also a good year-round reminder for us. “What can I bring Him poor as I am, if I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb. If I were a wise man, I’d do my part. What can I give Him? Give Him my heart.”
We need to maintain a heart-yielding attitude when it comes to money. This then becomes an act of worship. The widow in Luke 21 did this in giving her meager copper coins; the Magi did so in Matthew 2 as they gave their luxurious gifts. Bring your heart to God; it will reveal much about how you approach Him with your money.
Obey the commands of the Lord: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There is joy in obedience to the commands of Jesus. “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,” (Jn. 15:10a). Grow in your understanding of the scriptural teachings on money, and apply them to your life. That becomes obedience. As my husband and I have worked to apply biblical principles to our finances, we see God provide in more ways than we thought possible. His answers are far more creative than our ideas. Yielding our hearts through obedience leads to worship.
Worship the Lord. Oswald Chambers says, “Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.” Whether it is finances, talents, or time, decide to worship God by the action of returning a portion back to Him. Thank Him for taking care of every detail of the treasures He has entrusted to you. Be like the Magi who bowed and worshipped the Lord as they presented their gifts. During the offertory of your worship service, thank God for all He has provided for you. That becomes worship.
Is there tension or contentment in your heart over your finances? Is financial tension hindering your relationship with God? Exchange it for peace by trusting God’s principles. The kids’ braces and tuition needs will still be there, but contentment in the Lord reveals the true treasure of your heart. Bow to the Lord.