As we look around America today, we see what our forefathers envisioned — a land of freedom and opportunity. Even households at the “poverty level” in this country today have a much better standard of living than those in third world countries. Yet, the resounding theme throughout America today is to get richer.
Because we live in a privileged society, most of us enjoy some degree of wealth. God has entrusted His people with varying degrees of riches. As Christians living in this country, the biggest challenges to managing our money are: How are we going to glorify God with what He has provided? How are we to live up to God’s charges through Paul as described in 1 Timothy 6:17-18?
The answer to the first question is simple. Invest in the kingdom of God. It is the most rewarding place to invest your money. Doing this can be difficult, however, even for the most conscientious of stewards. This is because we do not necessarily see an immediate return on our investments. We are trained by our culture to gain wealth now and live for today. But when we Christians give with a pure and joyful heart to the poor and needy, support the church, and help fund a missionary, we are laying up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20-21). Thus, our ultimate return on investment is: unfathomable eternal richness. (Matt. 19:21, 29; Luke 14:14).
In order to follow God’s directions as given in Paul’s letter to Timothy, we need to keep in the forefront of our minds a few basic principles. We need to remember that everything we own is God’s. He has given the increase to us as a loan, for which we will be held accountable (2 Cor. 5:10). God has entrusted us all with differing degrees of wealth, so we must regularly ask ourselves, how will we serve His kingdom with it? We must not get caught up in the things of this world, otherwise known as materialism (see 1 Tim. 6:10). We must rely on God who provides for us everything we need on this earth. When we truly live by these principles, only then will we begin to understand the meaning of “that which is truly life” (6:19).
John Petersen is the director of development at Ligonier Ministries.