What Is The Biblical Attitude Towards Money?
The biblical attitude towards money is that of using it to worship God by faith, express our love to God and others and being willing to give more than is necessary or expected. We wisely use all that God has given us with integrity and honor—choosing to be content with our lot in life and using our wealth (money and possession) to lay up treasure in heaven. The following survey through the Bible helps reveal the proper attitudes that we as believers should have towards money.
Worship, Charity And Generosity
- Wealth (money and possession) is used as a means of worshipping God by faith because everything came from Him and is His. Before the law of Moses was established—meaning there was no specific commands recorded in the Bible for the people of God concerning the use of one’s money and possessions—we discover that one’s wealth (money and possessions) and relationship with God were associated. For example, Abel, by faith, offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Melchizedek and Abraham both recognized the Lord, the most high God, as the possessor of heaven and earth. Abraham gave Melchizedek, who was the priest of the most high God, tithes of all the spoils from the battle he won. Job was a rich man who generously used all He had to serve God and help the poor. He never made his wealth the object of his hope or trust. Thus when he lost everything, he didn’t sin or charged God foolishly.
Genesis 4:3-7; 14:16-24; Hebrews 11:4, 6, 13; 1 John 3:12; Job 1:1-5, 9-10, 22; 29:12-17; 31:16-28; 39-40
- Wealth (money and possession) is used as a means of expressing our love to God and others. When the law of Moses was established—(meaning there was specific commands recorded in the Bible for the people of God concerning the use of one’s money and possessions—we discover how God expected His people to manage their finances. For example, they were to obey and worship the Lord their God through four kinds of tithes (Levitical, Priestly, Festival, Charity). There were rules to govern how to make payment back to others who suffered loss in interpersonal relationships or to keep people from taking financial advantage of others or the poor. Giving to God was to be a priority (firstfruits). God even offered to bless them for obedience. They were to “open their hands wide” to the poor and in certain situations they were to furnish others liberally from what God had blessed them with. The year of jubile (every fifty years) was instituted to liberate the people from all kinds of indebtedness and enslavement. This included property, indentured slaves, etc., and it helped moderate the economy and those with financial hardships.
Exodus 22:1-17; 21-30; 23:3-6; 8-11; 16-19; 25-26; Leviticus 19:9-10; 25:1-55; Numbers 18:20-24; Deuteronomy 12:17-19; 14:22-29; 15:1-23; 26:10-16
- Wealth (money and possession) is used with a willingness to give more than is necessary or expected. After the law of Moses was established—meaning while the law was relevant—we discover how the attitude towards money was lived out in the lives of the people of God. David showed us that giving opportunities are also opportunities for God to test our hearts to discern the nature of it—do we have an upright heart? David and his people were found upright because the attitudes of their hearts were that of: willingness, joyfulness and generousness. He also acknowledged all that is in the heaven and in the earth is God’s, riches come from God, and everything they offered to God was already God’s and they were just giving back to Him what was already His.
1 Chronicles 29:1-17
Wisdom, Integrity, Honor And Contentment
- Wealth (money and possession) is gained through honest means—knowing that it is better to be poor and righteous than rich and wicked. The Psalms teach us that the righteous don’t use their money to take advantage of others (through interest rates on borrowing and lending) for financial gain; they are trustworthy in their borrowing and paying back; they are willing to lend, give and show mercy; it is better to do right than do wrong even if it means financial loss (for we know the righteous aren’t forsaken but are blessed); we will be confronted with financial injustice that is hard to understand but we know that prosperity is not a sign of integrity and that for believers there is nothing upon earth that we desire besides God and even if our flesh and hearts fail God is the strength of our heart, and our portion forever.
Psalm 15:5; 34:9-10; 37:14-26; 73:1-28; 112:1-10
- Wealth (money and possession) is used in a way that brings honor to God and a high respect for God affects all our financial decisions. The proverbs teach us that God blesses those who honor Him with their wealth. Honoring God includes having mercy on the poor (knowing that we lend to God and He repays). It also warns of the danger of accruing debt (you become servant to the lender) and the pursuit of wealth (it is vain because all riches are just temporary and can’t satisfy). Finally, it shows the deception of focusing on our financial situation (rich or poor) more than focusing on honoring God in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Proverbs 3:9-10; 14:31; 19:17; 22:7; 23:4-5; 30:8-9
- Wealth (money and possession) does not lead to happiness and satisfaction, but it is found in fearing God, keeping His commandments and finding enjoyment in our lot in life. The book of Ecclesiastes tells about King Solomon who had everything that he desired but concluded that all was vanity. Great wealth didn’t bring true contentment, but on the contrary it brought many more problems. He tells us that if you love money and wealth you won’t be satisfied when you get it; the more you have the more others will consume it; riches brings about anxiety and not rest; riches are kept and accumulated but it ultimately leads to our hurt or misfortune; riches can easily be lost through bad work; and all riches will be left behind at death. We avoid the “oppression of riches” by being content in God and enjoy the things He blesses us with. This keeps us occupied with joy in our hearts.
Ecclesiastes 2:9-11; 5:10-20; 12:13-14
Purpose And Ambition
- Wealth (money and possession) is dethroned from its idolatrous position in our lives and we use it to lay up treasure in heaven. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve God and money and that our lives don’t consist in the abundance of the things that we possess. We are to serve God and use our wealth to serve God. We are not to use our wealth on this earth to accumulate a great amount of treasure here, but instead use it for God’s purposes (giving to the poor, etc) to lay up treasures in heaven.
Luke 12:13-21; 33-34; 16:19-31; 18:18-30; 19:5-10
- Before the law of Moses what was the attitude towards money?
- What did the law of Moses teach us about money?
- In the lives of the people of God, what was the attitude towards money?
- What are the attitudes of wisdom towards money?
- What attitude does Jesus want us to have towards money?