In Matthew 11, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” On this MoneyWise, we’ll talk about what that might mean with regard to money.
- There are plenty of practical things you can learn about money by reading books or even listening to the radio! And those practical things are important — things like preparing a budget, managing cash flow, and participating in a company-sponsored retirement plan.
- But you can do all those things wisely and still fall short of being a faithful steward.
- BEING A DISCIPLE
- That’s because, from a Christian perspective, how we handle money is part of our ongoing discipleship. Disciples are “learners.” In fact, the word comes to us from a Latin word that means “scholar” — that is, one who studies a particular area and gains expertise.
- Now, as Christian disciples, what are we learning about? Well, to state it most succinctly, we are learning about Jesus — who he is, what he did, what he taught, and what that means for us. To use Jesus’ own words, he is “the way, the truth, and life.”
- And, to use a proclamation that has resonated down through the ages in the Church, “Jesus is Lord.”
- JESUS’ LORDSHIP
- Being a disciple involves recognizing that Jesus is Lord over not just so-called “spiritual” things, but over everything — everything you are and everything you have. That includes our finances.
- Jesus tells us that we can trust God to be our provider. That doesn’t mean we can sit around and be lazy, but it does mean God knows our needs and he will make a way — financially — for those who love and serve him.
- In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us we don’t need to worry. “Look at the birds of the air,” he says. “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” And he asks, “Are you not much more valuable than they?”
- Jesus also calls us to radical generosity. Remember how he commended the poor widow who gave all she had? And what about his challenge to “Give — and it will be given unto you”?
- Jesus also calls us to a life of financial faithfulness. Recall his parable in Luke 19 about a man of royalty who went away for a time and entrusted financial resources to his servants? “Put this money to work,” he said, “until I come back.” You and I should see ourselves in that parable. The Lord has assigned us a task. Our job is to be as faithful to that task as we can.
- A WORD OF WARNING
- Now, Jesus said many other things about money. But let’s conclude with this — a warning about what money can do us if we don’t approach with an attitude of financial faithfulness, trust in God, and radical generosity.
- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says this: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” And then he drove the point home with this very clear application: “You cannot serve both God and money.”
- The word money here is actually the Greek “mammon.” The idea it carries is broader than just “money” itself. It has to do with all the things money can buy and the attitude that it can foster in us — that having money makes me, in the words of an old poem, the “master of my fate” and the “captain of my soul.”
- You can see why Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money” — or “mammon.” A mindset that “money puts me in charge of my life” goes against the very essence of Christian discipleship. We are not masters of our own fate or captains of our own souls. Jesus is our master. He is our captain. He is Lord.
- So, by all means, learn the practical aspects of managing money. But always remember that, for the disciple of Jesus, managing money well is part of something much, much larger. It’s about serving him who is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is Lord. And so we gladly “take [his] yoke and learn from him,” recognizing that he loves us — and he is with us every step of the way.
On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- What are the rules surrounding Social Security as a spousal benefit?
- What is the best way to honor God with your tithe when you’re not yet rooted in a church in a new town?
- How do you determine the best way to invest expendable income in a volatile market?
- When does it make sense to invest in an IRA instead of a TSP?
- Is Bitcoin a wise investment?
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to Questions@MoneyWise.org. Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, join the MoneyWise Community, and even download the free MoneyWise app.