The Starting Point for Joy
“Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” – Matthew 25:19
One day, the Master really will return. One habit that will help ensure that we will be found faithful is to ask these questions as we consider various financial decisions: What would a manager of God’s resources – a wise builder – do in this situation? And will this choice help me love God, love people, and make a difference with my life, or could it hinder any of that?
The Power of a Word
Have you ever looked up what it means to be a “consumer”? To consume is to use up, destroy, or spend wastefully.
But it’s worse than that. You see, “consumer” is more than a word; it’s a worldview.
If I’m a consumer, life is all about me—my pleasure, my comfort, my happiness.
If I’m a consumer, happiness is found in money and what it can buy.
And if I’m a consumer, life is a competition to have more.
I’m not saying we overtly, consciously arrange our lives this way, but this is the direction in which the culture pulls us, and if we’re not intentional, our lives can start to look a lot like that.
A consumer is the polar opposite of who God made us to be and what He made us to be about.
The Bible doesn’t say life is all about us; it says life is all about God (Matthew 22:36-38).
The Bible doesn’t teach us to love money and things; it teaches us to love people (Matthew 22:39).
And the Bible doesn’t say life is found in competition; it says life is found in contribution (Ephesians 2:10).
Those are the three overarching purposes of our lives: To love God, love people, and make a difference with our lives. That means those are the three overarching purposes of money. Orienting our use of money around those purposes will lead to the most meaningful, satisfying experience with money.
Remembering Who You Are
What’s the word for such a person? Typically, we hear the term, “steward.” While that’s accurate, let me ask you: Does it motivate you? Are you excited about being a steward? If so, that’s great. However, it’s been my experience that some people carry that identity as a heavy burden. It’s as if God has said to them, “Here’s some of my stuff. Now don’t lose or break any of it.”
But that isn’t what He says at all. To the two servants depicted in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) who made something more of what was entrusted to them, God not only said, “Well done.” He also then entrusted them with more. And with all that He entrusts to us, we’re encouraged to build our lives wisely.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27
You were designed to be a wise builder. The “rock” is God’s word. Build your life, financially and otherwise, on a foundation of God’s Word and it will stand strong. The “sand” is the shifting fads and philosophies of our consumer culture. Build your life on sand and it will fall.
So, the starting benefit of being a wise builder is that your financial life will be solid. That’s all about peace of mind, and it’s a wonderful place to start. And there’s even more available…there’s joy. We can start with that—this journey toward peace of mind and joy.
Take it to Heart: How is my joy in Jesus expressed in the way I spend God’s money?
Take Action: What is one specific and definite way I can spend some of God’s money in the way that will make Him smile and give me peace of mind this week?