Most of this post is going to flat-out be about money.
Because we have a major problem with our perceptions about money and wealth as believers. And if we can find freedom in God’s truth then all other related matters like industry and commerce will align.
First things first.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
1 Timothy 6:6-10 NIV
Money is NOT evil. Wealth is NOT evil.
It is when money is enthroned above God in a person’s heart, that it leads to “all kinds of evil”.
There is legitimacy in the prosperity gospel – not in how it’s commonly made reference to and exemplified but in how God intended prosperity to be.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
– Matthew 6:33 ESV
I listened to a sermon once where the preacher asked in reference to this verse – do we not expect God to hold up His end of the bargain? If we seek God first and surrender our lives to Him wholly to be in right standing with Him, do we not expect Him to add all these things to us – including prosperity?
Do we think God’s promise to be so fickle that we are relegated to strive to meet our end of the bargain while He denies us His goodness?
Isn’t that the root of the first lie mankind believed in Eden? That God wants to withhold good things from us and we have to strive for them to get them by our own means.
Here’s the kicker of Matthew 6:33. The verses that precede it are literally about material needs and material provision.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
– Matthew 6:25-32 ESV
Those are the “these things” Jesus is talking about. Because God is practical like that.
Yet our posture as believers towards our fellow brothers and sisters and Christ concerning wealth is often skewed to impractical proportions.
If you’re experiencing hardship and poverty (literal or figurative), the Lord has abandoned you. (And you must have done something to make Him do so.)
If you’re experiencing prosperity and have abundance of wealth (literal or figurative), you have abandoned God in order to get it.
One would think the middle ground to be a safe bet but – who exactly determines what the right balance of poverty and wealth is? There seem to be as many ideals as there are opinions on the matter.
We condemn people in their poverty and further condemn them in their prosperity. There’s just no winning.
Nani alituroga? Who bewitched us?
Seriously though, it’s probably because much of our thinking and beliefs about money is based on lies and human wisdom that yields confusion and division not the constant truth of God’s heart and mind that brings forth oneness and clarity through divine wisdom.
So how much money/wealth is too much for a believer to have?
The most profound answer I’ve come across about this came from Bill Johnson who simply stated (paraphrased): If 1000 shillings is what will cause you to stray from God, then you should always ensure you never have more than 999 shillings. If 10,000 shillings will make you forget God, then never hold onto more than 9,999 shillings.
It’s that simple.
And please, if you can only handle 999 shillings and someone else has the grace for 999,999 shillings celebrate that you both have grace that abounds. Don’t get mad at them for having something you don’t and try and make your limitations theirs. Seek God to find the revelation in your one talent and you may be surprised that it is just as valuable as five talents. And that if you are faithful with the one, you will grow in capacity to handle the many. For all you know, the one with the five started with one just like you.
Money is a problem if it’s taking you away from God; not if it’s one of the things that He’s added to your life as a result of your pursuit of Him. Not if He’s using that money to build His kingdom through you. Not if He’s using that money to sustain your family as per His blueprint, because family is the basic unit of kingdom.
There are revelations about God to be found in prosperity that the Body of Christ and the world need. Divine wealth and prosperity is a spiritual reality and to be frank, for all the exaltation we give it, money is at the very bottom of that ladder.
There are things that all the money in the world cannot buy you. Righteousness. Peace. Joy. Faith. Hope. Contentment. Health. The list goes on.
Money may get you a semblance of these things but they’ll never seem to be enough – you’re left constantly wanting for more while desperately holding onto what’s already in your hand. You’re left emptier than you were found.
That’s why I believe God would have us seek Him FIRST above any other thing – because He is a constant source of what we need and what we desire. He is the well that doesn’t run dry. And while money can be a good thing, it’s not the best thing He has to offer us. There’s so much more to Him that we have access to in Him.
Another key factor many of us as believers are unaware of is the spiritual parallels that mirror the physical realities of money. In fact, it is the spiritual reality of money that determines what is physically manifested concerning it.
Money in and of itself is an object; a vessel. It inherently doesn’t have the power give life or to corrupt it but it does carry the spiritual nature of the one who bears it. Legal right in the spirit extends to money and other forms of wealth.
That’s why it’s not enough to just physically give money/wealth in kind in a church. It’s far more a spiritual transaction than it is a physical one. If you don’t have spiritual awareness of what you’re doing, if you’re spiritually not open to making that transaction, then your transaction will be amiss. Think of it like trying to swipe a card to make a payment but the card gets declined because there isn’t enough money on the card account. If your spiritual bank account is devoid of revelation, you can’t make transfers from it.
The same goes for transactions outside of church. Personal transactions. Business transactions (commerce). Governmental transactions made by leaders on behalf of governments.
When that money is used to build institutions – families, schools, businesses, nations (industry) – the nature it carries will get transferred to the things being built with it.
Why do we think that money only matters when we’re giving it to God but is of no consequence when we’re dealing with people/businesses?
There are believers struggling with spiritual and financial impoverishment because of the ignorance with which they’ve made wealth transactions in the present and in the past. And no, I’m not going to give you a number to send money so I can make a prayer to wish all your problems away. Definitely not how this works.
God is keen to check on your awareness and wants to give you revelation of what you’re getting into. The devil, however, is more than happy to capitalize on your ignorance and will even invest in maintaining your foolishness.
“Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.”
– Ecclesiastes 10:19 ESV
Money does not solve problems. It gives answers not solutions. Sounds paradoxical but let me explain. If a beggar comes to me today and asks me for money for lunch, and I give them money, it has provided an answer to their immediate predicament – they now have the ability to buy lunch. But what happens tomorrow? The answer I have given using money is temporal. What is needed is a permanent solution – one that addresses the root of the problem not just the symptoms. Say, if I were to find out their skill set and help them find a job, then they have a way to not just buy today’s lunch, but to sustain their entire livelihood. The solution I have provided through wisdom is far-reaching.
We like to throw money at problems. Even as believers. But never will it yield the solutions we need to fully address the problems facing us as individuals, families, businesses and nations. It will not give us the maturity we need to be the sons and daughters creation is groaning out for.
We need God. We need the divine wealth He has to offer that transcends money and the answers it could provide.
And that brings us back to where we began.
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Whatever that looks like to you.
Whatever it means giving up and letting go of.
Whatever it means embracing wholly.
Seek God first.
Full of expectation that every other thing will be given to you, in time and season.
I didn’t delve much into offerings, tithes, first fruits, etc but they’re a fundamental part of any Christian transaction concerning money. Don’t just throw your money into the offering basket without revelation. My spiritual father covered the topic beautifully and wholesomely some years ago in a 6-part series linked below:
Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂