April 15this Tax Day for US taxpayers, and it has to be one of the most unpopular dates on the calendar in the States. For many of us, preparing our taxes is the last thing we want to do, so we put that chore off to the very last moment.
Going through that exercise though, does force us to look at how we’ve handled our money during the past year. For many Christians, it can be a bit painful as it brings out of the shadows the unseen master for many of us – money.
Money affects all of our lives. Think about it for a moment. How free are you from the influence and control of money? My hunch is not very. In fact, I would bet your life is controlled by money far more than you would like to admit.
In Matthew 6, Jesus warns us of the danger of money’s influence… that it can actually damage our relationship with Him. How? By taking over the role only He should occupy, and that is the role of the one you serve. Jesus said it pretty clearly in Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
So how do you get out from under the control of such a cruel master? Let me give you four things to consider:
Don’t believe the lie that money can provide security. This is a big lie straight from the pit of hell. Satan desperately wants you to believe this false notion that the more money you have, the more secure you will be. So you and I pursue more money, driven by worry and fear. Jesus calls us out on this in Matthew 6:25-34, when He tells us not to worry but to rely on God for provision. His point? God is the only true source of security.
Stop storing up stuff here on earth. Materialism is the disease of the heart. It drives you and me to use our money in the pursuit of fulfilling a need that only Jesus can fill. That’s why He commands us to stop piling up treasure here on earth because it will only fade away. Only what you invest in the Kingdom will last. And those investments will bring returns that will never stop paying dividends.
Stop tipping God. Most Christians have an unbiblical view of giving. We think of tithing – giving 10 percent to God – as what we are supposed to give. And then the rest is ours to do with as we wish. According to Jesus, He doesn’t want 10 percent. He wants it all… because all of it is His! Take a look at the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, and you will discover what God desires us to understand: All we have has been entrusted to us by Him to invest wisely for Kingdom purposes. That’s a completely different mindset than tipping God a bit of “our” money.
Stop serving the master of debt. If you are like most Americans, you have some consumer debt – perhaps a lot of consumer debt. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” If you have consumer debt, you are its slave and, by definition, it is your master. And if you are running up debt just to maintain a lifestyle, you are serving the god of money. So stop serving that master as quickly as you can.
If you do those four things, you will get out from under the yoke of financial slavery and experience the financial freedom God wants you to have.
Rick is a 36-year veteran in fundraising and organizational development for nonprofit organizations. After serving for eleven years in nonprofit management and fundraising leadership roles, Rick began his consulting career in 1989. In 2002 he founded Dunham+Company, which has become a global leader in providing fully integrated fundraising strategy for nonprofit organizations.
Today, D+C serves over 50 organizations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia, providing integrated fundraising and marketing strategies.
Rick holds a BA from Biola University and a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary.
He is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association. Rick also serves on the board of The Giving Institute and the Giving USA Foundation. In addition, Rick is a member of The Giving Coalition, the national voice for charitable organizations in the U.S.