by Jonathan Daugherty
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” Prov. 11:24
There is a fairly prominent financial guru who I believe has a biblical perspective on money management that boils the whole issue down to three simple tasks: 1) Spend, 2) Save, 3) Give. Obviously, there are more complex issues regarding finances, but these are the basics of understanding how to manage money competently. But who really thinks of giving as an investment strategy? Well, God does, but not how you might assume.
We have all seen the “prosperity gospel” people. You know, the slick preachers in their $2000 suits emotionally stirring their congregations into giving them all their money with the promise that God will return it to them ten fold. That is not the type of investment strategy God operates under. Not to say that He can’t, or won’t, financially bless those who are faithful in giving money to their church, but God’s economy sees money merely as a tool, and only one of a vast array of tools, for the purpose of teaching us to be givers rather than takers.
True generosity, the kind that God really seeks, can never be measured in dollars and cents. And yet, contributing our money must be in our overall strategy of giving. Money is actually the easiest thing to give, so it can provide a great starting point for learning about generosity. We can actually see our money make a difference in another person’s life or in the ministries of our local church and beyond.
Maybe you disagree with me about money being the easiest thing to give. Maybe you think giving your time or offering some talent of yours is easier than reaching into your wallet. But I would argue that giving money doesn’t always personally invest you into that to which you are giving. You can sort of “keep your distance” by giving money and not getting involved in the business of seeking out those in need and understanding their true needs to minister to them more effectively. Time and talents require a higher level of personal investment (like actually interacting with living, breathing people who have problems and need real help!), and therefore can be a more difficult decision. (And still, giving money is a great starting point for learning how to “consider others needs more important than our own.”)
Once again, the issue of giving comes down to attitude. Are you one who “gives freely” or do you “withhold unduly?” It is easy to think that if you just stockpiled all your money then you would be wealthy. But although your bank account may be fat under such a financial strategy, the wellness of your inner, spiritual life would be gaunt and weak. True wealth is riches of the heart, and learning to give your money freely, without condition, is the narrow way by which such riches come.
What is preventing you from obtaining true wealth today? Begin to remove those obstacles and start “investing” for a return that can’t suffer loss…