I am a new Christian. I was not raised in the church, and I have read very little of the Bible. I have worked all of my life and never seem to get above water. I have always been willing to help other people when they need it. I will give my last dime to someone when they need it. Now I realize that I have created a problem in my own finances. Is there anything in the Bible that will help me keep the belief that it is better to give than to receive? I feel like I am falling down a well and cannot get out. Please help!
Some people believe that being rich is a sin and that money is evil. A few believe that money prevents a person from going to heaven. Others think that God wants us to give all of our money to other people. Some think that it is immoral to have more money than others. But God does not agree.
Wealth and Poverty
As a younger person I would hear people complain about the wealthy people and others thought that poverty was a curse from God. But then I realized that God had made Job the richest man in the east. It was a gift from God Himself.
And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold. (NASB) Job 42:10
I also discovered that God had made Abraham, King David, and King Solomon very rich. God did this on purpose (1 Kings 3:10-13). It was a surprise to me. It was clear that God did not consider money to be evil. But if someone wanted wealth, that desire was a problem.
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NASB) 1 Timothy 6:9-10
Just a few verses later we read this,
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (NASB) 1 Timothy 6:17-19
God does not say that we are to give all of our money away, but He does ask us to share our money with others when there is a real need. These passages make a strong point. God gives us the amount of money that He wants us to have; if we have extra to share He does not expect us to give all of it to others. He expects us to help others.
Problem With Wealth
Money can motivate us to ignore God, to depend on ourselves, and to trust in our own abilities. People who are wealthy often serve their “money” and not God. Their money, their home, their standard of living, and their status in life as wealthy person are things that most people want. Some people want more. It does not matter how much or how little money we have. The desire for more can be a problem because it takes our eyes off of God, and we start to trust in the things of this world. Most people are usually not willing to have less. A comfortable life style was a major problem with the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22).
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked . . .” (NASB) Rev. 3:15-17
These Christians did not sense a need for anything. The Holy Spirit says they had “need of nothing.” They were content. They were content with the life that their money provided. So why did they need God?
How Do We Share?
So how do we give? We need to give some of our money to God. All we have comes from Him anyway. Second, we need to make sure that we are taking care of our family’s needs before giving to others. In fact, God says that we are worse than a non-Christian if we do not provide for our family.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB) 1 Timothy 5:8
Yet, even here we can buy things for our family that they do not need. God wants us to leave some money to give to others.
God has given each of us the amount of money He wants us to have. It is a blessing from the Lord whether it is little or much. No matter how much He has given to us He wants us to give some back to Him as well as to others. God actually does not need the money nor do others. He can meet anyone’s needs. But giving is good for us because it is His plan. He expects us to give to Himself first, to meet the needs of our family second, and then to help others last.