There’s a temptation to believe that money (specifically, “more money”) will solve a lot of problems. If we just had a little more in our account, we could…take your pick: get the car fixed, buy that new smartphone, shop in the regular aisle (instead of the scratch-and-dent section), or get a new pair of shoes.
However, my observations suggest that money doesn’t solve a lot of the really important problems in life:
- Money can allow us to get flowers delivered, but it can’t substitute for a sincere apology.
- It can buy food for those who need it, but it can’t get be delivered to hungry people past certain tyranny-controlled borders (sometimes, even when “facilitating payments” are offered).
- It can cover someone’s utilities in the dead of winder, but it cannot warm a heart.
- It can be used to purchase Bibles for those who have never heard the good news of Jesus, but money can’t change hearts.
- It can be spent on all matter of monuments and foundations to leave a legacy, but it can’t save our souls.
In the book of Acts, a disabled man was looking for money to live on (and justifiably so), but was given something that he couldn’t buy:
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-walk!”
Acts 3:6 NASB
If this man had received a couple of coins from Peter and John, the man might have been able to buy food, clothing or shelter for another few days. But, when that money was spent, he’d be back to begging. Instead, Peter and John offered him the chance to earn a permanent living, and – let’s not miss this – the ability to walk again!
So, while I’m not suggesting that we stop using money, as a result of this distinction between what it can and can’t do, I propose this suggestion:
Money solves so few of the most important problems in life.
Why not use it to address situations where it can actually help?
To be fair, I understand that you might not have a lot of money or possessions. If so, my prayer for you echoes Philippians 4:19-20:
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:19-20 NASB
God might not give you a lot of cash, but He has ways to meet our needs in so many unexpected ways.
However, if you have enough (maybe not enough to always stay ahead of the neighbors, or to show off in front of your family, but at least enough to live on and maybe have a bit more; see 1 Timothy 6:8), consider what you could do with your material and financial holdings.
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.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NASB
To be clear, it is God’s place – not mine – to tell you where to spend your money (since, after all, it’s actually His creation and investment that He lets us manage). It is not my place to speak for God on something that specific, and I don’t claim a particular inspiration from Him for your life.
However, I would pray that perhaps one or two of the ideas below could be used by God as prompts to help you consider how you might invest His money.
- If there are those who want to spread the Word of God to others, but don’t have the funds to support themselves, be a sponsor. (See Romans 10:14-15. You could be the one who sends.)
- If a fellow believer has a need, and you can supply it, treat them like family (since, after all, they are). See Acts 2:44-45 for some comments on how the early church did this.
- If a local ministry has the logistics in place to get material goods (food, clothing, utility payments, etc.) connected with people who need it, support them. You might donate money, good, or time. Many of these organizations make a fundamental difference in their communities, but need a regular supply of goods in order to bless others.
- If you don’t have “extra”, then share what you have. Maybe a friend could crash on your couch when visiting the area. Perhaps a neighbor needs to borrow some hedge trimmers. Invite that exchange student or out-of-town colleague to eat whatever your family is having tonight (and, don’t feel compelled to cook – or heat up – anything fancy).
These – and many other – types of generosity have the potential to show love to others. Just as we have been blessed, our gifts are sometimes meant to be shared. God doesn’t just provide for us, He often asks us to be an agent of kindness to someone else that He cares about.
In fact, the ability to give to others isn’t just an opportunity or an obligation, it is actually a privilege. May we all, like David in the verse below (although he was referring to being able to give to God), feel joy in the chance to share our material blessings with others.
“But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.
1 Chronicles 29:14 NASB