How to Use Money to Die to Yourself - Part 3
Dying to Give
Jesus defined discipleship through four profiles in Luke 14:25-33. A disciple loves Jesus most, dies to self, follows after Jesus and gives up everything. As we begin thinking about money through this framework, let’s consider how our money can become the currency of worship.
Death to Self
If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me introduce you to the biggest obstacle you will ever face in being a disciple of Jesus. Ready? Take a quick look in the mirror. That’s right, it’s you. I have the same problem with myself. That’s why Jesus made the point that we must die to ourselves in order to live for him. And this is where money comes into view. The way we choose to spend or save our money can be a tool in denying ourselves as the focus of life.
Money as Status
In our culture, we keep score in money and possessions. The more you have the more successful you are considered to be. We need to reconsider Jesus’ words, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. “ (Matthew 16:26-27, ESV) The idea is we can spend our energy and money in obtaining or obeying. If we choose obedience, then we exchange temporal riches for eternal reward. And we find our present identity not in what we have but in who’s we are.
Money as Security
Money for many today is about security. Check out the financial services commercials during the game of the week or your favorite show you watch on television and you’ll see this pushed hard. We store up for the proverbial “rainy day” during seasons of sunshine. And while saving money is wise, it can also be foolish too. Scripture warns us of this:
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (I Timothy 6:19-20, ESV)
Once again, we are faced with a choice. Money can be the object of our faith or we can trust in God through Jesus. While our money resources are limited, our God is not. And God, according to this passage, is rich and generous and gives us everything to enjoy. Once again, our future is not based on what we have but in who’s we are.
Money as Sacred
Money can be sacred in that we can use money to worship God. We can also try to use God to worship money. One way we can make money the currency of worshipping Jesus is to deny ourselves through money.
Here are a couple of ways to do that. First, give up using money to make you look successful. Could you wear cheaper clothes, drive a less expensive car or live in a smaller house? See if you can reduce your expenses so that you can give more money away. Second, reconsider your financial security. How much do you really need to save or hold in reserve? What does it look like to give your money away to the place you must trust in God to be your Provider. As you prayerfully consider this new place, be more generous in your giving.