Monday 18th January is “Blue Monday”—the day when bills and a rapidly emptying bank balance force many to take a long hard look at their budget. It’s certainly wise to take time to make sure the books balance—but here’s an equally important question to regularly ask of our finances: Am I using money to love God and love people?
Jesus tells us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22 v 37-39). These fundamental principles should guide all of life, including our use of money.
That might sound as though we should give all our money to the church, or mission, or care of the poor. But it’s not that simple in practice. Loving God means living in loyal devotion to him in all of life, living as he would want us to live. God expects us and wants us to buy food, to pay the bills, to get a haircut, to have a holiday, and so on. Loving God with our money doesn’t mean we don’t live a “normal life”. But it does mean we approach normal life differently.
So I can enjoy a good meal out and thank God for his gift and express my love for him. I can give money to people in need and thank God that I am able to do so. I can give money for the extension of God’s kingdom and thank him for the privilege of being part of his work in the world.
This doesn’t answer the question of whether I should buy the music download I’d like, or go out to a restaurant next week, but it does give me an overall perspective: the money I have is money which God has given me to live life loving him and other people.
Ultimately, money is wrapped up with our hearts. In 2016, pray that God will continue to renew your heart, and give you insight into the motives of your heart—and that more and more, you would use your money to love God and love people.
Graham Beynon is author of Money Counts, which is available now from The Good Book Company