A Christian Attitude to Money


1 Kings 17:8-16 & Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34

Last week we heard Jesus commending someone for their faith. Today we begin a short series of looking at how our faith can have an impact on our attitude to money. I admit to being someone who finds the subject of money very boring, (rather like sport!) but I know that for some people it is important and they put time and effort into thinking about it.

I’m just beginning my annual round of marriage preparation and in helping couples in understanding each other and in working together I ask them about their attitude to money. The responses are generally the same: he’s very careful with it and she spends it the minute she gets it!

I’m going to try and illustrate three people's different attitudes towards money and life itself. It shows how self-centred some people can be and how money can play an over-important role in their life. It also shows how a more balanced view can lead to a better quality of life and a more successful outcome.

Sid grew up in the city and he became a very successful businessman. By the time he was twenty-five he had his own company and his own Ferrari, this was the start of his getting rich. He didn't come from a rich family, but he thought that making money was the best thing in life. If he could make a bit extra on a deal by bending the rules a bit, he would and so he became a little more richer.

His main aim in life was to be a millionaire by the time be was thirty, and he wasn't too fussy how he did it. He didn't mind treading on a few toes as long as he pulled off the deal, in fact, people said that they thought all Sid cared about was himself and making money and consequently his bank balance continued to grow. When he was thirty, Sid achieved his lifetime goal and became a millionaire. He decided to retire and put all his money into stocks and shares. He did well for a while, adding more and more money to his already bulging bank balance, until suddenly the stock-market crashed and Sid lost it all.

Now Fred, who was very different from Sid. He liked money, he had a good job and a good salary. But Fred really liked spending money: so he would earn a bit and spend a bit, earn some more and spend it again. Fred was a bit of a spendthrift. Because he liked earning lots of money he worked a lot of over-time to get more. He never gave much away, he just kept spending it on himself, especially on holidays. And then he met Samantha and bought a new wardrobe of clothes to impress her and finally blew the lot on a new car. Then Fred lost his job and ended up on the 'dole'. He had nothing.

Dave was different again. He had a good job which was well paid. He liked to have a good time but he was sensible about the way he handled his money. When he got his monthly salary he would pay his bills and put some aside for a rainy day. Dave thought about the future and opened a savings account which was growing nicely but he was not a selfish man. He cared about the poor and when he saw the appeal on TV for the starving people in the Sudan, he wrote out a cheque and sent it off. He gave money regularly to his favourite charities and kept aside 10% of his salary to give to the Church. His best friends knew Dave was a generous man and yet he always seemed to have money when he needed it. Money came in and money went out. They were puzzled. 'How come you give so much away, but you always seem to have all the money you need?' they asked him. 'It's like this,' Dave said. 'I keep shovelling it into God's bin and God keeps shovelling it into my bin. The only difference is, God's got a bigger shovel!'

The moral is that those who put their trust in money stand the risk of losing all they have - like Sid did. Others, like Fred, may enjoy spending the money they get, but they have nothing else to fall back on. Dave, on the other hand, used his money wisely. He paid his bills, enjoyed life to the full and still had the time and the money to fulfil his responsibilities to others and to God.

The widow of Zarepath didn’t have much but what she had she shared and God honoured that as He always does – but it takes faith to do that.

Many people use their money like this, as in the story of Dave, they help others and set aside 10% of all they earn to give to God. They believe that by doing this willingly, they are pleasing God and, as Jesus said in our second reading, laying up treasure in heaven.

Like Dave, and the widow of Zarepath they know that you can never out-give God. Amen