When Money Becomes Our Servant

By Francis Frangipane

Many ministers hate discussing finances; others are obsessed with it and teach about it all the time. Because Jesus Himself referenced it, we must put the issue of personal wealth into perspective. In the great overview of topics the Lord desires we learn, He has both promises and warnings concerning the issue of money.

The fact is, in Jesus’ teaching there isn’t a subject Jesus used more often than that of money or wealth. He compared heaven itself to a treasure in a field and He said if we would be generous in our giving, whatever we gave would be multiplied and returned, “pressed down, shaken together [and] running over” (Matt. 13; Lk 6). He warned it was easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter heaven, yet He promised that “There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time . . .” (Lk. 18:29-30). We are not to lust for wealth, but Jesus also promises that those who give all, that they will gain much more than they give.

God measures our character by the integrity we possess concerning money. Jesus said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the {use of} unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Lk. 16:10-11).

Who knows, but that God has powerful spiritual gifts awaiting many. However, He is waiting for them to prove themselves trustworthy in the “very little thing” as use of finances.

The world today worships wealth and reverences it as a god. Thus, Jesus also warned us “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other.” He emphatically concluded, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk 16:13). At various times, I have heard Christians rail against the greed of the wealthy, only to discover later that some of these very Christians do not tithe. They themselves were just as bound to the control of Mammon, only on a smaller scale; their anger was not born of righteousness, but jealousy.

Jesus Himself Needs Us to Give
I know when we picture the Son of God, it is almost inconceivable that He would need us for anything, especially finances. We are aware when He paid taxes, that He sent Peter fishing. In the mouth of that first fish, Jesus said there would be a coin for the taxes. Yes, if Jesus needed money, it would come supernaturally. However, this is not the full extent of how Jesus’ ministry functioned. It was within the wisdom and plan of the Father that faithful people helped meet the financial needs of Christ’s ministry. Luke speaks of this very thing:

“And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means” (Lk 8:1-3).

Many of the people that were taught, healed and delivered by Jesus, in response, supported His cause with finances. True redemption always comes with a price. As it was then, so it is today: God does not spare us the responsibility of giving, whether it is of ourselves or our funds, to the cause of redemption. In spite of my personal needs, each month I make it a point to faithfully give to others: My home church; local parachurch ministries; various national leaders; foreign evangelists and, of course, the poor.

Each of us should seek God concerning how much He desires we give and to whom. I know a number of very honorable ministries that struggle to fulfill God’s assignment because of financial lack. However, I also know of several ministries that have an unrighteous affection for wealth; a few regularly receive our mailing. If you are personally lusting for wealth, let me remind you that Jesus’ most frequent and pointed rebukes were aimed at religious leaders’ inordinate quest for money. He charged them with the sin of robbing widows (Matt 23:14) and of swearing by the offering on the altar, rather than the altar itself (Matt 23:16-18). Boldly, He confronted those who were outwardly righteous, but inwardly “full of robbery and self indulgence” (Matt 23:25).

Jesus called the manipulation of people to get their money “robbery.” He accused religious leaders of being motivated by “self-indulgence.” Beloved, God is going to expose this spirit of self-indulgence in the body of Christ, wherever it manifests. Yet, let us not be quick to condemn other people; rather let us carefully examine our own hearts. Even if all we have is a little, the Lord desires us to be joyfully generous, so that He will have for His church an “abundance for every good work.” Let us not be selfish or deceived by money. In a real sense, money is not a blessing; it’s a test.