If your a fan of television shows such as Dr Who or Star Trek you know what a parallel universe is. It is an alternative existence to what is currently happening. It is a reality that co-exists with your own current existence. This concept is the best way that I know of to describe how our Christian walk effects our finances. There are two competing economies, Earth and God. They are polar opposites and yet they co-exist at the same time. As Christians we start life out by living in the former but we are called to focus on the latter.
“Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (WEB)
This is a struggle that we will always have. The Earth economy is constantly telling us what success is. It tells us to reach for treasures, comfort and power. It can be easy to get pulled away from Gods’ economy and sucked into the Earth economy. Spending all of our time chasing after the things that make us fit in and helps us to be accepted while we are here. The problem is, we are called to a higher purpose.
Living in Gods’ economy starts with the recognition that everything is His. Our time, our talents, our treasure, simply put everything. This is the concept of stewardship. We are called to live for the next life while we are here. Handling everything according to Gods’ will is what I call true stewardship.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:3-10 (WEB)
The above verses are called the Beatitudes. It the best example that I can think of to show you how radically different Gods’ standards are to the standards we see on Earth. The world tends to overlook the “least of these” while God holds them in the highest esteem. Despite what the world tells us and despite their definitions of success we can’t be sucked in. We have to keep our eyes fixed on God and hold loosely to the things this world values.
I will admit, it’s not easy. Like I said before, it will always be a struggle. There are so many good things around us that can pull us away from our stewardship responsibilities. The struggle for financial and career success, the struggle to fit in, the struggle to be liked and accepted by our peers. What is truly important though is taking care of our family, comforting the hurting and giving our money to the needy. These things won’t be possible if we are constantly chasing after wordily things.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:26-27 (WEB)
At the end of the day, the rewards that we will receive will be in the next life. Humans are not good at receiving delayed gratification. We want what we want and we want it now. Handling our finances responsibly takes a ton of patience and perseverance. Just as living our lives according to Gods’ principles takes a lot of patience and perseverance. I believe the patience is worth it in both cases. Living our lives focused on God and His economy might make little sense right now but it is the only way to live our lives. Simply put, at the end of the day it is worth it, it will always be worth it.