Increasing Riches

Guest ColumnistCommunity News

by Steve Johnson

I often wonder what people think of rich people who are followers of Christ. Do you secretly envy them? Do you think about Scriptures when it says that all kinds of evil can come from loving money? Do you consider yourself as one of those who are rich and have mixed feelings on that?

Money is one of those fascinating, weird topics in the life of the church. I was talking the other day with a fellow SBCCer about how in many (most?) circumstances, we would be more comfortable sharing personal struggles, sin or deficiencies in our character, rather than talking about how much we make or where we stand financially. This seems to be especially true if you fall into that category perceived as having a lot of money. Why is that?

I wonder if it is because we tend to look more favorably on those that sacrifice gaining riches as they serve the Lord in a particular ministry. Do we think we are more susceptible to loving that money too much and that by sharing with others any details about our financial wealth, they may actually come to that conclusion?  Do we struggle with feelings that we are putting too much of our security in our wealth? Any of those situations are obviously feasible.

Psalm 61:10 says, If riches increase, do not set your heart on them.This is the great challenge, isn’t it? Given that we live in such a wealthy place, most of us really do fall into that category of being rich, even though you may not like it. With the warnings in Scripture about the potential pitfalls of money, it is easy to understand how our thinking may shift to shun wealth – or at least we may want to believe that.

But the Scriptures also have a boatload of examples where the Lord has blessed incredibly – think of Abraham, Job, David, and Solomon and how that wealth was used to bless others. So where is the balance? Clearly the Holy Spirit can lead us to convictions about how we spend the money He has entrusted to us, or He may call us into a life of little means, but given that most of us have high enough household incomes to live in Santa Barbara, how do we handle all this money we have?

Our understanding of what God says about how to handle our money is key. This isn’t about gaining lots of money for our sake. More appropriately stated, how we use God’s money, which He has allowed us to manage, is key, and in most cases transformational. We don’t put our security in wealth, we entrust this to God.

This is one of the core principles addressed at Financial Peace University. If you are interested in gaining a better understanding of how to manage money from a biblical perspective, getting hands-on practical tools that are implemented immediately, all in the context of using those blessings to be able to see the needs of others and have the means to meet those needs, then I invite you to join us. We have a class starting on July 9th.  Contact Scott Skripsky at (805) 312-9114/ or Jim Johnson at (805) 570-7221/.