Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.
Chances are you have never heard of Elizabeth Johnson Williams. She accumulated a fortune in cattle and real estate, and she made her husband sign a prenuptial agreement—a rarity in the 1880s. After her husband died, Lizzie became a recluse, living in a building she owned in downtown Austin. One day, a grandnephew came to visit. When he expressed his concern that she might not have enough to eat, Lizzie simply pointed to plate with a cover on it. On the plate was a piece of cheese and some crackers, and the cover was protecting it from the rats that had infested her building. Lizzie was so tightfisted that in the depths of the winter, she would burn only one piece of wood at a time to keep warm. When she died in 1924, she left an estate that in today’s dollars would be worth around $3 million. Lizzie had all that money, but she could never enjoy it.
That is the paradox of money: whether people have a little money or a lot of money, they worry about not having enough. Jesus explored this relationship between money and anxiety in the Sermon on the Mount. Did you know Jesus talked about money five times more than He did any other topic? He understood that our attitude about money not only reflects our attitude about God but it also shapes our attitude about God.
It is important to understand what the Bible does and does not say about money. So first I want to share with you four basic biblical teachings about wealth:
- God is the one who gives us the ability and the opportunity to earn money (Deuteronomy 8:18).
- God expects us to use money to provide for ourselves and our families (1 Timothy 5:8).
- The wise person works hard to save and invest for lean years and to generously meet the needs of others (Proverbs 6:6-8; 1 Corinthians 16:2).
- We have every right to enjoy what God provides (Ecclesiastes 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:17).
The Bible does not say money is evil—what the Bible condemns is the love of money. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” It is that obsession with accumulating wealth that Jesus condemned in the Sermon on the Mount.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk about Your Money” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org