Most people live in one of two realms of reality when they think of money, (1) they either work and get what they want or can afford, or, (2) they expect someone else to provide what they want, either through government aid or by taking from others.
There is a third realm, one made clear by the Apostle Paul. This third realm is better than the first and far better than the second of the above options. That third realm is the realm of those who realize they own nothing and are only stewards of what God has allowed them to have. These are the people who, like Paul, know that the real purpose of what they have is to bless others.
2 Corinthians 9:11-13
11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
Don’t miss the progression in verse 11; you will be enriched “in every way” for a reason. That reason is so that you can be generous “on every occasion.” Why? So that thanksgiving will be given to God. It isn’t, “you will be enriched so that you can have what you want, travel, party, live in a big house and be in the upper crust of society.” It isn’t even, “You get a lot so you can live well.” It is only, “you have so you can be generous for the glory of God.”
These verses do not stand in isolation. Believers are told to give, share, help, and bless those less fortunate and are even told that if they look away from the poor, they will stand outside the favor of God:
13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.
Unfortunately, many believers live in the first realm. They believe that because God has allowed them to have so much and has blessed them so much that it is theirs to use as they wish with no limitations and no expectations from God. The problem with that belief is that it lies wholly outside the scriptures.
You can hardly hoard your wealth and keep it all to yourself in light of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9.
2 Corinthians 9:8
8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
You aren’t blessed for your benefit or pleasure. You have been given all you “need” (not all you want), for a purpose. That purpose is to “abound in every good work.” Even in those last words in verse 8 God left no escape, He gives us the goal of “every” good work, not just “some” good work.
God gives to us so that we can glorify Him not by amassing wealth but by the generosity of our Life, Influence, Financial resources, and our Expertise, literally, our full L.I.F.E.
Wealth is not a sin. Money is not a sin. However, the love of money is sinful because it is the root of all kinds of evil. 1 Timothy 6:10. Abraham, the father of faith, Romans 4:11, was wealthy, Genesis 13:2, but was favored by God. There were other wealthy people throughout the Bible who had their priorities and hearts right. Even though they were wealthy, they left God on His throne and they were beloved children of God. How were they wealthy and still beloved by God? God has given us the answer. Those people fully grasped the grace and love of God, never loved their money, and never allowed their wealth to stand between them and God.
What Paul and many others including Luke came to understand fully was that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Try it, you’ll like the results. Malachi 3:10.
About the Author
John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.