Where do you look for the best, most timeless wealth-building advice ever? The Bible of course. Especially the words of Jesus.
Jesus Christ talked about money... a lot. In fact, Jesus talked about money more than sex, heaven, or hell. And if all His talk about money made one thing perfectly clear, it's this: money is dangerous.
"Have it and depend on it -- and it will kill you. Don't have it and crave -- it will kill you," according to John Piper.
Piper's words are essential information for anyone who has questions about getting and staying rich, especially those wondering "Is it wrong to even want money?"
Piper's advice? Go to Matthew 6:19-21.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Or take a look at the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:18-21. He had hoped to take it easy living on some extra money he earned in good times, when God replied "‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’"
The lesson? “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:21
But what does "Rich towards God?" really mean? God does not need money. Psalm 50:12 says "If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it."
Being "rich toward God" means to handle your money in a way that shows God Himself is your treasure, explains Piper.
You only have one other option, according to Matthew 6:24, which says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Serve money? What does that mean - money doesn't have a mouth, you can't do what it says.
Here Jesus is speaking figuratively (thanks for clarifying that Pastor Piper). Serving money means to always think about how you can maximize the benefits you can get from money.
Serving God, on the other hand, means to always be aiming to make God your treasure in everything.
If we're honest with ourselves, that's a scary thought. It's scary to give things away. Especially money.
It was a scary thought for the disciples 2000 years ago too. Just like us, they were afraid of not having enough.
But Jesus knew that and encouraged them by assuring them, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Luke 12:32). This one line is chock-full of comforting images for the soul scared of being without money. There's a Shepherd, a Father, a King - all those who feed, provide for, and get things done.
John Piper's sermon Rich Toward God is a rousing wake-up call for us to take our rightful place in God's creation as Christians. We are called and enabled to be lavish givers who treat God as our treasure, and show that especially by giving generously to those who are in need.
Let this truth guide your action steps to a truly abundant life in Christ Jesus.