Money is a necessary part of life, but it can also become an idol if we let it. As Christians, we need wisdom and discernment to handle money in a godly way. Throughout His ministry, Jesus gave us many insights about how to think about money and possessions from an eternal perspective. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore key principles that Jesus taught about money, with relevant Bible verses.
Money is a major theme that runs throughout the Bible. Scripture contains over 2,000 verses about money and possessions. Jesus often addressed money and greed in His teachings. He knew that money has spiritual significance and can be a stumbling block between us and God.
As the Son of God, Jesus understood the true value of money and possessions. He warned about the dangers of prioritizing worldly wealth and living for material gain. Jesus invites us to find our security and satisfaction in Him alone. Through His life, death, and resurrection, He frees us from slavery to money and possessions.
Here are some key takeaways about what Jesus taught regarding money and possessions:
- Money itself is not evil, but the love of money leads to all kinds of sin.
- God cares how we manage money – it reflects our heart condition.
- We cannot serve both God and money – we must choose one over the other.
- Giving generously should be a priority – our treasures are in heaven.
- God will provide what we need – we can trust Him and avoid anxiety.
- Use money wisely for eternal rewards.
- Guard your heart against greed and covetousness.
- Pursue the kingdom of God rather than earthly wealth.
As we explore Jesus’ radical teachings on money and possessions, may they challenge us to live counterculturally and keep eternity in view. Let’s look at what Jesus said on this vital topic.
Do Not Worry About Money
One of Jesus’ most direct teachings about money and possessions is His command not to worry. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us not to be anxious about our material needs:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34, NKJV)
Jesus makes it clear that worrying about money or possessions accomplishes nothing. He reminds us that God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, yet we are worth so much more to Him. Jesus instructs us to seek God’s kingdom first, rather than worrying about material needs. He promises that God will provide what we need each day.
Rather than being consumed with earthly things, Jesus tells us to build up treasures in heaven by putting God first in our lives (Matthew 6:19-21). We can rest in His faithful provision and avoid anxiety over finances and possessions.
Serving Money is Idolatry
One of Jesus’ most solemn warnings was that we “cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24, NKJV). If we make money and possessions our master rather than God, we are practicing idolatry. Jesus makes it clear that our allegiance is to be to God alone.
In Matthew 19:16-26, Jesus has an intriguing interaction with a rich young man. The man asks what he must do to have eternal life, and Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. When the man asks what he still lacks, Jesus says, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21, NKJV).
Jesus saw that the young man’s wealth was an idol keeping him from fully obeying God. He challenged the man to surrender his money and possessions in order to pursue true riches in Christ. Scripture tells us the man went away sad, unable to part with his earthly treasures.
This story illustrates the tension between serving God and money. Jesus makes it clear that we cannot cling to worldly wealth if we want to obey God fully and store up eternal rewards. Our devotion belongs to God alone.
Giving Should Be Generous
While Jesus warned against treasuring money and possessions, He also taught that we are blessed when we give generously. Jesus emphasized having a loose hold on worldly wealth, in light of the blessings stored up in heaven.
In Luke 6:38, Jesus declares, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (NKJV). Our generosity reaps even more blessings from God.
Jesus also affirmed the poor widow who gave two small copper coins to the temple treasury, declaring her offering greater than the large donations of the rich because she gave out of her poverty (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus measures giving by the heart motive and sacrifice, not just quantity.
In Acts 20:35, the apostle Paul recalls Jesus’ teaching that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (NKJV). Jesus calls us to generous giving from a joyful heart.
Guard Against Greed
While Jesus emphasized radical generosity, He also warned against falling into greed and covetousness. Jesus cautioned against accumulating more than we need and defined our “life” as more than material possessions.
In Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool who stored up wealth for himself but was not “rich toward God” (v. 21). James 5:1-6 also condemns the unrighteous rich who hoard wealth and live in self-indulgence. Jesus makes it clear that storing up earthly treasures while ignoring the less fortunate is foolish in light of eternity.
Jesus warns in Luke 12:15, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (NKJV). The abundance of our possessions does not define us or lead to life.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 is another sobering warning about greed: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (NKJV).
Greed for riches can lead us into ruin and keep us from God. Jesus gives strong cautions about guarding our hearts against covetousness.
Trust God’s Provision
Rather than worrying about or coveting money, Jesus calls us to seek God’s kingdom and trust Him to provide. God knows what we need, and He promises to supply our needs according to His riches (Philippians 4:19).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NKJV). Our Father cares for the birds, so we can be sure He will provide for His children.
When sending out His twelve disciples, Jesus told them, “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:9-10, NKJV). The disciples went out with few possessions, trusting that God would supply through His people. Their needs were met as they focused on ministry rather than material provisions.
We honor God when we trust Him to meet our needs each day. As we seek His kingdom, we can be confident that He will care for us.
Use Money Wisely for Eternal Rewards
Rather than serving money, Jesus calls us to use money in ways that will store up heavenly rewards. In Luke 16:1-15, Jesus tells the parable of the unjust steward who shrewdly used money to gain future favor. Jesus concludes, “I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home” (Luke 16:9, NKJV). Wise use of money can have long-term benefits.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus exhorts us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NKJV). Generous giving stores up eternal rewards.
Paul echoes this in 1 Timothy 6:18-19: “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (NKJV). Using money to bless others and spread the Gospel brings eternal dividends.
As we have seen, Jesus taught some key principles that should guide how we view and handle money and possessions:
- Do not worry about or covet money, but trust God.
- God must be first – we cannot serve both God and money.
- Give generously and joyfully.
- Guard against greed and accumulating more than you need.
- Use money wisely to store up eternal rewards.
The way we manage money reflects where our heart truly lies. Jesus reminds us that life is more than possessions. When we generously invest in God’s kingdom, we store up imperishable treasure in heaven.
Applying These Teachings
How can we apply Jesus’ teachings on money in practical ways today? Here are some suggestions:
- Assess your heart – Examine your life to see if money and possessions are an idol that needs to be surrendered to God. Pray for help in putting God first.
- Budget wisely – Plan your finances so you can live within your means, care for necessities, and have margin to be generous. Avoid debt that causes stress.
- Tithe and give generously – Give a percentage of income back to God as your first priority. Look for ways to generously bless others. Support Christian ministries.
- Guard against greed – Be content with what you have. Avoid accumulating possessions just to satisfy desires. Consider living simply and minimalism.
- Steward money for eternity – Look for eternal investments like supporting missions and spreading the Gospel. Make money decisions through an eternal lens.
- Find security in God – Rest in His love and provision. Avoid anxiety over finances. Trust that He knows your needs.
As we incorporate Jesus’ financial teachings, we can find freedom from slavery to money and possessions. Our heart’s devotion belongs fully to God. We can generously use money as a tool for eternal rewards while trusting fully in Him.
Money and possessions are a major theme in Jesus’ teaching that we cannot ignore. He gave key principles about resisting greed, being radically generous, trusting God’s provision, and using money wisely for eternity. Our relationship with money reflects where our heart truly lies.
Rather than serving money, Jesus calls us to a radical mindset of complete trust in our Father. We store up imperishable treasures in heaven when we generously invest in God’s eternal kingdom. As we incorporate Jesus’ financial teachings, we will live with an eternal perspective, finding contentment, security and satisfaction in Him alone.