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Considering the danger of spiritual arrogance that comes with money, we definitely need some help keeping perspective.  As always, the help is right there in the hands of God.

Resources: Papers and Essays

 

Money Management: A Spiritual Exercise

By the Rev. Henry Morris

Just as bike riding strengthens our bodies and word games strengthen our minds, so we need spiritual exercises that strengthen our souls.  What do you include in your spiritual exercise routines?

We may not think of money management as an opportunity for spiritual growth, but it surely is.  How so?

First, let’s consider what receiving money does to us if we are not aware.  God warned the Israelites in the Promised Land that they must be very careful as their prosperity grew, “lest they think they got it for themselves.”  Prosperity is dangerous if it turns our heads and leads us to think we are our own Providers.

Likewise, Jesus spoke frankly about money, not as something bad but as something dangerous.  Echoing the warning that money makes us forget our need for God, Jesus said simply:  “It’s easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy person to enter the Kingdom.”

Considering the danger of spiritual arrogance that comes with money, we definitely need some help keeping perspective.  As always, the help is right there in the hands of God.  Why do you think God told the Israelites to take the first tenth (tithe) of their harvest and offer it to the LORD?  God is giving us the exercise that will strengthen our ability to handle money and weaken its power to handle us!

What would happen if we accept God’s gift of tithing when we accept God’s gift of money?  If we give off the top, we claim our place as “givers” before we admit that we are “consumers.”  That puts our priorities in order and establishes a framework of gratitude around the rest of our financial affairs. 

We guard against “thinking that we got it for ourselves” by acting first to honor God and consciously admiting that he gave it to us.  Any good financial advisor will tell you to put your money to work for you.

What if the first job your money does for you is to remind you who your God is and what your life is about?  Try it and see.

 

The Rev. Henry Morris, an ELCA pastor, is a writer and stewardship consultant based in New Haven, Conn. This article first appeared in LutherLink, the publication of the New England Synod.