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God and mammon

The faith-based view of money

Created date

September 20th, 2011

Do faith and finances mix? Judging from the weight given the topic in sacred scriptures, the answer is a resounding YES! One out of every six verses in the Gospels refers to money. The Hebrew Scriptures abound with guidance on earning, saving, spending, and giving away money. The third pillar of Islam is the Zakat, an expression of one s worship and thanksgiving to God by supporting the poor. Why so much coverage? Our attitude toward money is perhaps the key indicator of where our heart is spiritually. Jesus famously said, You cannot serve God and mammon.


One concept that distinguishes a faith-based view of money from a worldly view is stewardship: the principle that God really owns everything and that we are simply managers of the resources that have been entrusted temporarily to us. Robert Merikangas, who lives at Riderwood, an Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., writes, Our faith inspires us to be thankful for what we have and to live a simple lifestyle. We keep a monthly record of what we spend money on. Part of our faith commitment is to conserve the environment, so we live by the maxim of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Perhaps the greatest benefit of being a steward rather than an owner is reduced anxiety over money. Marguerite Watson, a reader in Maryland, says that When you walk in faith you will look at your finances through a heavenly perspective, knowing that no matter what your circumstances are or what your bank book says, all of your needs will be met. Faithful stewards follow the owner s instructions. One of the most prominent money management principles is to imitate God s generosity by giving generously to the poor and to God s work. Financial expert Ron Blue advises that giving should be the cornerstone of all financial plans, because giving breaks the power of money over us (in contrast to debt which controls) and giving promises rewards: Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Prov. 3:9-10) Stewardship has nothing to do with what we have, but everything to do with what we do with what we have. Even if we only have a little, we can accomplish much for God s glory and the good of others.