Money is a big deal. Almost everything we do costs something to someone and that bill will be paid. Think about how many transactions you make over a weekend – fuel, weekly big shop, vanilla latte (medium, stir well) – plus all those direct debits that came out of your account at midnight without you even needing to think about it.
This is not new information, neither was it for Jesus when He taught: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21). Before, during, and since those words, money has been a big deal.
I rarely actually walk into my bank for anything but when I do the cashier always seems to say it’s time for my annual personal review. I usually find an excuse but once they caught me off guard and before I knew it I was sitting in his glass cage/office going through my statement with a fine tooth comb.
Louise and I live comfortably, but like most people we don’t end up with a pile of cash at the end of the month and he was attempting to help. Our charitable giving, including what we give to the vision of One Church, is all done through standing orders – it helps us prioritise and organise, but to the suited scrutiniser of Lloyds TSB it seemed like an extraordinary expense. I agree, it’s extraordinary.
As a Christian I live an extraordinary life with extraordinary principles. I do extraordinary things like spend every Sunday morning at church, I give a percentage of my income to church, and pray, and have faith, and live with a higher purpose and calling.
Extraordinary to some, Kingdom principles to others. An extraordinary Kingdom principle is that everything I have; all my possessions, money, job, family and even the air I breathe isn’t mine but, in fact, God’s. I merely steward what He gives me.
As a child I remember receiving my first ever pocket money from my parents – it was a 20 pence piece and came with some advice: “Show you can be trusted with that, and you’ll be trusted with more”. They were teaching me a Kingdom principle of stewardship found in Luke 16 (not just to avoid blowing the whole lot on sweets). “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)
Money is a big deal. But thankfully I can live by Kingdom principles which help me steward it well. The reward for living by Kingdom principles, according to Jesus, is that we’d be trusted with ‘true riches’ – and I’d love to see my bank manager try and handle that!