Accepting the fact that money and material possessions come and go, and that this is all right is an excellent, empowering thing to do.
Q. What should be a Christian’s attitude toward money and material possessions? Can (should) Christians have nice material possessions (things) like cars, houses, jewelry, diamonds…? How are Christians to help the poor and needy, including the Christians in the Sudan region of Africa who are being murdered, exiled, raped, enslaved, etc.? Will we be judged at the Bema according to how selfishly we lived, whether we helped the poor and the outcasts, or whether we didn’t?
Alcorn presents a biblical and comprehensive view of money and possessions, including the following: This practical and refreshing theology of money contains topical and Scripture indexes, a study guide, and five helpful appendices.
Money and Possessions: The Quest for Contentment
Lesson 9 - Money and Possessions
No, but it's easy to get that idea. Scholars point out that Jesus discusses money more than heaven and hell combined, and that Jesus talked more about money than anyone else in the Bible. Financial teacher Howard Dayton, for example, has counted 2,350 verses in God's Word that deal with money. Pastor Rick Warren suggests that stewardship and redemption are the two themes which encompass the whole of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. Author John Ortberg asks his readers to ponder why the Bible's Author and Editor would devote twice as many verses to money than to faith and prayer. Such comments remind us how much God has to say about money; they also show us how critical it is for us to pay attention to what God's Word says about our possessions and pocketbooks. But like all statistics and truisms, these carry the potential of being misinterpreted or misused. In fact, the Bible is a guide for all of life and practice (2 Timothy 3:16)—not just finances but also marriage, work, character, family life, military service, education, government and many others. We cannot reduce the Bible to a primarily financial message. In the end, Scripture's primary focus is God's gospel to his people. So, while the Bible says a surprisingly great deal about money and possessions, it would be wrong to state that the Bible says more about finances than about any other topic, or that money is the Scripture's primary concern.The topic of money and possessions is not always something we American Christians are comfortable talking about, unless the conversation is how we can get more of them. This unease is only exacerbated by the awkwardly prominent theme in Scripture of “the rich” being the bad guys. James polemic against the rich is startling to say the least, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire” (James 5:1-3). No. Careful readers of the Bible will note that some passages teach that wealth—or certain amounts of it (Proverbs 30:8-9)—produces significant problems. Because of this, many people throughout history have tried to get along without it, either by bartering or taking a vow of poverty, for example. But it is important to remember that it is God's plan for us to work and care for others and ourselves (Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12), and money is an essential tool for fulfilling our responsibility. It is not money and things that are evil, but human hearts and attitudes toward money. The natural and pervasive human tendency to sin is the reason mammon—by itself a neutral medium for the exchange of goods and services—can function as a personal power opposed to the lordship of Jesus which seeks to master us (Matthew 6:24). We must learn to dominate this power so that we are not dominated by it. The first and most important weapon is constant meditation on God's generous, fatherly care for us (Matthew 6:19-33). He has provided Jesus for our spiritual needs while meeting all of our physical needs as well. We can enjoy what He has given for our benefit, provided we share with those in need (Luke 14:12-14, 1 Corinthians 11:20-22). The greatest antidote to materialism and greed is imitating our Lord's generosity. Laying down our treasure willingly at his feet to redeem the lost, aid the poor and relieve suffering will strengthen our bond with the Lord—and weaken our attachment to money. The more freely we give our money, the more easily we escape its snare. We must also actively limit our own endless pursuit of wealth and pleasure. Rejecting all money and possessions outright might help a few people avoid certain temptations in unusual circumstances, but it's far better to take steps to combat materialism and greed that naturally well up in our hearts, without ignoring the fact that material things were designed to be blessings from God.The class Randy Alcorn taught at Western Seminary is available in its entirety on DVD.
The Theology of Money Class explores the biblical doctrine of money and possessions, with special emphasis on using them to have an impact on eternity. With a view toward God's glory and eternal rewards, it includes practical application and attention to the stewardship of money in churches, families, and in personal lifestyle choices.
Set of 6 DVDs with 12 one-hour class sessions; $19.99 plus shipping and handling.