Everyone longs for riches and blessings. As believers, is it ok to be driven by these things? Is it ok to want success? What does it mean to be Driven by the Gospel regarding our finances and desires?
The real question should be, what kind of riches are we seeking and whose praise are we craving? Wealth and treasure in this life via items that will not last? The praise of other humans based on the world’s definition of success? Or eternal treasure & rewards that will never fade; and the praise of a loving Father as He sees His children turn towards Him in their desires. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven….” Matthew 5:19-20
In my lifetime, no other event has shown me the fleeting worth of money and earthly treasures than during this pandemic season. In a moment, people all over the globe have lost their careers because of COVID. Businesses that took years to build, crumbled in moments. But through this, God has awakened so many to the uncertainty of earthly riches and social status. Could this be a time that the global church is realizing that we have lost our way when it comes to our resources and priorities? Could God be resetting our definition of success, praise, and what it means to truly live life?
Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:18-19 that Christians are “to do good, be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” As I pray and plan for my future, this has been solid ground to land on. While Paul is addressing the “rich”, I believe every Christian can use these words to test their desires and wants.
Notice that Paul encourages fellow believers to store up treasures for our own future. This means that Christians should, in fact, desire reward and treasures. However, it is clear that Paul is describing eternity – the future after this current age when we will reign with Christ forever. So, how do we start storing up our treasures in heaven while we are still here on earth? Paul would tell us to be Driven By opportunities to do good; to be on the lookout for opportunities to be generous with others with our earthly resources. He would say giving up the temporal for the eternal would be truly living life.
As we look at the needs of the Philippines, the practicality of being Driven by the Gospel in our financial life, can be overwhelming. However, Paul has given us the guidelines of how to take that first step. We must reorient our thoughts on what money, resources, and material wealth are for. Yes, our finances are providing for our own immediate earthly needs; but the even greater purpose is for the Gospel. As we use our finances in a Gospel oriented way we have the opportunity to show the rest of the world that followers of Christ put their ultimate hope in Jesus Christ and not earthly treasure.
What are a few ways this could look practically? God commands that we look after those who are widowed, orphaned, poor, oppressed, and those generally marginalized. Across the Philippines, tens of thousands are unemployed. Do I know 1 or 2 people that are in my life who I can impact with my excess and share the love of Christ? Orphaned and homeless children are across the country. Do I interact with a few in my daily life that I can be more intentional about loving, both in tangible ways by providing for needs, as well as bringing the hope of the Gospel to them?
Most urgently, according to the Joshua Project, there are 30 unreached people groups in the Philippines. These 30 people groups represent over 5.4 million Filipino people who have little to no access to the Bible or the Gospel. They are unreached because they live in remote and sometimes dangerous areas. What are we doing to bring the Gospel to these people? How can we personally serve these people? Can I encourage my church to be intentional in bringing the Gospel to the unreached? Should I go myself and serve in their community? Can I give to a translation project? We know that each believer is called to different uses of their time and finances. Mot assuredly, every Believer is called to use their finances to make Christ’s name known.
As we think and pray about Being Driven by the Gospel with our finances, let’s be Psalm 67 believers and ask that God reorient our hearts to desire that all people would know Him. Let’s ask how we can use our finances for His glory. Psalm 67:1-3 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”