BY: WESLEIGH ANDERSON
We live in a world in which money is inescapable. From the macroscopic level of nations, whose power relative to one another is determined by their GDP, to the microscopic level of individuals, who work their entire lives to secure financial stability for themselves and for their children, people are continually driven by money, and their purpose, even if not the money itself, is continually determined by money. Even the purpose of the university, an institution of knowledge and scholarship, has been transformed at least in part, if not principally, into professional training for young adults seeking enriched job opportunities that are accompanied by, not entirely coincidentally, augmented salaries as well.
That money is inescapable is truer today than ever in the past, and no matter how much Christians might wish to avoid the fact by separating themselves from the world, they have no choice but to engage with it. We are children of God, but we still have material needs, and though he is able to send manna from heaven, he more often provides in a form that the world can understand: when Elisha visited the widow in debt (2 Ki 4:1-7), the miracle that the Lord performed was not to strike down her creditors or erase her debts, but rather to give to her oil to sell, to engage in an activity both worldly and economic in nature.
If money is inescapable, we can do nothing more than attempt to approach it in a manner pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. The Bible offers plenty of advice on the topic – “the righteous is generous and gives” (Ps 37:21), “the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Pr 22:7), “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Ti 6:10), to name but a few verses, for no inventory could be both comprehensive and concise – yet what does such a manner look like in practice, in the modern world?
Who can say? For a subject so fundamental to the world and so carefully scrutinized in the Bible, far too many Christians shrink back from the subject far too often. Even in a secular setting, money is never easy to discuss; in the context of the church, it can only become more difficult. You should be coveting less, you should be giving more – who are you, anyway, to tell me how to manage my money?
But for all that difficulty, to ignore the question will not diminish the importance of teaching and living out holy and righteous convictions. Christ himself, during his ministry on earth, never shied away from the subject of money, and we would do well to follow his example. So in this newest issue of To An Unknown God, let the discussion be opened to examine its theme, “Money,” in all of its Christian dimensions, whether it is earning faithfully, giving cheerfully, receiving graciously, or renouncing holily. And then, let the discussion not conclude there but lead to action, righteous in the sight of God, so that we might look at these things to discover more of Christ, and to point to him as Savior and Lord.