“God gives us things to share; God doesn’t give us things to hold.” – Mother Teresa
When the people of Israel were freed from Egypt, they were told to ask their Egyptian neighbors for money, jewelry, and other forms of wealth. The Egyptians were so happy to see them go, they gave them what they asked for. When the Israelites left Egypt, they were very rich!
They walked to Mt. Sinai where God gave instructions for building a place where his presence could be known among his people. He told Moses to ask for donations of gold, silver, thread, dyes, and jewelry for this purpose. Through their Egyptian neighbors, he had given them everything needed for building the tabernacle, and now, he invited them to give it to him for their blessing and his glory. They realized that what they had so briefly owned was meant to be put to use according to God’s plan. But only if they wanted to. God loves cheerful giving, so did not coerce them to give more than they were willing to part with.
Don’t you think he still does that today? He gives us money or goods and then asks us to give back what we are willing to share. And he promises to bless us when we do. He gives us wealth and resources, not to be held onto, but to use – to meet our own needs, to bless others, and to support the work of his kingdom.
Maybe God has put something in my pocket or yours today that he wants us to give back to him or his people. We are temporarily rich. Our money and goods are just passing through our hands.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16
Whether we have a lot of money or a little, God teaches us how to use it. This is what I think he has in mind for the cash in our pockets:
If we have a family, we’re responsible to take care of them. Children need clothes, food, shelter, education, and healthcare. Elderly parents may need financial support as their savings are depleted. Family is priority in God’s economic plan (1 Timothy 5:8).
Then, we are to be as generous as we are able. God expects us to give money to the church and to his work in the world. But, sometimes the “giving away” goes directly to someone we know who is struggling. We are to be merciful to those in true need if we have the ability to help (Luke 10:36-37). In doing so, we gain friends for God.
There are so many needs, though. How do we know where to start? The Bible says to help other Christians first (Galatians 6:10). They are like extended family to us and their needs take priority over those outside the faith. Then, if we have more, we offer our help to the needy ones God places in our path day by day.
The bottom line: God wants us to use money to build relationships! Sometimes that means taking the kids out for ice cream or going on vacation. Sometimes it means sacrificing for the good of a neighbor in need. Whatever the opportunity, money is a tool to be put to work for eternal good. (Luke 16:9).
“But for money and the need of it, there would not be half the friendship in the world. It is powerful for good if divinely used.” – George MacDonald