When was the last time you attended a funeral and everyone reminisced about how much money the person had or all the cool stuff they bought? Probably never! The things that stick with us, the stories we tell at funerals, often center around the impact that person made on the people around them – the way they looked for opportunities to support and share with others. That’s because we don’t measure the value of a life by someone’s possessions and material wealth.
Let’s clarify something: having wealth or resources isn’t inherently a bad thing. It’s what we do with it, and where we put our trust, that can be very telling of the condition of our hearts. God wants our trust, and he knows there is nothing that will compete more for it than our resources. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
How can we demonstrate to God that we trust him and develop healthier priorities with our resources? The answer isn’t complicated: generosity. People who keep their faith strong are openhanded with their resources. Here are three markers of a person who is open-handed:
They see themselves as managers, not owners.
A critical mindset shift that open-handed people experience is the realization that they aren’t owners of what they have, but managers. They realize that everything they own comes from God and belongs to God. This aligns with Psalm 24:1, which says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.”
Someone who holds onto their resources with a tight fist may question why God didn’t give them something, but an open-handed person is much more likely to ask why he did. Regardless of how much God has given you, taking the time to pray and consider what you can do with what you have is a great step toward becoming a manager, not an owner, of your resources.
They seek long-term impact over short-term comfort.
People who are open-handed follow the command given in 1 Timothy 6:18-19: “Be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this, they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.”
It’s easy to buy what we want right when we want it or hold on to things we hardly use because they might make us happy someday. But to live open-handed, we must think about how we can use our resources, big or small, to impact others. Choosing to make an impact over momentary, instant happiness will lead to greater enjoyment of what we have in the long run. We’re putting our wealth to good use by blessing others with it!
They give before they spend.
If you’re looking for advice on starting a budget, you’ll probably see money handled in this order: spend, save, and then give. In theory, it makes sense: we take care of ourselves and our most urgent needs first, then it’s up to us what we do with what’s left. The problem with this model is that God and others get our leftovers – if we even have any. If we reverse the order, however, we can use our first and best resources to impact others and demonstrate our trust in God!
It may feel counterintuitive to prioritize giving and saving before determining what we’ll spend – maybe even scary! After all, how will we know that our own needs will be taken care of? Consider this encouragement from Matthew 6:33: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” To take such a drastic step in changing the way we manage our resources, it’s essential to trust that God will take care of your needs.
All relationships are built on trust, and that includes our relationship with God. An impactful way to show that we truly trust God is to open our hands and invite his direction in the way we use our resources. Whether you’re managing a lot or a little, you can take steps to change how you put what you have to use. As you’re prayerfully considering where God is calling you to trust him, these resources may be helpful to you:
What Does Jesus Tell Us About Money and Generosity?
3 Ways to Live Generously as a Family
The How & Why of Starting a Budget
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!