How God uses money
God uses money in three ways - as a tool, a test and a testimony.
God uses money as a tool to assess our capacity to use money well.
In Matthew 25, God gives large amounts of money to three stewards who are expected to do business with what they have been entrusted with. To those who used the money well, according to the master’s wishes, the master complemented them. The reward of good stewardship was more stewardship! “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” (Matthew 25:23) The reward was also the ‘the joy of the master.’
God uses money as a test to assess our faithfulness in using the money in the right way, especially with the little we are entrusted with. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10) The extent to which we will be trusted with what Jesus called “the true riches” is to a large extent determined by how well we use the money entrusted to us. “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:11 ) And the extent to which we will be given more money to manage is also determined by how faithful we are in managing Gods money as a trusted steward. “And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:12)
God uses money as a testimony to those around us. They have the opportunity to see God work through our lives and see us trust Him in our financial decisions. It can be a great testimony to the Lord when we are able to live a life of generosity, contentment and thankfulness.
The Husbands Unique Role
The most important role of the husband is to love his wife. This love is to be characterized by serving and caring. The Bible expresses it this way: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:25-28). It is a sacrificial love.
When newly married, I met with my neighbor, Lyle Nelsen. He hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, and when I asked why, he chuckled. “Well, about 2 a.m. my wife woke me because she wasn’t feeling well and wanted something from the all-night pharmacy.”
“Bummer,” I said.
“No,” he smiled, “I never think of occasions like that as a nuisance. To me, they’re opportunities to serve. View every request by your wife as an opportunity to serve her.”
I’ve remembered those words. View every request by your wife as an opportunity to serve her!
When Bev asks me to do something for her, if possible, I stop what I’m doing and immediately do it. And I’ve discovered something surprising. I experience joy when serving her.
Husbands, I am convinced that the Lord made us to sacrificially serve our wives, and when we do we sense His pleasure.
Robert Fraley, used to challenge husbands: “The question is not, ‘Do I love my wife?’
The real question is, ‘Does my wife know I love her?’” Think of the times you were dating her before marriage. If you’re like me, you pursued her, surprised her with gifts, and constantly thought of her. But often after tying the knot, husbands no longer express their love with the same creativity and care.
I heartily recommend Gary Chapman’s excellent book The 5 Love Languages as a resource that will help you understand how you and your mate can best express and receive love from each other.
According to surveys, most wives need to be regularly reminded that their husbands love them. One of the most effective ways of communicating your love is to serve her.
Another powerful way to express your love is to simply hug your wife every day, taking the time to look into her eyes and say, “I love you like crazy!” It’s especially important on those days when she feels discouraged, depressed or unlovable.
When God calls people together, he assigns a person to lead. In marriage, God chose the husband as head of the wife. “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). The husband’s position doesn’t mean that he is superior to his wife. They simply have different God-given functions and each is equally valuable.
This can be a sensitive area for couples, especially if a husband has not sacrificially loved and served his wife. She can feel unappreciated and insecure. A husband who has crossed the line from compassion to control can find his wife resisting his leadership.
The husband’s leadership style should not be heavy-handed or dictatorial. On the contrary, it should be characterized by “understanding” and “giving honor” to his wife. “Husbands… be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7)
The husband must obey God and serve his wife by devoting himself to her above his children, friends, recreation, ministry or career. He cannot be emotionally absent or passive. He should seek to protect her in difficult situations, such as harassing phone calls from unsympathetic creditors.
The Wife’s Unique Role
By God’s design, the wife is to help her husband. She should assist, encourage, and respect him. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper [woman] suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
The classic example of a wife helping her husband is described in Proverbs 31:10-26.
“An excellent wife…does [her husband] good and not evil all the days of her life…
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household.
She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard
She extends her hand to the poor .
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.”
Think about this wife’s extraordinary accomplishments. She provided food and clothing to her family. She was an entrepreneur with a thriving clothing business. She was a successful investor in real estate.
What motivates this industrious wife? Proverbs 31:27 reveals, “She looks well to the ways of her household.” She wants to help her husband by managing the home and by earning extra money. I love how he and the children honor her: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:28-29)
Her husband’s leadership style allowed for the full expression of his wife’s talents. Husbands, how would you describe your leadership style? Does it encourage your wife to be all she can be within her role as your helper, or are your stifling her God-given talents and creativity?
Wives, are you fulfilling your role of helping your husband?
Another role of a wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord . . . as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Many think that submission means to never express an opinion or to do just what the husband demands, but that’s inaccurate. Outstanding marriage author, Don Meredith, defines submission as “falling in line with your husband in order that oneness can take place.” It means respecting your husband enough to follow his leadership.
Now this may be hard to grasp, but God wants wives to respect and submit even if their husbands don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior—or perhaps, know Him but aren’t obeying Him. “Wives . . . be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives . . . Your beauty . . . should be that of . . . a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” (1 Peter 3:1-7)
Did you notice the last part of this passage? “You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” It can feel scary if your husband is not handling money God’s way. But don’t become fearful; rather, trust in God’s love and provision. When you submit to the leadership of your husband, the Lord will work in your husband’s life and in the circumstances for ultimate good.
The late Adrian Rogers observed, “It is important to realize every time God says, ‘You shall not,’ He is simply saying, ‘Don’t hurt yourself,’ and when He says, ‘You shall,’ He means help yourself to happiness.’ God only wants for us what we would want for ourselves if we were smart enough to want it.”
God's Part in Your Marriage
The Bible reveals a clear division of responsibilities in the handling of money. Simply put, God has certain responsibilities and has given others to us. Much of the frustration we experience in our finances comes from not realizing which responsibilities are ours and which are not.
The Lord’s primary responsibility is that He owns all your stuff! He created and owns everything.
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (NIV).
I will never forget the look on Ralph and Wendy Gray’s faces when they realized that God was the owner of all they had. “You mean that Wendy and I don’t own anything?” Ralph asked. “The home, the car, the savings—none of it’s ours; it’s all God’s? We’ve always thought as long as we give 10 percent of our income, we can spend the other 90 percent any way we want. But if God is the Owner of everything, that means we need to handle it all in a way that pleases him.”
It’s easy to believe intellectually that God owns all we have yet still live as if this were not true. Think about it. Everyone around us—our neighbors, the media, even the law—say that we own our possessions. But the Bible reveals the truth—God is the owner.
God is our Provider
The Lord promises to provide our needs. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [food and clothing] shall be given to you” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).
The same Lord who fed manna to the children of Israel during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and who fed 5,000 with only five loaves and two fish has promised to provide our needs. This is the same Lord who told Elijah, “I have commanded the ravens to provide for you. . . . The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening” (1 Kings 17:4-6).
God is totally predictable in His faithfulness to provide for our needs. What we cannot predict is how He will provide. He uses different and often surprising means—an increase in income or a gift. He may provide an opportunity to stretch limited resources through money saving purchases.
Our Part in Our Marriage
We have to ask ourselves, “If God owns everything we’ll ever have, what’s left for us to do? What are our responsibilities?”
The word in the Bible that best describes our role is steward. A steward is simply a manager of someone else’s stuff. We are to be the managers of whatever the Lord gives us. And 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us, “It is required of stewards that one be found faithful” .