How do we see work and earning in the bigger picture of our Christian faith?
This article is first published by Christian Super.
The world’s advice on earning leads you to disaster. It erodes your character and pillages your relationships. You fall into the trap of loving money and using people to accomplish your purposes.
There’s a higher road you can take. I believe you can maximize, even multiply your impact as a steward and worker for God through your work and relationships but only by mastering three tasks.
- Acknowledge Your Place in God’s Work
God made humans to work (see Genesis 2:15). So, your work is part of God’s work, and you must not get in God’s way. You are an instrument for God to work through — a steward — so avoid trying to control or change other workers, that’s the Master’s job.
If you are a follower of Christ, Scripture says to “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24). This new self is more about your being (internal Christ-like characteristics) rather than your doing (external actions) as a light for Christ in this dark, sin-filled world.
While the world sees the aim of the worker as taking compensation, God’s vision for you as a worker is to make a contribution through your work and into the lives of your fellow workers. Thus, your being and doing shapes the world and builds up those around you.
- Know Yourself
Related to earning, you must remember that God is the one who gives you “the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). In your role as a steward, you need to know where you are in your faith journey as it relates to all that you earn.
Ask yourself these questions: Do you daily seek to know the Owner of these possessions and ask how He wants them to be stewarded? Do you hold on tightly with a clenched fist to the possessions God entrusts to you? Are you a reservoir that stores up these resources? Or, are you a free-flowing river that directs the resources in accordance with the Master’s wishes? Would others say that you are generous as Christ is generous?
Your job is to know yourself and follow the instructions in God’s Word regarding possessions so that you produce eternal fruit in God’s eyes.
- Understand How God Views Money
In God’s eyes, your financial decisions are spiritual matters because all the money you earn and possess belongs to Him. From Luke 16:1-9, I suggest that three purposes come into view that instruct you how to handle money from God’s eternal perspective.
Firstly, God provides you with money and possessions as a tool to bring others to Christ. Wise stewards use these resources to draw people to faith in Jesus. What do you possess? A home? One or more cars? Clothing? Other stuff? How are you leveraging these possessions to glorify God and make Him known?
Secondly, the stuff entrusted to you is a test that reveals whether or not God is Master and Lord of your life. You cannot serve both God and money, and God knows your attitudes and actions better than you do. This relates to everyone, as Randy Alcorn writes in Money, Possessions, and Eternity, “God considers it His business. He does not apologize for watching with intense interest what we with the money He’s entrusted to us.”
Can you provide examples of how you use God’s provisions to demonstrate that God’s eternal kingdom is your highest priority?
Thirdly, how you use possessions indicates your trademark. One of the most visible signs of your Christ-centered values is how you use your possessions. As your neighbors, friends, and others look at your life, what brand or trademark do they see? Is it clear from how you use what you have that you value your home in heaven more than what you have on earth? What specific evidence related to your handling of money and possessions shows that your trademark is that of a Christ-follower?
Once you master these three tasks — acknowledge your place in God’s work, know yourself, and understand that God views money as a tool, a test, and a trademark that points others to Him — then you will maximize your ability to multiply your impact as a steward by inspiring others to join you in the journey of faithful and generous stewardship.
Wes Willmer, Ph.D., CCNL, has encouraged biblical stewardship and generosity for over four decades. He has directed more than $1 million in research grants, authored, co-authored or edited 24 books, and published many articles. He serves as the Principal of the Wes Willmer Group, LLC.