“Good Money, Bad Money”
a devotional by Natalie Patterson

Money… a topic that nobody likes brought up in church, but for most people is the reason they get up in the morning. Why is this?

In High School, we are encouraged to do well academically in order to get into a good college. When deciding on a major for college, we are expected to think about “what will make the most money or success”. Once we reach college, we are encouraged to do well academically in order to get a good job. Why? Because we want financial security for the rest of our lives!

Now, is this a bad thing? No, not necessarily. It’s good to plan ahead and make wise decisions. But, when we plan our lives around, and put our trust in the security of money, we have reached the terrible trap of falling in love with it. Once we have fallen in love with something, it is very difficult to let that thing go. This is why we get uncomfortable when the church starts talking about money. We start realizing we have started relying more on the security of money, than on the provisions of God.

Now, every person handles their money differently. But we can safely say there are two different categories of money handlers. There are the savers and the spenders. These are two extreme sides of the money spectrum. Both sides have their benefits, but both have their dangers.

I personally am a saver. I pride myself in budgeting my money out well enough to put a big chunk of my paychecks into my savings account. Even if there is nothing specific that I am saving for, I still make sure there is money going into the savings. You may think this is wise stewardship and planning. Yes, it could be. But what about when it gets to the point of greediness and believing that my security in life is built upon how big my savings account is? At that point, I have fallen in love with my savings account. I am no longer trusting that God will take care of my needs, but that I can take care of myself.

Don’t take my word for it. What does the Word of God have to say about this? In Luke 12:15 it says, “Take care, and be on your guard against covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” That was Jesus talking! And Jesus again says in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The Old Testament also talks about money saying, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor her who loves wealth with is income; this also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Lastly, in Hebrews 13:5 it says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.” And the list of verses on this topic goes on and on…

So what is the solution to this common American tendency of finding security and love in their money? GIVE, GIVE, GIVE! I probably just lost half of you right there. Please, hang on with me here and try understanding that the sour feeling in your gut right now may just be the Holy Spirit’s conviction. No, this isn’t me trying to get you to give away all of your possessions. This also isn’t me trying to guilt you into giving money to some organization. When we give, we are bringing someone else into our world. It helps us refocus our perspective on what is eternally important- people, not things! And, what an awesome feeling it is to know that you are using the blessings God has given you to help others in need.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a saver. A few months ago I started recognizing God’s financial blessings in my life. The saver in me got all excited to figure out how much I could be putting into my savings account each month. Then I took a moment to reflect on my heart attitude in this situation. Am I being greedy, ungrateful, and selfish with my money? I started praying about what God wanted me to do with the money he was giving me. Over that next couple month, about five different people boldly approach me with financial needs. I did something I never thought would ever be possible. Through the direction and strength of God, I gave each one of them even more than what they were asking for.

This taught me so many things about myself and about God:

First, I realized that I had an unhealthy love and greediness of money.
Second, giving brings much joy to the people I give to and then in return, brings me joy! Third, the act of giving was a fantastic reminder that the money I receive is a gift from God, and belongs to Him so it is wrong of me to hold onto it so tightly.

So, when is the last time you spend your money on someone besides yourself?

I encourage you to evaluate how you use your money. Are you a saver or a spender?

Do you have more faith in your financial security then you do in God’s provision?

What now? Make a game plan! Study and meditate upon the verses I mentioned and ask God to give you opportunities to give. You won’t regret it!

Much Love,
Natalie Patterson