Note: This is the first part of a two-part article. Look for the second part next week.
Much has been written regarding what the Bible teaches about prosperity, wealth and stewardship. Despite the vast amount of material on this subject, many believers still struggle with having a biblical mindset regarding their resources.
In regards to the kingdom, scripture is replete with examples of how God's sovereign economy transcends the natural worldly economy. For instance, during the plague of darkness in Egypt, there was always light in Goshen, where the Jews lived (Ex. 10:21-23). God told Jeremiah that His people would continue to bear fruit even during a famine (Jer. 17:8). Also, we see in scripture how God supernaturally ordered circumstances to provide for the financial needs of those serving Him (Matt. 17:27).
Just because somebody is a Christian does not mean they automatically are walking in a kingdom economy. If we want to walk in God's blessing, we must walk in the ways of His kingdom's economy. The following are 14 contrasts between the kingdom and a worldly view of finances
1. In the kingdom, we release and receive. In the world, we hoard and accumulate. If we understand God's nature, we realize how generous He is! This knowledge of God comes when we study the scriptures, which re-orientates our thinking to one that emulates a Hebraic worldview. That said, God's nature is to bless people when they give to Him. (This can come in many ways, not just in terms of finances.) This is why the apostle Paul said that when the Philippian church gave to his apostolic work, they were "giving and receiving," not just giving (Phil 4:15). Also, we see how God blessed the poverty-stricken widow after she fed Elijah (1 Kings 17).
Jesus reiterated God's generosity when He said that if we give, it shall be given back to us (Luke 6:38). Proverbs teaches us that whoever waters will be watered in return and that the person who scatters will increase all the more (Prov. 11:24-26). Conversely, the worldly mindset has no objective other than self-fulfillment, which results in people hoarding and accumulating wealth for themselves; Jesus called such people fools (Luke 12:13-21). Instead of collecting for ourselves, Jesus taught us to seek our treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20).
2. In the kingdom, we hear from God regarding finances. In the world, we do what we want with our finances. In 1 Kings 17, the poor widow recognized the voice of God through Elijah the prophet when he told her to give him her last meal. This did not make sense naturally; however, because she obeyed the Lord, she never again ran out of food for her family. In the worldly mindset, we do not attempt to hear from God regarding our finances but operate in a natural mindset that benefits our interests alone.
3. In the kingdom, we honor God with the first of our increase. In the world, we honor ourselves first with our money. In Scripture, we see that God views giving Him the first fruits or the first 10% of our financial increase as honoring Him (Prov. 3:9-10). In the worldly mindset, the priority we have is to put our own needs first in everything we do (Phil 3:18-19).
4. In the kingdom, we trust God to order our financial circumstances. In the world, we position ourselves to order our circumstances. In Luke 6:38, Jesus said that when we give, "men will give to us." This means that God will order the circumstances of our life involving the people we meet to ensure He blesses us through them. With the worldly mindset, it's all about depending upon our ability to position ourselves with others for financial gain.
5. In the kingdom, we walk in divine favor. In the world, we curry favor. The Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the whole earth is His (Ps. 50 and 24). Tapping into His favor releases all the resources we would ever need in this world. With a worldly mindset, it's all about winning friends and influencing people to satisfy our financial agenda.
6. In the kingdom, we utilize our wealth. In the world, we accumulate our wealth. Jesus made it clear that God expects us to utilize our finances as seen in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-29). God expects everything He has given us to be invested properly so that He can multiply it to advance His kingdom. With a worldly mindset, even when our finances are invested to multiply, it is primarily to accumulate more finances to serve our own interests.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition. Dr. Mattera is the author of 13 bestselling books, including his latest The Purpose, Power, and Process of Prophetic Ministry, and is renowned for applying Scripture to contemporary culture.
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