By Greg Chimitris

What Would Jesus do with $40,000?

Money can be a confusing topic for us Christians.

There are a lot of competing ideas out there about how we should use it. Conversations about it make us tense and uncomfortable. We throw around loaded terms like stewardship and tithe without stopping to ask what they really mean.

We often criticize our church’s budget but then get defensive when our church addresses our own! I’ve even known Christians (myself included) who have avoided church on the one Sunday a year when the pastor is brave enough to preach on money. Talking about money makes people uncomfortable; no one likes to hear about how they should use “their” stuff or feel guilty about their spending.

Does the Bible have anything to say about money that’s freeing and life-giving? How would Jesus spend money? What would Jesus do with, say, $40,000?

Jesus talked a lot about money.

When you read the gospels it seems like almost every time you turn the page he’s challenging someone’s allegiance to their belongings or exposing the hypocrisy in the ways they used their money. In fact, almost half of Jesus’ parables involve money or possessions!

Jesus wasn’t talking about money.

Jesus focused on money because how we view and spend money are such clear indicators of the deeper realities of our hearts—our loyalties, values, and securities. When you look at someone’s bank statement you see what it is they really value.  

Also, saving money can be our way of securing our own personal safety and security rather than believing God’s promise of “do not worry” (Matthew 6:25-34) or Jesus’ warning that “you cannot serve God and money!”

Jesus was talking about the kingdom of God!

As Christians, we are called to use our money in ways that show our allegiance to King Jesus and his kingdom. We’re like investment bankers making decisions with God’s capital and he wants us to invest his money in line with his values.

It’s astounding how many practical ways there are to do this:

  • support just systems of change
  • support the gospel moving forward through missions work or investing in missions conferences (like Urbana Student Missions Conference)
  • donate to the relief of human poverty and suffering
  • become a careful and informed consumer of products which are produced and distributed justly
  • help members of the Christian community in times of need
  • give to local and global churches or communities of faith

Faithfulness as God’s investors leads to increasing obedience on our part and increasing praise of God from those who see our obedience and generosity. This is the inexpressible gift that Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 9. Our acts of financial obedience multiply God’s glory rather than money’s power.  

What do you think Jesus would do with $40K?

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While I like the premise here, what Jesus would do with $40,000 is a fairly silly question. He would use it to feed his followers, just like he used all the money that he was given, and he would not be surprised when someone gave it to him ... it would come at a precise time of need. The WWJD question is not the same as what would Jesus have US do with $40,000. And for each one of us that answer should be different. God is most concerned that we steward our resources in ways that are in alignment with how he has gifted us and called us as his people in all the spheres and roles that we have. For the person called to live their life among the poor, perhaps they should give that money away to the poor. For the entrepreneur, they should perhaps invest the $40,000 in the business and continue to give away the profits as God has led them to. For the parent who has no way to pay for their child's college education they should love their child and give a portion of it to them. For the person in debt, they should no longer a borrower be. For the person in need of medication or life saving operation perhaps they should spend it that way. So while "What Would Jesus Do" is a good question. A better question is what would Jesus have me do with $40,000 in income ( or how would he have me face up to an unexpected $40,000 debt.) Which at the end of the day is only theoretical until we find ourselves in a place and time where it actually happens. Thanks for thinking about it .... Rob Alexander, UD89 IVCF Alumni and Author of "Profession-als" and soon to be released "Gospel Centered Work"

WWJD with 40,000? I understand how that is ... open to interpretation. Thinking about the opposite can sometimes help. What would he not do with the $40,000? -afb

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