If you let it, tax season will get you down. As you peruse your W2, you see how much money you theoretically made in a year (your gross income) in relation to a considerable smaller number which represents the amount of money that actually passed through your hands (your net income).
If we’re honest, the numbers on the check or W2 form don’t matter nearly as much as what we do with our money. The question every believer must answer is: are we working for God’s kingdom or trying to build our own kingdom?
The difference between trying to build our own kingdom and working for God’s kingdom is the difference between Saul, the first king of Israel, and his son Jonathon. Saul was more concerned with what others thought than what God thought. We see this when he disregarded God’s command to destroy the Amalekites completely, as well as everything that belonged to them. He told Samuel, “I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them” (1 Samuel 15:24), allowing them to keep the best of the sheep and cattle.
We will give into others when we adopt the philosophies of the world regarding money. We’ll hear, “You deserve this!” or “You should do that for your family,” even when the “this” or “that” are nothing more than worldly indulgences which have no bearing on necessities. We easily can be talked into a newer car, bigger house or the latest clothes if we treat our money as if it’s ours and ours alone.
In contrast, when David defeated Goliath, Jonathon saw David’s victory as the Lord’s hand fighting for Israel. We’re told “Jonathon took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt” (1 Samuel 18:4). Jonathon had already proven himself as a mighty warrior. He might have seen David as competition and refused to help him or befriend him. Jonathon did just the opposite. David was a poor shepherd boy who had the courage to fight, and Jonathon took his own things and shared them with David and encouraged him.
Because Saul was all about building his own kingdom, he saw David’s victories as a threat and a means of overtaking the throne. Indeed, God had decided to take the throne from Saul and give it to David, but it was not because of David’s victories, but because of David’s heart, which was in tune with God and His kingdom. Saul hunted David to kill him in an effort to keep the kingship in his family.
If we’re about building our kingdom, we’re going to have to take people out, too. We’re going to have to cut out the people we would otherwise help. Our money will be needed to pay our credit card bills, our car payment, and our house payment instead of helping the poor, or buying gifts for the sick or to comfort those imprisoned. We’ll need all of our time to work to pay for our lifestyle, so we won’t have time for the neglected, and we’ll look past the weak and widowed.
In contrast to his father, Jonathon loved David and was fine with God’s decision to make David the next king. His only request was that David not harm his family, a covenant David was happy to make. Imagine that. Jonathon had been raised with his father as the king, but he understood the position of king was God’s to appoint.
If we live like Jonathon we’re going to be ok if the promotion is given to someone else, even if it means less money for our family. We’re going to be ok when others succeed in worldly ways, because we’re not after worldly prestige and riches, and we know God knows what He’s doing. Jesus said not to store up earthly things which rust or fade, but to focus on eternal things. He also said we’d need to make a choice between serving money and serving God (Matthew 6).
When we see the things God gives us (talents, possessions and income) as a means of serving others, we bring glory to God. When we see those things as a means of serving ourselves alone, we lose an opportunity to use the worldly to benefit the eternal.
Don’t lose sight of the obvious. We can’t take anything with us. Use what you have to make a difference, both in this world and the world to come.
Author: Amber Swenson
Amber has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Literature. She has authored four books; two of them (Bible Moms and The Whisper Theory) are in print and two (The Bread of Angels and Ladies of Legacy) are in various stages of publication. Both her Bible studies and her novels are written in an effort to bring single, married, young and older women to a closer relationship with their Savior Jesus Christ. She also authors a weekly blog found on facebook under "Bible Moms" or at "biblemoms.wordpress.com".
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