Church and money
Does your church handle its money well? (iStock photo)

Recently I wrote a post about some things you need in order to do ministry well, and one of the things I mentioned was have a gospel mindset about money. As I finished writing that section of the post, I realized I didn’t have nearly enough space to do the subject justice.

What does it mean to have a “gospel mindset” when it comes to money? 

To me, what it means is that we look at money not as a curse or as a blessing but as one of the many resources God uses to accomplish His healing, redeeming work this side of heaven.

We don’t have to worship money in order to use it. We don’t have to reject money to stay pure and holy. We simply have to remember what money is and what it isn’t. And looking at the posture Scripture takes toward money can help us keep this mindset.

Here are four qualities I see when I look at how Scripture talks about money:

1. God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (NIV). When we view money through this lens—as if everything in the world is owned by God—it can appease many of our worries about money.

We don’t have to worry that our cause or our campaign or our ministry won’t be funded. We can simply look around us and see: The resources are virtually unlimited.

Additionally, when we’re in danger of not making budget, we’re not petitioning the people in our church for more money; we’re petitioning God.

God owns everything and will allocate the resources as He chooses.

It is not our job to judge why they are distributed the way they are or to forcibly allocate them the way we think they should be. It’s only our responsibility to make sure that whatever is entrusted to us is stewarded well and gives honor to the One who really owns it.

Be a good steward of your resources. Give people a safe, trustworthy, praiseworthy, godly place where they can invest their money.

2. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Part of having a gospel mindset about money is realizing that every gift you enjoy comes from a source—from a Father who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Again, this frees us from worry about money (see point No. 1), but it also frees us from guilt about money.

When you have resources, you don’t have to feel guilty for using them. Use them in a way that is going to heal more people, serve more people, restore more people and reach more people with the transforming love of Christ.

3. You can survive with everything and with nothing. You’ve heard it said, “Money can’t buy happiness.” And perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, Yes, but money can buy ice cream (or coffee or cars or new clothes), and those things have a track record for making me happy.

Here’s the thing about a gospel approach to money: Both are true.

Money is neutral. We can be content when we have money and are able to enjoy blessings like ice cream, new clothes or even a nice car. We can also be content when we don’t have money, when we have to go without luxuries or even things we would consider basic necessities.

Think about the last time you went on a mission trip or even camping. Chances are you survived without some things you would consider basic necessities (daily showers, shampoo, your favorite foods).

Paul sets this example for us in Philippians 4:12. He says, “I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT).

Are you content both in plenty and in want?

4. God provides. Notice in Philippians 4:12 that Paul says he has learned a “secret” to living in every situation. Have you ever wondered: What’s the secret?

Paul reveals the secret to us in the very next verse. He says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

This makes me think: God doesn’t only equip us with money to do the work He sets before us; He equips us physically, mentally and spiritually as well. No matter the task set before you, it is God who gives you the strength you need to complete it. Not only that, but God is faithful to provide everything you need.

First Thessalonians 5:24 says, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (NIV).

God will provide for your every need. He is faithful. He will do it.

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and, all while staying involved in the local church.

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