Jesus said, “If you have not been trustworthy in the handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11).
I believe that many Christians assume that there is no connection between their spirituality and how they handle money. But in this verse, Jesus Christ is communicating that our faithfulness (or the lack thereof) in regard to money will significantly affect the extent to which God entrusts us with His “true riches.”
I believe that God’s “true riches”—that is, the things that are really important to God—include the following:
1. A Close Personal Relationship with God. There is nothing more important in this life than our relationship with God. The Apostle Paul considered a relationship with Christ more valuable than everything else (Philippians 3:8).
2. God’s Peace. God has promised his peace when we are directed by His Spirit: “But the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
3. God’s joy. God has promised us his joy when we are in His presence. Psalm16:11 states, “In your presence is fullness of joy” (NKJV).
At first, it may be difficult to believe that faithful stewardship (or the lack thereof) with money would affect one’s relationship with God and one’s peace and joy. However, in Matthew 6:24, Jesus made it clear that money can be a serious competitor with our relationship with God: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Let me give you one common example of how our relationship with money affects our relationship with God.
If an individual or couple are spending more than they earn on a monthly basis, then in due course, they will experience financial problems. Generally, people under significant financial stress will be focused on those problems, which will take up a lot of their time and energy. This will inadvertently affect their relationship with God. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
In addition, the anxiety that comes from financial problems and excessive debt will generally result in a lack of peace and joy in one’s life. I’ve never met anyone who was happy about missing a mortgage payment or car loan payment.
In summary, your faithful stewardship of the money that God has trusted to you will enable you to enjoy God’s “true riches”—which include a close personal relationship with God, God’s peace, and God’s joy.