By: Tom Copland
An individual’s ministry effectiveness will generally be significantly influenced by the biblical or non-biblical use of money. Jesus indicated that, if you are not trustworthy with money, then God will not entrust you with something of greater importance, which Christ called the “true riches. “If you have not been trustworthy in the handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11).
I believe that God’s “true riches” include a close relationship with God, God’s peace, and God’s joy. In addition, I believe that God’s “true riches” include an effective ministry that has been blessed by God.
It is interesting to note that one of the requirements for an elder is that the person must not be a “lover of money” and must be able to manage one’s own family well—which, by the way, would include managing family finances in a godly fashion (1 Timothy 3:3–5). From a practical perspective, 1 Timothy 3:5 raises this question: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?”
Further, some biblical scholars interpret the “true riches” that Jesus Christ is referring to in Luke 16:11 to include spiritual responsibilities, which obviously affects one’s ministry.
It is important to note that the verse preceding Luke 16:11 indicates that an individual must demonstrate faithfulness in a small amount before God will entrust him or her with a larger amount. Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
In short, it is one’s character that determines the extent of one’s faithfulness to God, not the amount of money a person has been entrusted with.
In summary, if a Christian is not faithful to God in regard to something of less importance, such as money and material things, then why would God entrust one with something of greater importance, which would include an effective ministry that has been blessed by God?
I believe there is no substitute for studying and meditating on God’s Word with regard to finances. This, in conjunction with prayer, will enable you to determine God’s will for your life in regard to the money he has entrusted you with. As you implement God’s financial principles, God will provide you with his peace and joy in regard to finances as well as an effective ministry.