The Christian’s Use of Money; By Charles A. Cook, D.D.
Superintendent for the General Committee on Christian Stewardship.
“In an advanced civilization coined money is the legally established medium of exchange, and the measure of values in trade. In every condition of life it is in constant use for one purpose or another. By it we pay for labor, skill, knowledge, necessaries, luxuries, pleasures. The possession of money in greater or less amounts is almost universally essential to the securing of any earthly comfort. Who can measure its power in the world for good or evil?
Is there problems associated with money?
We must of course possess money before we can use it. The problem with most people is not how to use money, but how to get it. Getting it is a very important matter, more important than most men think. The way in which men get money has a direct influence upon their characters, and usually decides the manner in which they will use it. Right getting of money is as important as right using of it. Unrighteous getting will be followed as a rule by unrighteous using. “No man can atone for evil ways of making money by ostentatious benevolence in spending it.” Many uses of money are wrong, sinful, ruinous; other uses of it are right, helpful, blessed, glorifying to God. Money properly acquired is often improperly used.
What use should Christians make of money? Should their use of it be different from that of others? What should be the governing principles in the lives of Christians in their money getting and money using? These are not trivial questions. They are of the utmost importance.
It must be admitted that there is an amount of carelessness among Christians concerning their use of money which is alarming. Few realize how serious a matter the handling or spending of money is. A very small percentage have seriously considered their relation to money and property as stewards for God, few have realized that they will be held accountable to God for this stewardship. Carelessness comes from unconsciousness of responsibility. A Christian should never use money carelessly. He has no right to waste it nor spend it foolishly, nor devote it to uses that will in any way be harmful to himself or others.
Christians should use money in ways that will be in harmony with, and minister to, their own highest development and enrichment spiritually. A man’s use of money either helps or hurts him spiritually. His use of it will either alienate him from God, or bind him to God in a closer fellowship. It will either be a curse or a blessing to him. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Tim. 6:10.
The Christian’s use of money should be in harmony with the fact that he is redeemed and belongs to God.
“Ye are not your own, for ye were bought with a price; glorify God, therefore, in your body.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20. As money represents the expenditure of physical or mental strength, is the product of our powers, we are to glorify God in the use of money. Says Dr. Schauffler, “Money is the stored potentiality of one’s self.” Money is so much of myself, of my strength, ability, knowledge, energy, life, transmitted into coin.
Money is like electricity; it is stored power, and it is only a question as to where that power is to be loosed; When we think of money that way, and pray about it that way, and give it that way, and tell others of it, then we will have the Church of God saying: ‘Hasten the collection in the church. Quick! ”—Dr. A. F. Schauffler
Then since I belong to God–the money I earn belongs to God. And if it is right and God requires that I should glorify Him in my body, it is right and God requires that I should glorify Him with the money which is His, and which He entrusts to me to use for Him. “Honor the Lord with the first fruits of all thine increase.” Loyalty to God’s will, whose we are, should determine the use we make of His money. Yes, His. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” Hag. 2:8.
The Christian’s use of money should be in harmony with the fact that he is called to be a coworker with God. God has brought His redeemed ones into a high partnership with Himself. “We are God’s fellow workers.” 1 Cor. 3:9. We are God’s stewards. 1 Pet. 4:10. He is the great chief partner and owner. Our every use of money should be in harmony with that fact. As God’s fellow-workers we should keep ourselves posted as to what God is doing in the world, and know what He wants to have done in the world, and then use the money He commits to us along the line of His working and His will.
Thus, the use of money by Christians should be governed not by the ways and customs of the world, but by the demands of society; not by the desires and preferences of the self life, but by the lofty Christian principles to which attention has been called. “Be not conformed to this world.” Christians should make a higher, better, more God-glorifying use of money than the unconverted make. Christians should acquire, use, save, spend and give money as redeemed men and women, and as God’s stewards, knowing that the time is coming when they shall be called to give an account of their stewardship.” Bloomfleld, N. J.—Charles A. Cook, D.D., The Watchman; January 7, 1904.