God and Money
We were (and still are) meant to exercise our "rule" only within the context of God's delegated authority as God's coworkers in the creative enterprise of life on earth. In our fall in the Garden of Eden, we mistrusted and distanced ourselves from God; and then naturally from each other. Instead of reigning "with" God in His Kingdom, we decided to set up our own kingdoms and queendoms. If we couldn't trust God who made us, we certainly couldn't trust anyone else.
We now live in a fallen world that is in constant conflict; hence, our natural dominion is greatly decreased. However, when we submit to God in Christ, our rule or dominion begins to increase, and the effect of the fall begins to diminish. In accord with God's original intent, we begin to experience the individualized kingdom that God prepared for each person from the outset of creation:
For we are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)
God's own Kingdom is the range of His effective wil?-where what He wants done is done. When we pray "Thy Kingdom come", we are asking that God's Kingdom will take over at all points in the personal, social, and political order where it is now excluded. God's intent is for me to learn to mesh my individual kingdom with the kingdoms of other believers within His good Kingdom. We then enjoy individualized reigns under the reign of God without isolation or conflict.
There are two mega-kingdoms that are in mega-conflict. The Kingdom of this world consists of the principalities and powers of this world that are in rebellion against God and those who have taken Satan's advice and live in either active or passive rebellion against God and His Kingdom. The Kingdom of God consists of those who: have repented of their rebellion, have recognized that Jesus is Lord, and now exercise their rule and reign under God's rule and reign. Followers of Jesus live in a
different kingdom with a
different culture under a
different economic system with a
The currency of this world is money, the "currency" of God's Kingdom is grace-–free and abundant giving.
The apostle Paul directed us:
As citizens (of the Kingdom of God) to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel (good news) of Christ, to stand firm in one spirit contending together with one mind for the faith of the gospel without being frightened by those who oppose us. (Phil 1:27-29)
The apostle Peter said that:
We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God who have received His mercy. (I Peter 2:9-10)
Peter then urges us:
As aliens and foreigners in the world, to live such excellent lives among the pagans who are the residents of the world that they may see our good work and thus glorify God. (I Peter 2:11-12)
The Kingdom that God established before the fall was characterized by goodness and abundance. Indeed God promised Israel that if they followed His rule and His economy they would live in abundance and would not become poor. Because of their natural rebellion they did not follow His rule and His economy. Through Christ, God is now building His Kingdom wherever anyone will submit to His rule.
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.(Col 1:13)
God's Kingdom is still characterized by goodness and abundance. Money as a store of value or medium of exchange loses its value in an economy where goods are so plentiful that no one needs to store them or buy them. In the Kingdom of God everything is freely given and freely received. Grace is the "currency", Money has no value.
George McDonald in The Curate's Awakening (which was originally written in 1876) tells a wonderful story about wealth and money as they relate to God's Kingdom economy based on grace, giving, and serving:
Tell them your vision of the shops in heaven, said Rachel.
Polworth stopped, took a deep breath while the others waited expectantly. Then he began.
"'And now,' said my guide to me, 'I will take you to the city of the righteous, and show you how they buy and sell in the kingdom of heaven.' So we journeyed on and on and I was weary before we arrived. After I had refreshed my soul, my conductor led me into a large place that we would call a shop here, although the arrangements were different and an air of stateliness dwelt in and around the place. It was filled with the loveliest silk and woolens--all types and colors, a thousand delights.
Continued on next page
More by Perry Bigelow
- A Developer's Perspective on Healthy Communities
- The Builder-Developer as a Steward of God's Resources
- Builder of the Year Acceptance Speech
- Building and Development Philosophy: Cultural and Environmental Sustainability
- 13th Annual Affordable Comfort Conference
- 1st Annual National Green Building Conference
- Bibliography - Neighborhood Planning, Community & Ecology
- The Spirituality of Sustainability
- Stewardship of Creation
- God and Money
- Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
- Excerpts from "Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community"
- Devotional - Listening to God Daily
- Bibliography for "God and Money" and "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger"