By Nicole George
There is a young woman at my church who works for our college ministry who will attend medical school next year. At least that’s her plan. It wasn’t exactly her plan to volunteer in ministry for a year because she imagined herself going into the work field to earn money to give to missionaries. I myself imagined the opposite for me. I highly considered going into the mission field after school and instead, I have the blessing of working to earn money to support missionaries like her! Funny how things like that work out.
Now, it’s not to say that I’m not on mission in my workplace. *Update: I’m beginning to see fervent prayers for my coworkers get answered and am PUMPED!* I’m definitely on mission and the influence that Christian workers have is valuable and needs to be leveraged. I am saying that as an American, Christian employee, we have the unique position of having a great resource to leverage for the Lord that many around the world do not have: money!
In addition, we also have the blessing and command from the Lord to steward our time and other resources that we’re given. Today though, I’m going to talk about money.
As a millennial worker, The Art of Manliness suggests that you understand the value of money and are more likely to be frugal than your parents’ generation. Art of Manliness goes so far to suggest we could the next great generation of personal finance! Spending and managing money is definitely hard, especially after not having much money and then suddenly earning more per month than you ever have!
Art of Manliness always has good advice, but here are three principles for stewarding your money and being a great millennial with money, not in the eyes of others, but in the eyes of God.
1) God owns it all, not you.
Do you see yourself as a steward or as an owner? When you see yourself as a steward of money that isn’t yours, what are the implications? The abilities you've been given to work didn't come from you and the money that you earn in your job belongs to the Lord. So how do you think he wants you to invest your money? And yes, God really does care about your money. He's no genie, but he is generous and asks us to be both generous and smart with the money that we earn.
2) Live for the Line, not the Dot.
Our time is short on earth. We are but a dot on the timeline of eternity. Do you want to invest in God’s eternal plan, legacy and righteousness? Do you want to see others also enjoy him eternally the way you as a Christian have the blessing of doing? To be quite candid, giving and investing in others’ salvation and their relationship with God is far more important and pertinent than your new TV, car or house because that human is an eternal being. Don’t throw money at the earth which passes away like a fading garment. (Isaiah 51:6)
3) Have a Pilgrim’s Mindset.
Along the similar basis of Living for the Line, earth is not your eternal home. Live like a pilgrim passing through earth and don’t invest in earth’s constant demands for your money like it is your home! While we are made to enjoy and flourish while on earth, consider that many others never get the opportunity to flourish. Come alongside fellow Christians and those who don’t know the Lord who are also on a pilgrimage and share generously with them so that you may travel through life and flourish together!
Now for the Why Behind Our Giving
It’s not about earning God’s love and approval. That would be ignoring the whole point of the Gospel.
It’s also definitely not about earning other people’s love and approval. Paul says in 2 Cor. 9:7 that each of us must give as we have decided.
This means you’re not giving what other people expect us to give. The caveat in 2 Cor. 9:7 is to give not reluctantly or under compulsion, but with joy and cheer.
Nathan Torrey wrote an excellent article about not giving to ease our conscience. So don’t give out of compulsion if this blog bothers you and starts to make you feel guilty about your wallet. Instead, run to the arms of the Lord and ask him, “God, how do you want me to invest my money in your eternal plan?”
Even this week in downtown Knoxville, I gave to a panhandling homeless man out of compulsion, trying to ease the awkwardness of encountering him. There was no joy in handing him $5 and minutes later when a different lady asked me for a dollar, I became flustered and frustrated. "Why were they all asking me for money?!"
Now, the economics behind charitable giving is complicated, don’t get me wrong. (See "How Effective is Our Aid?") But throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Lord commands us to bear each other’s burdens and assist those who don’t have.
God has always been a God on mission, and he doesn’t bless people just to bless them—God blesses that we may be a blessing to others. (Genesis 12:2-3) We get the opportunity to go forth giving the blessing of the Gospel and meeting the needs of others.
We were designed to flourish and you have a spiritual and physical part to play in human thriving.