From James MacDonald devotionals ~
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21, ESV).
It’s mine, versus it’s God’s. Deep down, how do you view your things, including money? You can’t divide the pot—this part is God’s; that chunk is mine. God doesn’t have a part—it’s all His. We are stewards (managers, custodians) of what belongs to God. He is the Owner; we own nothing. As stewards, we will one day answer to the Owner for what He’s entrusted to us—a job, house, car, inheritance, spouse, children, family. “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Everything you have, everything you are, everything you hope for is all the Lord’s. For example, if you decide to go on a vacation, you should go because you believe God will be honored in that rest and the outcome it will bring in your life. Every financial decision you make is actually a spiritual decision.
In fact, “your” money is a test. It isn’t innately good or bad; it’s neutral, and it reveals where your heart is.
Look at the examples of Judas and Joseph. The renowned traitor Judas failed the test. The thirty pieces of silver weren’t the problem. Judas failed because of what he did to get that silver. In his betrayal of Jesus, Judas viewed money as something to use to his advantage. When it turned sour, he despised what he’d gained. How many people spend their lives acquiring things they’ll come to despise once they realize what they lost in the process?
In contrast, Joseph of Arimathea passed the test. Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus. Though very wealthy, his wealth did not insulate his heart from doing the right thing. Grieved over Jesus’ death, Joseph asked Pilate for His body. Joseph “wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb” (Matthew 27:59–60). Tombs were very costly and hard to procure, yet Joseph generously gave that new tomb to his Lord. The test revealed Joseph’s generous heart.
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Money is a test of your:
Work ethic: While not universal, generally speaking, if your wallet is empty, you ought to look closely at your work ethic. How hard do you work? How diligently did you work, save, and invest in your twenties and thirties? The test of money hints at the longitudinal arc of your work ethic.
Self-control: You’ll never experience financial victory until you spend less than you make. Some people spend more than they make for years or decades. They’re failing the test, which often leads to financial bondage, tension, and misery in their homes.
Integrity: How did you get what you have? Did you cut corners or twist the truth to win a deal? Withhold taxes? Neglect tithing? Jesus taught, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). The money test demonstrates your integrity—or lack thereof.
Love for people: When you’re able to meet someone else’s financial need, do you? Can you recall people you’ve helped? Perhaps no one knows. Perhaps you didn’t get a tax deduction. You simply helped and loved others. If so, you’re passing the test.
Love for God: Jesus said more about money than He said about heaven and hell combined. Not because it’s the most important subject, but because until God gets hold of people’s finances, He doesn’t truly have their hearts.
Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What does the test of money reveal about your heart?
What evidence do you see in your work ethic? Self control? Integrity? Love for people? Love for God?
God, I call you Lord, and rightly so, for You are the King. You are my Master. You are the Owner. All that I have and am is Yours. Teach me to be a faithful steward. Thank You for entrusting me with the portion I have. Help me pass the test of money. Forgive me for my “Judas moments” when my loyalty is to my own gain instead of You. Help me follow Joseph’s model and use what You’ve entrusted to me for Your kingdom. I want my treasure and heart to be safe with You. For the fame of Your Son, Jesus, I pray, amen.