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Where Is God in My Life with Money?

God works in and through our money
by Menzi Nkambule | September 19, 2022

“Where is God in my life with money?” When I first thought about this question, I was overwhelmed with more questions. Exactly how do you put God in your money? Do you even put enough money in the offering plate to consider God as part of your life with money? How can money be the place where God meaningfully exists? 

Perhaps you’re asking, or have asked, some of these questions too. 

For me, today’s topic triggered memories of my prosperity gospel upbringing. As a child, I immediately gave up faith because I couldn’t put anything in the offering plate. At the pulpit, the preacher insisted, “If you don’t give enough to the church, the Lord won’t bless you.” With a financially disadvantaged upbringing, this kind of message put God’s grace out of reach for me. My heart hardened and I grew bitter. 

Turning point

It took an act of generosity from my adopted mom to soften my heart and reshape my experience of God. Her offer to invest in my education and welfare came right when I needed it the most. It was like God reached out and made God’s kingdom known. This experience changed how I understood God. Instead of a transactional God, taking money in exchange for blessing, I received God’s merciful and generous kingdom. 

God works in and through the money

When we share our money generously with others, they experience God in a real and tangible way. Experiencing such grace softens the heart and makes it easier for the receiver and the giver to hear God’s Word. 

The Word

In Luke 12:32-40, Jesus makes a case for a radical way of using all our money toward God’s kingdom. Jesus promises the kingdom and says: 

“Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33-34). 

You are familiar with almsgiving – money and goods donated to people living in poverty. But Jesus argues for us to go beyond that by investing in “an unfailing treasure in heaven.” You can think of this as both lifestyle and impact investing for God’s kingdom. It goes beyond giving only for today’s meal, and secures a better future for all. To give such a gift, your heart’s desires must be aligned with God’s abundant and gracious kingdom. 

Lifestyle investing

God can, and wants to, exist in your life with money through your lifestyle choices. Matthew Skinner makes this point clear when he writes, “When Jesus declares ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,’ he says that we can train our wills and our ways of thinking … through the ways we use our money.” Carefully considering how and where you spend money can make a huge difference in your life and the lives of others. In addition to spending money on others – supporting small, local, and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses, and buying sustainable products are all critical considerations around letting God into our life with money.

High impact investing

Consider the best gift you can give. It might not even be a lot, but it is a gift that’s well considered and takes into account its long-term impact. High impact philanthropy is a way of  giving that changes our social reality into one that creates a safety for everyone. As people of faith, we’re better positioned to do this work when we’re motivated by God’s desire for a safe world for all. Mark Elsdon gives various ways to make impact investing a reality at your church. 

Conclusion

When trying to answer the question, “Where is God in my life with money?” remember: God works in and through your money. God is in 100 percent of our money, waiting there as a gift for us and our neighbor. I pray that our spending and our gifts reflect God’s desire and the promises that are part of God’s kingdom.

About the Author

Menzi Nkambule

Pastor Menzi Nkambule is a Luther Seminary graduate (MDiv class of 2022) serving at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is a keen learner with a BA in Management and experience in youth mentoring and vocational discernment accompaniment. He recently served as an intern at Salem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and as a capacity builder at CLNE.

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