by Vanessa Perlá
You’ve heard the phrase before, “God doesn’t need our money, He wants our hearts.” As accurate as this may be, it is also true that when we start getting too attached to money and neglect our responsibilities to God, our hearts and lives become self-centered and we slowly stray away from God.
Most people feel uncomfortable conversing with others on the topic of money. There is something about this subject that creates a sense of uneasiness and discomfort. This topic is strictly off limits for most people, especially around acquaintances or strangers. However, there are a few individuals who may feel comfortable talking about money with a trusted friend.
The uneasiness of this topic is even visible in church settings. Could this be the reason why so little emphasis on money is given from our pulpits? Do we feel uncomfortable when an appeal is made by pastors for us to return tithe and to give offerings? Our uneasiness may stem from the assumption that all the money will go directly toward their salaries? I've heard some people mentioning their refusal to give money to the church because they were in disagreement with various concepts. This way of thinking made me realize that sometimes we think that what we give to God is our money, when in fact we return to Him what He has given to us in the first place.
When we claim that the money we make is our own, we feel we have complete discretion over its use. However, once we understand that God’s Word teaches us about tithe and offerings, then it is clear that from the moment we get a paycheck, ten percent of that money is not ours, but God’s. When it comes to offerings, some feel that returning tithe is enough and that giving offerings is an “optional” act and is therefore, asking too much from us.
In case we are not convinced of our natural inclination to selfishness, listen to this report (audio below) about a study that was conducted by Paul Piff, a social psychologist at the University of California Irvine, on how economics influences behavior and personality. One of his findings concluded that, “wealthier people become […] more focused on themselves, [and] they can rely on their own resources to get by.” The study findings also suggests that “experience of wealth can create the psychological sense that you are all you need.”
Science also concurs that having and desiring more money makes us selfish and self-sufficient. God, in His mercy and wisdom, has given us the antidote for this maligned illness —generosity.
There will come a time in our lives, if we haven’t already experienced it, when we will struggle with our honesty to God and with our generosity to His cause. But there is hope for us if we earnestly ask God to help us to be honest and faithful to Him. I am so glad we do not have to rely on ourselves to be better, “for it is God who works in [us] both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NKJV).
Let us start a conversation with God about money, because, after all, He is our most trusted friend.