“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, esv).
God is the Owner of everything. We own nothing. We’re simply the stewards of what actually belongs to Him. Is that a new perspective for you, or does it describe how you view ‘your’ things, including money?
Are you It’s mine, or are you It’s God’s?
Because 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. As stewards (managers, custodians), we will one day answer to the Owner for what He has 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—it’s all the Lord’s. Your money is a test. Every financial decision you make is actually a spiritual decision. Money isn’t innately good or bad; it’s neutral and it reveals your heart.
Look at Judas and Joseph. Renowned traitor Judas failed the test. Thirty pieces of silver weren’t the problem—Judas failed because of what he did to get that silver. His betrayal of Christ revealed his view that money was to be used to his advantage rather than to bring glory to God. When the deal turned sour, Judas despised what he’d gained.
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 Christ’s body. He “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 went out of his way to use it to honor his Lord. The test revealed Joseph’s generous heart.
Jesus could not have been more clear: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Money is a test of your:
Work ethic: Generally speaking, if your wallet is empty, you ought to look closely at your work ethic. How hard do you work? How diligently are you working at saving and investing? The test of money hints at the longitudinal arc of your work ethic.
Self-control: You will not experience financial victory until you spend less than you make. Some people never learn this and spend beyond their income for years or decades. That’s a fail. And it leads to financial bondage, family tension, and other kinds of misery.
Integrity: How did you gain 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). Your response to the money test demonstrates your integrity.
Love for people: When you are able to meet someone else’s financial need, do you? Can you recall people you’ve helped? Perhaps no one else knows. You didn’t get a tax deduction; you simply helped and loved others. If so, you’re passing the test.
Love for God: Jesus had more to say about the topic of money than He said about heaven and hell combined. Not because money is the most important subject, but because until God gets hold of your wallet, He doesn’t truly have your heart.
How often do we give our time and attention to acquiring things we’ll come to despise once we realize what we have lost in the process? Whatever you have, God has given to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart.
Judas’s heart was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s heart was generous and loyal; money told his story, too. And your treasure will disclose the state of your heart also.
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 yours. Help me to follow Joseph’s model and use what You’ve entrusted to me for Your kingdom. I want my treasure and my heart to be safe with You. For the fame of Your Son, Jesus, I pray, amen.