There has been much written regarding what the Bible teaches about prosperity, wealth and stewardship. In spite of the vast amount of material on this subject, many believers are still struggling in regard to having a biblical mindset regarding their resources.
In regards to the kingdom, Scripture is replete with examples of how God's sovereign economy transcends the natural worldly economy. For example, during the plague of darkness in Egypt, there was always light in Goshen where the Jews lived (Ex. 10:21-23). God told Jeremiah that His people would continue to bear fruit even in a time of famine (Jer. 17:8).
Also, Scripture shows how God supernaturally ordered circumstances to provide financial needs to those serving Him (Matt. 17:27). However, just because people are Christians doesn't mean that they are automatically walking in a kingdom economy; if we want to walk in God's blessing, we are required to walk in the ways of His Kingdom economy.
The following are 14 contrasts between a kingdom view of finances and a worldly view of finances:
1. In the kingdom, we release and receive. In the world, we hoard and accumulate.
If we understand the nature of God, we realize how generous He is! This knowledge of God comes when we study the Scriptures, which reorients our thinking so that we have a Hebraic worldview when reading the bible. That being said, it is God's nature to bless people back when they give to Him. (This can come in many ways, not just in terms of finances.)
This is why the Apostle Paul said that when the Philippian church gave to His apostolic work, he described it as "giving and receiving," not just giving (Phil. 4:15). Also, we see how God blessed the poverty-stricken widow who fed Elijah (1 Kings 17). Jesus reiterated God's generosity when He said that if we give, it shall be given back to us (Luke 6:38). Proverbs teaches us that whoever waters will be watered in return, and the person who scatters will increase all the more (Prov. 11:24-26). Conversely, the worldly mindset has no objective other than self-fulfillment, which results in people hoarding and accumulating wealth for themselves. Jesus called such people fools (Luke 12:13-21). Instead of hoarding for oneself, Jesus taught us to seek our treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20).
2. In the kingdom, we hear from God regarding finances. In the world, we do what we want with our finances.
In 1 Kings 17, the poor widow recognized the voice of God through Elijah the prophet, when he told her to give him her last meal. This did not make sense in the natural; however, because she obeyed the Lord, she never again ran out of food for her family. In the worldly mindset, we do not attempt to hear from God regarding our finances but operate totally in a natural mindset that benefits our interests alone.
3. In the kingdom, we honor God with the first of our increase. In the world, we honor ourselves first with our money.
In Scripture, we see how God equates honoring Him through giving Him the firstfruits or the first 10 percent of our financial increase (Prov. 3:9-10). In the worldly mindset, the priority we have is to put our own needs first in everything we do (Phil 3:18-19).
4. In the kingdom, we trust God to order our financial circumstances. In the world, we position ourselves to order our circumstances.
In Luke 6:38, Jesus said that when we give, "men will give to us," which means that God will order the circumstances of our life involving the people we meet to ensure that He blesses us back through them. With the worldly mindset, it's all about depending upon our ability to position ourselves with others for financial gain.
5. In the kingdom, we walk in divine favor. In the world, we carry favor.
Since the Lord owns a cattle on a thousand hills and the whole earth is His (Ps. 50, 24), then tapping into His favor releases all the resources we would ever need in this world. With a worldly mindset, it's all about winning friends and influencing people to satisfy our own financial agenda.
6. In the kingdom, we utilize our wealth. In the world, we accumulate our wealth.
Jesus made it clear that God expects us to utilize our finances in His parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-29). God expects everything He has given us to be invested properly, so that He can multiply it for the advancement of His Kingdom. With a worldly mindset, even when our finances are invested to multiply, it is primarily to accumulate more finances for our own interests.
7. In the kingdom, we operate in faith. In the world, we react out of fear.
God allows financial mountains to challenge us so that we can learn to move them by faith (Mark 11:23). Christ followers are called to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Those with a worldly mindset usually react to challenging circumstances in fear, which causes them to respond in ways that usually do not honor God. Scripture says that there is no fear in love, so the person who operates in fear cannot at the same time walk in faith (1 John 4:18).
8. In the kingdom, God multiplies what we have. In the world, we leverage what we have.
Jesus demonstrated that God requires we surrender to Him the little we have first before He can bless it and multiply it (Matt. 14:21). In the worldly mindset, we are taught to depend on our ability to leverage our finances, manipulate people and control circumstances, so that we can experience an increase.
9. In the kingdom, we are problem solvers. In the world, we are complainers.
The Word of God teaches us that sound wisdom, discretion, prudence, understanding and power resides with God, which can result in financial increase and influence (Prov. 8:12-18). Wisdom is developed when we use our knowledge to solve problems. The greater the problem we solve, the more influence and wealth we can access. Being a problem solver is a key to walking in God's kingdom economy; those with a worldly mindset are taught to worry, fear and complain about their challenges, which keeps them greatly limited the rest of their lives.
10. In the kingdom, our source is God. In the world, our source is man.
Paul said in Philippians 4:19 that our God provides all of our needs according to His riches in glory. Jeremiah 17 teaches us that the person whose trust is in the Lord will prosper even during a famine. On the contrary, those with a worldly mindset only have faith when their natural means of financial support is flowing; if that natural flow is ever stopped, they get discouraged and fall into fear. This illustrates that their faith was never initially in God.
11. In the kingdom, we are content. In the world, we are ever striving for more.
In the kingdom, we learn that contentment has nothing to do with how much money or possessions we have; we have learned to be content when we have much or when we suffer with little (Phil. 4:11-12). In the world, the more we have, the more we crave. We are never satisfied with possessions because only God can fill the longing of our soul (Luke 12:15).
12. In the kingdom, we are stewards of His wealth. In the world, we represent our own interests.
In the kingdom, we function as "God's treasurers" and His stewards (Phil. 3:7-8; 1 Cor. 4:1-2). Nothing we have is our own. God has only lent us our talents, gifts, abilities and possessions so that we can promote His will on the earth. Those with a worldly mindset believe that they represent only themselves and that they have a right to use their finances anyway they desire.
13. In the kingdom, wealth is primarily to confirm His covenant. In the world, wealth is focused on satisfying one's own objectives.
God told Moses that He has given us power to create wealth so that we can confirm His covenant on the earth (Deut. 8:18). Although God blesses some people with nice cars, homes and other amenities, the primary reason for wealth is to spread His word on the earth. Of course, those with a worldly mindset believe that they earned the right to use their wealth any way they desire (within legal means).
14. In the kingdom, wealth is always cooperating. In the world, wealth is individualistic.
Finally, those with a kingdom mindset know that wealth and finances are all about seeking first His kingdom (Matt. 6:33). Since the kingdom of God is primarily represented on the earth through His church, we are called to support the ministry of Christ in His Body. This should cause Christ followers to function and flow financially in a way that prioritizes the financial support of their local congregation. God's plan A, B and C is the local church! All influence in the marketplace should emanate out of the matrix of a (New Testament) church. Those with a worldly mindset think only in terms of financing their individual vocation and calling; however, it is impossible for an individual believer to function apart from His Body, as we see in the epistles of Paul (1 Cor. 12).
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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