Do You Handle Money, or Does Money Handle You?

Do You Handle Money or Does Money Handle You a blog post by Resources for Christ Foundation

Proverbs 30: 7-9 says “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”

Notice here three possibilities that the writer, under Holy Spirit inspiration, is pondering regarding his financial state.

Possibility #1: Poverty. Here the writer, Agur, is asking that his financial state not be one of poverty. He gives the reason: “lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” In a state of poverty, Agur would be in a position for money to handle him instead of him handling his money. His lack of wise stewardship would cause him to dishonor the Lord, perhaps even to the extent of breaking two of the 10 commandments. He is afraid that poverty would lead him to steal and to take God’s name in vain: two things God has expressly commanded not to do.

How about us? If we have a surplus of month at the end of our money, does that lead us to disobey God by worrying, being short with our family members, not paying our bills, or not helping someone in need? If so, money is our master and we need to actively seek to handle our money wisely so that it doesn’t handle us.

Possibility #2: Riches. Here, Agur ponders what might happen if the opposite were true. If he were rich, he is afraid he would be full, deny the Lord, and say “Who is the Lord?” In this case, money would become Agur’s idol…. what he trusts in to the exclusion of God and His provision.

What about us? If we were rich, would we be tempted to rely on our self-sufficiency and forget that the Lord, He is God? Would our money handle us if we were rich, or would we handle our money? Would we be wise stewards, “not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,” but “ready to distribute?” ( 1 Timothy 6:17-18).

Possibility #3: Feed me with food convenient for me. This financial state is the perfect balance. Agur is handling his money instead of his money handling him. He has enough financial means to support his service for God without materialism becoming an idol. Remember, money is simply a tool.

Suppose for a moment that our service for God is to build a house. Suppose that money is a saw for this job. (Of course, there are many other tools needed besides money, including prayer, witnessing, evangelism, etc., just as there are many tools used besides just a saw in house building.) But if this particular “money saw” is to effectively help us build the “house of service for God,” it needs to be sharp. If the saw is of “poor” quality, rusty and missing teeth, our house for God will take longer to build, it will have more flaws, and the work will be less fulfilling. On the other hand, if we have a “rich” saw, so beautiful and expensive that we get so distracted by it’s worth, we may never even start building the house at all because we think, “ Why build a house when I have this beautiful saw here to polish and clean and admire?”

The amount of poverty or riches one person can handle may differ from another. For example, Abraham and Job did very well as rich people; the amount of money they were able to handle was greater than Lot or Hezekiah. Money was an idol for Ananias and Sapphira; it was a tool for Barnabas. Ask God to show you how much money you can handle without it handling you, and then strive to reach that perfect balance so you can serve God to the fullest.

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