Getting our priorities in order is integral to living successful lives. This requires putting God first and worshipping Him over everything else; when we do this, things fall into place. What many Christians may let slip, however, is that “everything else” even includes their money. Allowing God full access to everything, except for our finances, falls short of truly living a life of worship.
God’s Word covers all aspects of how to prosper and succeed on every level—even what appears trivial and inconsequential to us. It’s important not to forget the basics; sometimes what seems unimportant at the time is the key to either success or failure. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1). Money is something the world attaches great importance to, but in God’s eyes, it’s simply a tool to be used to help others and advance His kingdom.
A life of worship involves keeping a proper perspective on money and avoiding the world’s mindset toward it. We can learn some valuable lessons from studying how King David, a powerful leader who was immensely wealthy and unequalled on the battlefield, worshipped God with his money. When it was time to build the temple of the Lord, David spared no expense. The gold, silver, and precious jewels that went into building the temple were an act of worship for him (1 Chronicles 29:2-20).
It's okay to have money, as long as our motivation behind how we manage it is pure; our motives are important to God. During Jesus’ ministry, the mother of Zebedee’s children pretended to worship Him, but she had ulterior motives. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom” (Matthew 20:20, 21). We must worship God for who He is, not for anything we can get from Him. This also applies to the motives behind how we handle our financial resources.
While teaching and preaching, Jesus came into constant contact with the Pharisees, who loved money and were more motivated by it than by tending to others’ welfare. He knew the intentions of their hearts, and often had words with them. Jesus warned the people to avoid greed and the temptation to hoard money, which spring from impure motives. “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). The Pharisees greatly disliked Jesus, but couldn’t refute what He said because it was the truth.
Money used for the purpose of worshipping and praising God demonstrates the right motivation; money used for self-serving gain at others’ expense demonstrates the wrong motivation. Jesus knew that money has the potential to exert an influence powerful enough to cause people to worship it instead of Him. He therefore had strong words for the merchants and moneychangers He drove out of the temple (Matthew 21:12, 13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45, 46; John 2:13-16).
Genuine worship focuses not just on singing or praying, but also how we spend our money. Pure motives allow God to bless us financially the way He wants to; impure motives block those blessings. A biblical perspective of how wealth fits into God’s kingdom makes us more effective Christians.