In discussing the difference between biblical finances and personal finances I mentioned, “Our means of attaining money may differ. Christians have limits of what they will or will not do for money. Boundaries must be in place to ensure one does not compromise their values just to gain a little more. Such boundaries protect virtues such as honesty or integrity. These characteristics are of immense value and should never be sold for financial advantage.”
“ ‘I will surely strike my hands together at the unjust gain you have made and at the blood you have shed in your midst. (Ezekiel 22:13 NIV)
There is a way of earning that is just, and a way of earning that is unjust.
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What boundaries does God put in place that limit our options for earning?
- What we earn cannot be at the expense of others. On the contrary, what we earn must be a blessing to others.
- What we earn cannot come by means of theft, extortion, or other forms of unjust gain.
- What we earn must come as the result of honest labor.
You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:11-12 NIV)
“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, “ ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on?’ (Habakkuk 2:6 NIV)
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV)
Why does God limit our options for earning?
Everything we do as Christians is a testimony – a witness. If we place earning above compassion we have communicated that getting money is more important than serving people. If this is the case, our God has been replaced by mammon.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
The Golden Rule Solution:
Our work ought to embody the Golden Rule. First, what we do must be an outward expression of our love for God. Second, whatever we do to earn, we should be happy if one were to earn money from us in a similar manner.
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)