Using Temporal Wealth for Eternal Gain
Following the Wisdom of God
It’s often said that our calendars and checkbooks (or, these days, our mobile banking records) reveal our true priorities. We may say we’re seeking God’s kingdom first, but do our daily rhythms—including how we spend our time and money—back up our claim?
As we search Scripture, we find that we are accountable to our Creator for the things He has entrusted to us. Everything we own really belongs to God, and He gives us the resources we have (whether we consider it to be little or much) to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19). He also desires for us to use what He has given us to invest in that which will last, rather than using it for personal benefit alone.
The first-century apostles understood this stewardship mindset. They did not invest in things of this world, but rather in proclaiming the gospel. You and I enjoy great gain as a result of their focus on eternal things, and we are called to continue that purpose and leverage our own wealth for the benefit of others to the glory of God.
Leverage in the News
The Metaphor of a Lever
A lever is a simple machine that increases efficiency by amplifying a small force and turning it into a much larger one, opening up a realm of mechanical possibilities. As the Greek mathematician Archimedes famously said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”
While Archimedes’s scope focused solely on the material and the finite, Leverage: Using Temporal Wealth for Eternal Gain (Kenneth Boa and Russ Crosson, Trinity House Publishers, 2022) applies the principle of leverage to matters of infinite importance.
Praise for Leverage: Using Temporal Wealth for Eternal Gain
Two Kinds of Wisdom
For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:7–10)
Earthly wisdom peddles a false sense of control and security, consistently encouraging us to accumulate for ourselves the seven Ps of idolatry: possessions, pleasure, prestige, popularity, promotion, power, and performance. When these temporal things pass away, they will not leave us with any eternal gain. To pursue them is folly.
Following the wisdom of God, on the other hand, requires training and discipline. As we spend time in Scripture and come to know and love God more, the wisdom of the world will have less of a hold on us. Instead of seeking control by hoarding material wealth on earth, we can relinquish our attempt at autonomy and recognize that we are stewards of what God has given us.
Living with the end in mind is the key to stewarding God’s gifts well and leveraging them for His kingdom.
Giving with a Warm HandWe can choose to give with a warm hand (while we’re still living) or a cold hand (after we’re gone from this earth)—sometimes known as current versus deferred giving. Current giving both helps break the power of money in our lives and gives us much more control over where it goes. For example, we may make a provision in our will to give a generous amount of our assets to a Christian ministry that is biblically faithful today. But what if that organization undergoes “mission drift” after we die? Would our money have been better released during our lifetime—perhaps even helping to prevent that ministry from straying from its roots? We have to think not only in terms of financial capital but also in terms of spiritual capital.
Many of us err on the side of hoarding (we might prefer to call it “investing for the future”) rather than giving generously in the present, but the Bible—from the Proverbs of the Old Testament to the parables and teachings of Jesus—would recommend otherwise. Reasons we fail to give now out of a genuinely generous and sacrificial heart include fear, limited liquid assets (which can make giving more complex to do), a deficient understanding of why God commands us to give, failure to have a giving plan, and not understanding the benefits of current giving. (In Leverage, we cover each of these reasons more thoroughly.)
An Invitation to Follow Biblical Wisdom
Financial prosperity, while lauded by the world, lends itself to earthly-mindedness if we are not careful, particularly when we treat our wealth with a sense of entitlement rather than recognizing that God entrusted it to us. Because material wealth will not survive beyond this earthly life, biblical wisdom invites us to grasp our finiteness and spurs us to live with a pilgrim mindset, investing our resources in what is to come through our good works and generosity.
We live in a time of unprecedented prosperity, which easily tempts us toward self-indulgence or hoarding. We are also surrounded by poverty—the spiritual sort. The question is, will we take our cues from the culture or from the Bible when it comes to how we approach and use our wealth?
We pray you will follow the way of wisdom, embracing the biblical idea that a wise life is a generous life.
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