One day I asked a friend, who is very successful, what he wished he knew when he was twenty-five. His answer completely surprised me.
He said, “When I was twenty-five I wish I knew that my wealth did not belong to me, but belonged to God. I think until relatively recently I saw God being entitled to a small share of my wealth and struggled with the idea that it could be as much as ten percent. I saw most of it as mine, rather than it all being his and I am a steward of it on his behalf.”
This friend had believed in God for decades. He went to church. He read the Bible. He was a faithful husband and father. But the idea that his money could belong to God, that was a stretch.
A Stretch For Us All
I think this idea is a stretch for all of us. How could your money belong to God? You were the one who put in late nights and early mornings. You took risks and made sacrifices. You built the business. You earned it and you deserve it, right?
That’s what my friend thought at twenty-five. But the unexpected truth of the Bible is just the opposite of everything you and I normally think. Scripture says,
“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:17-18
I realize this truth is like a foreign language. You hear it, but it makes no sense. But God wants you to know that everything you have comes from God and everything you have belongs to God. God is the owner; you are a steward.
God’s Two Instructions
God’s two instructions in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 are to beware and to remember.
1) Beware lest you say in your heart. What do you say in your heart about money that you might not say out loud? Perhaps, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth”? Or, like my friend, do you say, “God is only entitled to a small percentage of my wealth”? Beware of what you say in your heart. It might not be the truth.
2) Remember the Lord your God. Remember that your life and your power to get wealth are both gifts from God. You are not a self-made man or woman. We are God-made men and women, gifted and blessed to be a blessing. Remember that.
Whether you are twenty-five years old or looking back at that age from a distance, you don’t have to wait years to learn these things. Today you can repent of what you say in your heart about money that’s not true and choose to live as if God is the owner and you are a steward.