Over and over, Jesus called people to “follow [Him].” But it wasn’t just a request for them to walk behind Him and go where He went. He wanted them to think how He thought, love what He loved, and act as He acted. It was a call to be His disciple.
A Financial Disciple is someone who learns and applies what the Bible teaches about money and possessions, and it’s an essential part of following Jesus. In John 8:31, Jesus puts it this way: “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples.” (AMP)
Financial Discipleship is built on five foundational pillars. Each one challenges us to see the world how Jesus did and to follow Him, rather than the many other influences that compete for our attention.
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The Bible is clear that God is the sole owner of everything. “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains” (Psalm 24:1). Scripture even reveals specific items God owns. Leviticus 25:23 identifies Him as owner of all the land, “The land… shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine.” Haggai 2:8 reveals that, “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” And in Psalm 50:10, the Lord tells us, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”
The Lord is the Creator of all things, and He has never transferred the ownership of His creation to people. In Colossians 1:17 we are told that, “In Him all things hold together.” At this very moment the Lord literally holds everything together by His power. Accepting God’s ownership is essential to allowing Jesus Christ to become the Lord of our money and possessions.
Once we recognize God’s ownership of “our” money and possessions, we must surrender them to Him through our actions. In Luke 14:33, Jesus says, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Scripture’s most vivid example of this is when the Lord told Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac… and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). When Abraham obeyed, demonstrating his willingness to give up his most prized possession, God provided a substitute ram for the offering, and Isaac was not harmed.
When, instead of asking ourselves, “What should I do with my money,” we ask God, “Lord, what do you want me to do with YOUR money,” spending and saving decisions become the spiritual decision God intends, and our money has a greater Kingdom impact.
On our Financial Discipleship Journey, we will have the opportunity to make a lot of choices as it relates to money and possessions. But there’s one choice that is the biggest and most important of them all, the choice to serve God over money?
Jesus laid it out pretty directly in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Will we worship the Creator or the created? Will we invest in God’s economy or the world’s? Will our reward be eternal or temporary? We get to choose, but we HAVE TO choose. If we choose God, we must choose Him every day, and with every financial decision we make.
As disciples of Jesus, we are clearly, and repeatedly, instructed to multiply. Whether with money, time, talents, knowledge, or anything else God has given us, we are expected to use it to grow God’s Kingdom.
In John 1:41, we read that the first thing Andrew did after meeting Jesus was tell his brother Simon.
The Parable of the Minas in Luke 19:11-27 teaches us that when the Master entrusts us with something, He expects it returned with growth.
The Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 teaches us that only seed which results in exponential growth is healthy.
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 cites Jesus’ final instruction before ascending to Heaven, “Go and make disciples… teaching them to obey all that I have commanded.”
Each step we take on our Financial Discipleship Journey should include multiplying what we’ve learned to grow God’s Kingdom for His glory.
As Financial Disciples, we must always stay focused on the eternal outcomes of our choices, not the temporary ones this world tries to distract us with.
Matthew 6:19-20 tells us not to put our hope in treasures on earth, “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,” but to store up treasures in heaven where they are safe forever. It then gives us valuable insight into human nature in verse 21 by saying, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The location of our treasure is going to be a big factor in where our heart goes, and if we continually keep our focus on treasures in heaven, our heart will follow (even when our brain may not want to).
Eternal Focus is also essential in applying the other 4 Pillars of Financial Discipleship. When we look at our money, time, talents, knowledge, and everything else God entrusts us with from a Kingdom-Perspective, we can create Kingdom-Impact with eternal rewards!
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In John 13:35, Jesus says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
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