Watch the video or read the lesson text … or both.
Matthew 22:35-40 Luke 10:29-37
This concludes our focus on stewardship. From this point forward, we will transition to a Bible study on money. In this lesson, we will briefly review a history of money to identify our stewardship. The lessons which follow will review these topics:
• Providing for the needs of your own family • Be careful with debt • Tithe • Love your neighbor as yourself • Where Scripture collides • Pay your taxes • Faith and financial planning
As we embark on this study together, we will be guided by the principles of Matthew 22:35-40 and Luke 10:29-37.
Much ink has been spilled on the topic of Biblical financial principles. If you are paying attention, you will notice that neither of these Bible lessons have anything to do with money. We have to start here because without these principles anything we may try to do with Biblically defining personal finance runs the risk of being taken out of context or misapplied.
Why do I start here? For an obvious reason – in Matthew 22:40, Jesus says that all of the law and prophets depend on the two greatest commandments. That is to say, anything the Bible says about money hangs on the commandment to love God and to love my neighbor. What does it look like to love God with our money? How do we fulfill our commandment to love our neighbor with our money?
That’s the purpose of this study!
What we cannot miss is the definition of our neighbor. Many people try to (and sometimes successfully) defraud their creditors, insurance company, and banks. These are faceless people in far away places, right? According to Jesus, we cannot get away with this interpretation.
In its rightful context, a Jew and Samaritan as depicted in Luke 10 hated each other. They refused to be seen together and would not do anything together. As far as the Jews were concerned, the Samaritans did not exist, and vice versa. Jesus is saying that even people we despise or think the least of are included in the definition of neighbor.
What kind of a difference would it make in our personal finance if we applied these two questions to everything we did?
• Does it love God? • Does it love my neighbor?
Then, we have to define love. Some usages of love do not count, such as, “I love a Hershey’s chocolate bar.” We use the word “love” carelessly and far out of its original context. Love simply defined means to seek the best for the other person. This is a definition borrowed from William Barclay in his commentary on Matthew. Barclay does not stop there because he adds, “…even when the other person seeks the worst for me.”
To love God and love our neighbor, we are seeking the best for them, even if and even when my neighbor seeks the worst for me.
This brings up an interesting question. What is the “best?” Best is hard to define, but it is not enabling. The best may look much differently from what we are often prone to do. Sometimes the best is costly, and sometimes it is hard.
As we continue in this Bible study on money, always keep the two greatest commandments in mind. We will use these to frame all of our discussion.