Spending that Glorifies God
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The context of this passage specifically refers to our duty as Christians to avoid offending our brother, a practice that glorifies God. But in the latter part of this verse, Paul widens his focus, admonishing the Corinthians (and us) to glorify God in all that we do. This includes the way we spend our money.
There is a notion that needs to be dispelled. The sentiment goes something like: “I will give God some of my money, and the rest is mine to do with as I please.” Now, we may not say it out loud exactly like that, but that attitude very well could be evident in our behavior. The fatal flaw in this way of thinking lies in the false premise that our money is actually ours to begin with. Psalm 89:11 says, “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.” James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” The truth is, it all belongs to God. Everything we have is God’s, and we are simply temporary stewards of it. Being such, we are charged to spend all of it in a way that gives God the glory.
The concept is illustrated well in the book of Ezekiel. God speaking through Ezekiel to Jerusalem in chapter 16:10-13 says, “I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring in your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil.” God tells here how richly He had blessed the city of Jerusalem. It wasn’t of their own doing; these things were gifts from God. We in the United States have been blessed just as richly. The passage continues, and we find that Jerusalem did not use the gifts she had been given to God’s glory. Verses 15-19 say, “But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be. You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord God.” God here says that these Jews had taken His gold and silver, His oil and incense, His bread and used them improperly. Because of this, they were to be judged. Chapter 16, verse 39 says, “And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your vaulted camber and break down your lofty places. They shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful jewels and leave you naked and bare.”
And the fact is, we in this nation have been richly blessed, perhaps even more so than these Jews. Generally speaking, we don’t have to worry about necessities. We all have shelter, food, drink, and clothing to wear. And in most cases, we have abundance. We have jewelry, electronics, cars, balls, bats, golf clubs, and bikes. The Lord has given us more than we need. And so the question remains. Will we glorify God with all that we have, or will we dishonor him? Will we use God’s money to buy alcohol or drugs that impedes our judgement? Will we buy clothing that is indecent and create a stumbling block for others? Will we buy an expensive home only to hoard it, never sharing it with others? Will we use our electronics to access pornography? Will we spend money on movies full of bad language and nudity? Will we spend money in an attempt to satisfy our greed, filling our house with things, yet leaving good things undone, such as helping the needy?
The way we perceive spending money changes when we realize that it’s not our money we’re spending, it’s God’s. May our clothing be used to show to others that we are different, our homes be used not only for shelter but for being hospitable. May our electronics be used to study God’s word, to learn more about Him. May we spend money on entertainment that has a wholesome and pure message. May we find opportunities to give to those in need and to support those preaching the gospel. May all that we have and all that we spend be used to glorify God!
- Bret Cox