Scripture says that God uses money in three ways: a tool, a test, and a testimony.
When I was in my early 20s, I believed that the key to happiness and fulfillment was found in achievement and acquiring possessions. Before I was 33 years old, I had “made it” from the world’s perspective…new home, country club membership, new cars, nice vacations, beautiful wife, and a fast growing career. When I met Jesus Christ the year that I was 33, He began to show me that my entire viewpoint on the world was absolutely upside down and inside out. The contrast between His viewpoint and the world’s was most clear in the area of my finances. My heart had been captured by what it could see. I was engaged in an endless pursuit of fulfillment through money that would never deliver that fulfillment. God began to show me the amazing, satisfying joy of following Him and beginning to cultivate a Kingdom mindset. To this day, I am enamored with Jesus’ gospel and with the perspective that He offers on my money and my heart.
I believe that Scripture shows three ways that God uses money in our lives. He uses it as a tool, a test, and a testimony. I’m fond of saying that money issues are never really money issues–they are always symptomatic of heart issues. Through our interactions with money over the course of our lives, God shows us our heart and His heart, and He works to align the two.
You, as a young person, have an excellent opportunity! You are poised to see things differently and, therefore, to live differently. If you begin to understand that your money is used in your life as tool, test, or testimony, you will attach completely different values, priorities, and weights to your financial burdens, decisions, and blessings. Your life can look so different from the life of your peers, because you understand the place of money in your life from Jesus’ viewpoint.
To close, I’d like to encourage you to begin to pay attention to how the word “contentment” plays out in your life. Do you believe that you must have certain things to be “content?” Are you “learning to be content, whatever your circumstances?” (as Paul taught). Do you ask God to help you to practice contentment as a discipline, so that you are free from money’s tight grip?
My heartfelt prayer for you is that you would know Jesus even more through the financial ups and downs that your life will surely hold.