Many are surprised to read the Gospels and see all that Jesus said about money and finances. The truth is that almost half of the parables of Jesus refer to financial issues and teach something about the responsible management of our finances.
There is a link between a healthy spiritual life and the good use of what we have. The more we listen and obey God, the wiser the use we make of what he provides us.
2 Parables of Jesus with teachings about money
Let’s look at two of the parables of Jesus and learn some helpful principles for managing our finances.
1. Parable of the rich fool
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
.– Luke 12:13-21
What it teaches us about money
Below is what the parable of Jesus about the rich fool teaches about money.
1. We must guard against all greed
The problem was not that the man asked that his brother share the inheritance with him, that request was valid. But Jesus detected that the man had a greed problem. A greedy person is never satisfied with what he has. His raison d’être is to have more and better things. He does not think about the needs of others nor does he see the importance of helping others. Apparently, the man in the parable already had enough, but he longed to accumulate more wealth.
The children of God should not be like that. He does not provide for us to hoard but to follow his example of generosity by sharing with others. Whether we have a lot or a little, there is always something we can help with. Jesus was blunt: we must abstain from all covetousness (v.15). He does not want us to live for our possessions but to use what we have wisely and with the firm purpose of bringing his love and presence to those around us.
2. Our value is not found in what we own
Our value is not and will never be based on the things we have. We are valuable because of who we are in Christ, thanks to God’s mercy and goodness. We have all been created in his image and likeness for specific purposes (Genesis 1:26-27). By keeping our eyes on him and his will we focus on what is truly valuable and important.
God has prepared good works that he wants us to do to bless others and thus bring them closer to him (Ephesians 2:10). With our lives and with our resources, we can bring joy and provision to other people. What will bring us true joy and satisfaction in life will be obedience to the Father, doing what pleases him.
3. It is foolish to focus on accumulating material goods
The reality is that we are mortal beings and we can die at any time. Why strive to accumulate wealth today to enjoy in the future if we don’t even know if we will be alive in the next minute? Just like Jesus said, that’s nonsense! It is foolish to save and save without taking time to ask God what he wants us to do with the things he himself provides us.
Jesus does not mention the age of the man in the parable, but it seems that he had been working the land for years. He was happy to see a great harvest! But instead of thanking God or finding a way to share his abundance with others, he focused on himself. He already had more than enough and could have thought of others. But he decided to keep it all and build bigger barns. Sadly, it is clear that he would not enjoy those earnings since God warned him that he would die that same night.
Let’s learn from this parable, let’s not dedicate ourselves to accumulating. Rather, let us thank God for his faithful provision and seek his guidance on how to use the resources he gives us. That is the basis of good financial management.
4. We must be rich before God
True wealth is having God in your heart and loving him with all of your beings. The material does not have anything bad in itself because when God provides, he has a purpose in mind. What is wrong is ignoring what God wants us to do with what he gives us, clinging to riches, and making them our idols. We must not become attached to the material without considering that the eternal, which will remain forever, is the spiritual.
Let us take care of our souls, let us fill our lives with the presence of God, and seek to glorify him in everything. Let’s use the resources he gives us to extend his Kingdom of him. Our earthly life will end, but our souls will live with God or die without him for eternity. The decision must be made while we are here on earth. Let’s invest in what really counts.
2. Parable of Treasures in heaven
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
— Matthew 6:19-21
What it teaches us about money
See what the parable of Jesus about the treasures in heaven teaches about money.
1. The earthly is fleeting
We can lose the material at any time. There are so many things that can happen! An earthquake, floods, the collapse of the world economy… We have no real control over what could snatch our possessions without warning. As much as we take care of or protect our clothes, our homes, and everything we have, over time they will be damaged or their value will depreciate.
Great will be our disappointment if we put our hope in the earthly! Everything we see with our physical eyes is ephemeral, fleeting. Why try so hard to accumulate earthly things? It is wiser to use and invest our resources in what will really last: the spiritual.
2. The heavenly will remain
The treasures that we accumulate in heaven are the ones that will remain for eternity. How do we accumulate those treasures? First, with contentment. Our hearts need to be at peace with God’s provision and direction, to be happy and satisfied with his will in every area of life. A happy heart praises and thanks God in the midst of any circumstance.
Next, we must be very wise in using everything that God gives us. Our main motivation should be to spread his Kingdom and his love around us. We do this, for example, when we feed the hungry or when we buy uniforms or books to help children who might not otherwise have enough to go to school.
Everything we do with love in the name of Jesus brings eternal spiritual benefit to our lives, and to our environment and contributes to the extension of his Kingdom. We need to experience a change in perspective, to see the eternal potential of our financial resources. That is why we must fix our eyes on Jesus and allow him to guide us in his will.
3. We must choose
Each one needs to choose who or what will occupy the throne of their heart to give their allegiance. If we consider wealth as our greatest treasure, our greatest efforts in life will be dedicated to having more things and enjoying them to the fullest. On the other hand, if we value our relationship with God more and seek to have treasures in heaven, our strength and resources will be devoted to doing everything that brings us closer to God, his will, and his purposes.
It is not wrong to have possessions, but we should not put our hope in them. The throne of our hearts must be occupied only by God, our desire must be to do his will in everything, using everything we have for his glory. The Bible does not prohibit wealth, but it does give specific instructions to those who have it.
To the rich of this world, command them not to be arrogant or put their hope in riches, which are so insecure, but in God, who provides us with everything in abundance for us to enjoy.
— 1 Timothy 6:17
Our hope must be placed only in Jesus, our Lord, and Savior. Let us thank God every day for his provision and use all that he provides us to honor and glorify him.