What did Jesus say about money? Well, he said quite a bit. Many have pointed out that Jesus said more about money than he did about heaven. In the abundance of Jesus’ teaching on money, at least four truths become clear.
1. Money is temporary.
Jesus said “…make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33-34).
Possessions on earth will grow old and can be destroyed, stolen, or exhausted. It is foolish to treasure possessions and money as if they are not temporary. In contrast, heavenly treasure that God gives (“the kingdom” in verse 32) will never be destroyed. Examine your hearts, Jesus tells us, to see if we are treasuring what is temporary, or what is eternal; if we are placing our hope in possessions that can be used up, or inexhaustible heavenly treasure.
2. Money is God’s good gift, and we are His stewards.
Do you remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30? Jesus told the story of a master who entrusted servants with his money. Two of the servants used the money, their time, and energy to produce more money. When the master returned, the fruit of their work was praised. However, the third servant buried his money in the dirt and was condemned by his master. The faithful servants are invited to “share [the] master’s joy” (v. 23), but the third servant is called “evil” and “lazy” (v. 26).
Jesus is teaching about stewardship. What we have—including our money—has been given to us by God. Our finances are a gift to be stewarded as God’s possessions entrusted to us. We are responsible then, to handle wisely the money we have for His purposes. Stewarding God’s gifts in this way is blessed with joy, whereas improper stewardship betrays a heart not in line with the will of God. The money is God’s. The stewardship is ours.
3. Money needs to be put in its proper place.
“No one can serve two masters,” Jesus says, “since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
You can only have one master in your life—either it is the Triune God, or it is not. Jesus uses money as an example because it is one of those realities in life that tends to entice adoration from our hearts in the place of God. Jesus’ teaching on this goes further to say that it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23-24) This is because wealth and riches can uniquely tempt one away from a life of faith. This happens when money is improperly put in the place of God in our lives. God is the master to be served, money is the gift from the master.
4. Money does not lead to ultimate fulfillment.
He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Jesus teaches us to look for ultimate fulfillment, not in our possessions, but in God. The sin of greed makes the mistake that money will bring ultimate satisfaction. But abundance of money does not equate to abundance in life. Only God can provide that.
It is commonly said that Jesus taught more about money than he did about heaven. This may be true, but his teaching about money always has heaven in view. Money is temporary, unlike heavenly treasure. Money is not to be worshiped, that is reserved for God in heaven. We steward our money as entrusted to us from heaven. Ultimately, eternal life with Christ in his heavenly kingdom promises us happiness that money can never provide.