God can be involved in our work and our work can be involved with God’s purposes. The work need not be explicitly religious, in fact, for some purposes of God it is best if it is not. We’ve previously looked at other ways to serve God through work and now I’m going to mention one final one.* A way to serve God through your work is:
To make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can.
This one might come as a bit of a surprise. It might even seem like the most unspiritual. Maybe some Christians have something against money. But most work involves the earning of money. Here’s a few qualifying ideas.
Money doesn’t seem very spiritual. It doesn’t seem like money is a very spiritual issue but guess what? It is. Jesus talked about money all the time. In fact it was one of his favourite illustrations. The Old Testament has lots to say about acquiring and sharing righteous wealth. The New Testament teaches radical generosity (the Old does too) and you can’t give to those in need without having something to give. Money is spiritual because our relationship to it can reveal much about how we relate to God, our neighbours, and our own idolatries.
Making money isn’t always a bad thing. The Bible doesn’t say money is the root of all evil. It says: the love of money is the root of all evil. In other words, its not the money but our relationship to it that can go wrong. Making money isn’t inherently wrong. Money is needed to provide for your family (a Scriptural command). Trying to make more money isn’t necessarily wrong either. To use a higher income to be able to give more to furthering the Gospel
Gospel ministry costs money. The fact is that ministry, of word or deed, takes money. Contributing funds for helping the poor or furthering the Gospel can be even be called fellowship in the NT.** When we do that we are serving God. Of course, we should not just turn into cheque writers; God calls us to more hands on service than that. But it is undeniable that giving of what we have is important. The more we have, the more we can give, hence why seeking to make more can serve God’s purposes.
Christians are really generous. We love to give. We’re cheerful givers – God loves us for it. We give because Christ has been so generous to us. There are many accounts of wealthy persons giving vast amounts out of their Christian convictions. It should probably be happening much more but nevertheless, it is service to God. Substantial gifts have launched great ministries here in my city. I’m sure it is the same in many places. Money can after all be used to serve God.
In short, making money in order to contribute it to Kingdom work can be a substantial way to serve God through work. This does not negate the many warnings about bad relationships to wealth in Scripture. Instead, it gives a follower of Christ new motivation to earn so that they may give. If a Christian is a business person, this way might be the primary way in which they find God’s purpose in their work.
* these way to serve God through work are briefly listed on page 22 of Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavour (the inspiration for these posts).
** the Greek word koinoneia can be translated as fellowship, contribution, or participation.