“Here’s a scary thought: What if God called you to give beyond your comfort level? Would you be afraid? Would you try to explain it away or dismiss it as impractical? And in the process, would you miss out on a harvest opportunity for which God had explicitly prospered you in the first place?” – Andy Stanley, Fields Of Gold. 

“Why do pastors talk about money at church?” 

It’s a question I’m asked every now and then when someone finds out I’m a pastor. If I made a list of subjects that I would prefer to preach on, money or giving would not be high on the list. Money sermons can be awkward for everyone involved, from the pastor to the people listening. Even if you’ve given, or heard, a biblically sound money sermon that earned you a few “well-dones” or “attaboys”, you’ve probably also sat through, or given one, to be kind, that was below average. In full disclosure, I have been the speaker and the listener for both.   

So why do pastors talk about money? Is it meant to make people feel uncomfortable or guilty? The answer is no. Does God need the money? Again, the answer is no. There are several answers to that question, but let me simply say this: pastor’s should preach on money because they are communicating God’s Word. The Bible has a lot to say about money. The Bible references money and possessions more than 2,350 times. That must mean God thinks it’s pretty important. And if He does, I do as well.    

As a pastor, I understand the perception people have when money is preached too often. And I understand the struggle to give faithfully in difficult times. But I speak on money, giving and generosity because where you spend your money will set the direction of your heart. Billy Graham said, “If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area of his life.”  

Let me give you another way of looking at it: We can do deep spiritual dives and debate what we believe about the Trinity, the sovereignty of God, or whether the end times perspective is “pre-tribulation,” or “post-tribulation.” Discussions on these topics are a wonderful and a worthwhile exercise, but they don’t often have a practical application. But, how I earn, spend, give, and save money – that’s a much clearer barometer of my core beliefs and how much I trust God. Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21)  Systematically breaking down the book of Hebrews and understanding all the richness of this book is great, but it does not measure up to the action of emulating Jesus’ commitment to feeding the hungry. Periodic messages on giving and generosity are intended to strengthen our faith as we place a greater reliance on God, helps us invest in the things of God and not in the things of this world because it loosens our grip on earthly possessions and reminds us to focus on things that offer true eternal results.   

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you believe how we handle our money is a indication of our theology? Why or why not?   
  2. Is the way we handle our finances an indication of our trust in God? Why or why not?