“If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendour, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.”
Job was a man who was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1).
When life’s tragedies began to hit him from all sides, his friends suggested to him that God was punishing him for his sin.
In Job 31, we see Job’s defence to these accusations and get a glimpse into the key character traits of a God-honouring life. There are the obvious ones like putting God first in worship, sexual purity, integrity, and honesty. But with Job’s response we are also challenged with the practical, tangible actions that must be evident in a believer’s life.
• Using our money and possessions as a way to bless others
• Treating people with dignity and integrity
• Living generously towards the needy
• Offering hospitality
• Caring for God’s creation
• Responding to the needs of the fatherless and widow
• Administering justice
There is so much in this chapter that inspires us to put God and others before our own natural desires and wants. It is obvious from Job’s tone that at the core of his resolve to live uprightly is a deep reverence for God. May this encourage our own determination to live in a God honouring way no matter what life throws at us.
SCRIPTURE TO REFLECT ON: JOB 31
1. Read Job 31 and ask the Spirit of God to highlight a specific area where you need to be more intentional in your actions.
2. Ask yourself: Do my acts of charity and my commitment to right actions stem from a deep reverence for God or from a selfish desire for blessing or recognition?
Joanne Beach serves the C&MA in Canada as the Director of Alliance Justice and Compassion.
Thanks for this good reflection.
I’ve been thinking about money recently. I’ve been moved that justice and compassion is not just about “Using our money” to bless and care, but it also involves the question: “Where did we make our money?” Did we make our money through unscrupulous means? Did we get ahead by exploiting others?
One place this really hits home is with respect to our investments. Do we know where our investments are located? This can be difficult to ascertain in todays investment world. We look at our investments and it simply says we’re invested in a “global equity fund”, or something like that. But what if that fund contains corporations that are exploiting people/creation? In effect, what this means is that we are profiting off the backs of others. That our retirements/children’s educations are being funded through another persons destruction.
It’s occurred to me that often I’d rather plead ignorance with these matters; that it’s just too hard to know. But I don’t think Jesus will allow that. Acting justly with my money must mean that I need to think well, and act well. It means that I need to do research and invest wisely (at least to the best of my ability). At the end of the day, if I gain, even “unknowingly,” off the oppression of others, what will this really have gained me?
I think underneath this is what we use to call the “sins of omission;” The evil we commit unwittingly. Justice with our money means we need to look into these hidden areas. Examining all our actions in the light of Jesus.
Thank-you Andy for prompting us to think about our finances from a new perspective; to look through the lens of Christ as we examine all aspects of financial stewardship.