Finding the Middle Ground With Your Money
The Bible says a lot about money. Wether it is proverbs about wealth, stories of rich kings, parables from Jesus, or warnings against greed, the Word of God has a lot to say on this matter. Personally, I have wrestled with how to think about money for several years. I grew up hearing mostly prosperity theology (not in it’s most extreme forms, though) and later in life heard others going to the other extreme with poverty theology. I have desired to embrace life in the middle somewhere, but finding exactly how to get there has been difficult. What is the middle ground when it comes to money, and how do you define it?
This is especially hard as a Western person. Am I supposed to be in the middle ground by Western comparisons, or by global comparisons? In the West, a middle ground person might make something like $30,000 to $50,000 a year, but on a global scale, that could be considered filthy rich.
On top of that, what constitutes middle ground for a pastor? As a man who makes my living from the gospel, should I err on the side of caution, or should I expect the “double-honour” rule of 1 Timothy 5:17 to mean I should make above-average money?
I know that the real issue when it comes to money is where my heart is at, not how much of it I make. Wether I am rich or poor, I still need to live in contentment and generosity. I need to worship God and not money. I get that, but it still hasn’t helped me find satisfactory answers to the questions above.
The other day I read a passage out of Proverbs, one that I have read before but has never really leaped off the page like it did for me this last time.
 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
These words seem to express what I have been feeling but unable to articulate for a while. My prayer is that I would not be in dire need, and therefore put in precarious positions to provide for myself and my family. But I also pray that I would not become so wealthy that I slip away from depending on God. I highly doubt that I will ever become a wealthy person by Western standards, but if I ever did, I believe I would give as much of the excess away as I could. I would try to live on what I need and be generous with the rest.
I don’t know where you are at, but this middle ground seems to be the right place for me, both in my mind and in my heart. I don’t want to be destitute, and I don’t want to be a hoarder either. I want to have what I need and be content with it. I will try, as best as I can, to take care of my needs and be a generous person as God blesses me over and above what I need. I know that this does not guarantee that I will handle my money properly, or that I won’t become less dependant on God, or that I won’t continue to covet things, but at the very least, I feel that it is a mindset that helps guard against those things.