Turn on your TV, scroll through your social media feed, open a magazine or drive along a street and you are virtually guaranteed to at least see one advertisement, if not, be bombarded by them. You might have even noticed that if you look for something on your computer youâ€™ll soon find advertisements for the very same type of products popping up on your phone or tablet device! (How do they know?)
This is the world we live in. Itâ€™s a world of consumption. We are bombarded by the perceived need to have the latest phone, car or fashion label.
What the world is really trying to get us to do is spend our money. The whole message of this world of advertising is that money is almost like food â€“ it has one purpose and one purpose only. Consumption.
The Bible paints a very different picture of money. In fact it paints the completely opposite picture. Rather than money being seen as this inanimate, one-purpose-only aspect of our lives, the Bible shows us that money is in fact dynamic, active and powerful. It has the ability to shape our thinking and our hearts.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6 the Apostle Paul says these well-known words:
â€œNow he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousnessâ€ (NIV)
The whole context of this particular part of the Bible is financial giving and generosity and it seems that what Paul is saying is that God supplies both seed (money) and bread (for our daily needs). So we can trust that our needs will always be met:
â€œAnd my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesusâ€ (Philippians 4:19 NIV)
So we know that God is going to provide for our needs, and that may be in the form of money or in other ways, and he is going to give us seed.
But seed and bread are completely different.
Bread can be eaten immediately, has a limited shelf life (weâ€™ve all hadÂ those moments looking in the kitchen cupboard!) and has limited uses.
Seed on the other hand is completely different. Wheat seeds have a much longer shelf life and can be used for more than one thing. We could grind wheat down into flour and, through a process of baking, create, you guessed itâ€¦ bread. Or that seed could be sown into the ground to produce even more seed.
So the question really comes down to how we see money. Do we see money as something to be consumed or something to be sown? Is money something to be ingested or could it also be invested?
You see the real goal of God providing us with seed or money isnâ€™t simply for us to have a nice lifestyle, drive a nice car, have four holidays a year and live in a nice big house. And by the way there is nothing wrong with any of those things in and of themselves. But if these things become our only goal and focus we have missed the point.
The real goal is, as 2 Corinthians 9:6 teaches us, to â€œenlarge the harvest of your righteousnessâ€. When we see money in the right way through generous eyes, as seed to be sown, and we do sow that seed, into good causes, that seed produces even more seed which becomes â€œthe harvest of your righteousnessâ€.
When we invest money into those helping refugees, charities reaching out to drug addicts or churches and other organisations telling people about Godâ€™s love, we are not consuming money in the same way that money is consumed in buying a new phone. Quite the opposite. We are investing. We are planting seed that will produce an eternal harvest.
So how will we view money from this point on? Is money just bread to be eaten or seed that can make a real, eternal difference?