by Evan Keller
Is wealth a tool or a trap? Well, both. Before we can sharpen it into an effective tool to serve others, we have to ask God to free us from the ways that money entraps our hearts. No surprise: with God it always comes down to the heart. Does how we use wealth reveal worship of God or of self? Who’s at the center of our story? The answers expose our two biggest money problems: pride and idolatry. Those may be our most serious and stubbornly entrenched sins – like insidious garden weeds that seem to spring back as quickly as you pull them out. Pride and idolatry sneakily capture our hearts, replacing God as our go-to for security and fulfillment.
Pride intentionally forgets the source of all abundance. King David admits to God that “wealth and honor come from you” (1 Chronicles 29:12), And pride is only one of many pitfalls of the heart that come with wealth.
How can I guard my heart from its sinful tendencies? I’ve developed this list of reflection questions to help me do just that in the coming months and years. Please join me in using these to see where our hearts are at, discovering in what we are placing our trust and finding our joy.
33 Reflection Questions
Questions to reflect on regularly to direct my heart in God’s ways:
1. Am I possessive of what I have or eager to share it? Do I give away or loan out my most prized possessions?
2. Am I covetous of what I don’t have? (Exodus 20:17)
3. Am I content both in plenty or in want? (Philippians 4:11-13)
4. Do I seek God’s Kingdom first, or is my primary focus on money or the prestige it can bring (Matthew 6:33)?
5. Does God’s Kingdom so enthrall me that I hold possessions loosely (Matthew 13:44)?
6. Am I directing my heart towards God’s values by investing significant “treasure” in God’s priorities (Matthew 6:21)?
7. Do I leverage all I am and have (time, money, possessions, influence, relationships, business, creative energy) to advance God’s Kingdom?
8. Am I faithfully tithing?
9. Am I cheerfully and sacrificially giving?
10. Do I increase the percentage of my income that I give each year?
11. Do I look to God or money or work to provide for my needs and give me life (Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:19)?
12. In whom – God or Mammon – do I serve, trust, and hope (Matthew 6:24)?
13. Do I constantly depend on God? Or have I forgotten that I desperately need him every moment? See my prayer life for evidence of my answers!
14. Am I more focused on building God’s house or my own (Haggai 1:4)?
15. What does my mind dwell on most frequently? Do I “recognize that wealth is thus secondary to many things, including wisdom, but especially personal integrity, humility, and righteousness?” (Christopher Wright, The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament)
16. Is my enjoyment of the created things God has put in my stewardship part of my enjoyment of God, leading to generosity, gratitude and praise of His beauty, grace and goodness? Or am I focused on showing off “my” possessions to impress people with my success or good taste? Or worse, do I use material things to assert my superiority over those who have less?
17. Do I use affluence to distance myself from those who are bound by poverty, incarceration, racism, disability, disease, or mental illness? Or do I know these “neighbors” well enough to love them rightly? (Matthew 25:31-46)
18. Do I refrain from working one day each week as an expression of my dependence on God as my provider?
19. Is my giving wish list longer than my buying wish list?
20. Do I put a limit on how much I’ll spend on myself, no matter how large my income grows?
21. Am I hoarding resources or being generous enough that I’m forced to trust God rather than my “portfolio?”
22. Do I shop recreationally, impulsively, frivolously or therapeutically?
23. Do I overwork to make more money than I need, resulting in strained or shallow relationships?
24. Do I submit major financial decisions to the accountability of wise and godly advisors?
25. Am I using wealth to help others grow, such as buying books for friends or mentees, or helping students go to a conference or mission trip or college?
26. Instead of automatically buying something new, do I try to repurpose something I already have or borrow from a friend or neighbor?
27. Do I recycle and limit waste to care for Creation?
28. Do I have to have the newest gadget?
29. Am I living well within my means, avoiding all consumer debt?
30. Am I more of a creator or a consumer? Do I help others grow as co-creators with me, with others, and with God?
31. Do I acquire and use my possessions justly?
32. Am I anxious about losing what I have?
33. Do I “remember the source of my riches—namely the grace and gift of God himself—and are therefore not boastingly inclined to take the credit for achieving them through my own skill, strength, or effort (even if these things have been legitimately deployed)?” (Christopher Wright, The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament)
When we turn to God as our true source of life, he empties our hearts of those sins and fills them with what is in his heart. I hope these questions will help our God-given ability to create wealth through business become a greater and greater blessing; a tool and not a trap.
Excerpted from Evan’s new book
The Heart of Wealth: Spreading God’s Joy
Available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.
Evan Keller has been married to his beloved wife Karen of 25 years – a former nurse who’s a creative cook and baker. In addition to escaping to the mountains, they enjoy life in DeLand, Florida which is near to their 14 nieces and nephews. Evan is a University of Central Florida graduate, an ordained minister, a member of: Rotary, NAACP, and Christ Community Church in Daytona Beach. Evan is addicted to playing basketball, and dabbles in off-road biking, paddling, and mountain backpacking to experience God in the splendor of His Creation. At work, Evan co-leads talented teams at two ventures he founded to leverage business for good: the nonprofit Creating Jobs Inc and the for-profit Tree Work Now Inc. Creating Jobs Inc equips global nonprofits to develop entrepreneurs using its two step-by-step 350-page business training books entitled StartBook and GrowBook. Evan is the lead author of these resources which are printed in many languages and used in several countries, and has more recently authored The Heart of Wealth: Spreading God’s Joy. Tree Work Now Inc develops its 25 employees both personally and professionally and creates exceptional value for 1,000 customers every year while increasing the health, safety, and beauty of their trees.
To enquire about Creating Jobs, StartBook, GrowBook or to connect with Evan, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.