Is Your Soul Healthy? Take the Test

Jesus was constantly saying things that undermined society’s norms and made people uncomfortable. This was never truer than when he spoke of money.  

Jesus once said: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” We’ve been taught to see money as power. Jesus saw it as a test of character.

When people suddenly come into money, whether a half-a-billion dollars or a few thousand, it is like they have walked into the hospital for a battery of tests: X-rays, CT Scans, MRIs, blood work. Only this is a soul hospital. Money tests the health of the soul.

When Jesus spoke about trusting someone with “very little,” the little thing he was talking about was money. He considered it a trifle. Money, in his mind, is just a little thing – but it’s a little thing like taking an X-ray or getting a C.T. scan is a little thing. When exposed to it, the state of a person’s soul is revealed.

The translation, “Whoever can be trusted” is misleading. Jesus was not speaking about future possibilities but about present realities. The verse should be rendered: “Whoever is trustworthy with very little is trustworthy with much and whoever is unrighteous with very little is unrighteous with much.” In each case, present tense verbs are used.

I’ve heard people say, “If I won the lottery, I’d give it all away.” I wonder. Would they really? Or would they stop taking calls from friends and family and start spending every spare minute with lawyers and accountants? Would they tell themselves that God had given them the money for a reason, so they must be wise about it and not make any quick decisions?

Who knows what we would do were we to win the lottery? But what we do with our take-home pay is also a test, and there is nothing hypothetical about that. It is a matter of record. For followers of Jesus (like myself), the use of money ought to reflect God’s in-breaking kingdom and the outworking of our salvation. If it doesn’t, we’ve failed the test. Our soul is sick. We’ve got the disease.

According to Jesus, the money test has consequences. If we fail, we will not be entrusted with true riches. But how do we pass the test? It’s simple: by using the money in our possession as a trust and not as discretionary funds. Like every other resource, money belongs to God. We have been entrusted with its use as his representatives.

That doesn’t mean we must account for every nickel in our expense accounts. It doesn’t mean we are OCD about our budget. It does mean that we think about and pray about how to use the money entrusted to us in a God-honoring way.

The almost breathtaking possibility here is that if we are trustworthy in this little thing – money – God will give us (literally, entrust us with) the true thing. Money amounts to training wheels for tots. Money is a preliminary, get-your-feet-wet trial run. If we do well with it, we are in a position to receive the real thing.

The real thing, as compared to the “very little thing,” is influence with the God of heaven. Authority in his kingdom. Only a fool would choose money over that.

Once a person has proved trustworthy with the money entrusted to him, he will be given “property of his own.” God trusts such a person with resources and authority in a measure equal to his faithfulness.

Augustine had this kind of thing in mind when he said, “Love God and do what you will.” When someone is loving God, they will do what is good and God will trust them. But no one can love money and love God at the same time., They are mutually exclusive.

Money-love is a spiritual illness, and it is progressive. It spreads through a person’s life and affects all their relationships, including the relationship with God. But God-love is also progressive. It too spreads through a person’s life and affects and enhances all their relationships.

First published by Gatehouse Media

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