The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Psalm 24:1, niv).
How many of your decisions flow from your view of money?
From your vacation plans to your lunch plans. From your clothing options to your stock options. From what you’re putting away into retirement every year to what you’re putting into the offering plate every week.
“Every financial decision you make is ultimately a vertical decision.”
Money is a significant component of our lives. Jesus, in fact, said more about money in Scripture than He said about heaven and hell put together—not because money exceeds them in importance, but because He knows a truth that we are slow to recognize: Until God is in charge of how we view and handle our money, we are unlikely to consider Him in charge of anything else.
The way we view money makes a huge difference.
That’s why we must learn to look at it vertically.
Every financial decision you make is ultimately a vertical decision—a decision of whether or not you’ll align your life with the reality that God owns everything. Your money is God’s money, just like everything else you have. It is His. You are His. One day He’s coming back, like the property owner in Jesus’ parable of the talents, to settle His “accounts” (Matthew 25:19, esv), since “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12)—and He’ll be asking what you did with His stuff. Did you treat it like it was His or yours? Vertically or horizontally?
People who view money horizontally see it primarily as something to spend on themselves. It’s something they work to their own advantage. It’s something to increase and grow and keep improving on. It’s something to trade as an exchange for personal pleasure or benefit. Seen horizontally, money equates to that pair of shoes you’ve just got to have. It’s an upgrade to the better cabin on the cruise ship. Seen horizontally, money is worth the few extra thousand dollars you may need to carry on your credit card bill for a while.
But every blessing that God intends to impart into your life by way of money will come as a result of viewing it vertically. Everything that ends up being good for you financially—best for you—will flow from your decision to honor God with the outcome of whatever you’re buying, investing, giving, or saving.
Think of Joseph of Arimathea, the wealthy man who followed Jesus from a distance in order to protect his position in the community, but then surrendered his own expensive tomb for Jesus’ burial (Matthew 27:57–60; John 19:38). He learned a valuable lesson: money is a means of giving testimony to God. Not only your generous giving but also your prayerful spending. All of it is an ongoing opportunity for stewarding well God’s money and for keeping your whole heart and your whole life vertically aligned with His will and purposes.
Many people, even well-meaning believers, spend their lives fixated on money—either on the relinquishment of it, thinking there’s inherent virtue in bare-bones living, or on the pursuit of it, treating it as the chief evidence of God’s blessing and favor. But those who view it vertically are the only ones who experience freedom from all forms of financial obsession and bondage, able to both invest and enjoy His gift of money, to the glory of Almighty God.
Lord God, thank You for entrusting me with what belongs to You, including the resource of money. Help me to always see it as just that: Yours, not mine. Thank You for correcting me from going down financial paths that I thought were right and best, only to find them avenues into bondage. Guide me into a life of unparalleled submission to Your truth, always focused vertically on You rather than primarily on myself. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.