By Rick Warren
You’ve heard people say that you can’t take your money with you when you die. But that doesn’t mean you can’t send your resources ahead of you.
The Bible says, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20 NLT). You can store up your money in heaven by investing in the purposes of God. It’s the most secure investment you can make because it yields dividends forever.
Any good investment strategist would tell you not to put all your money in one place. God’s financial wisdom is no different. We need a diversified giving portfolio. Specifically, God calls us to invest in five funds that represent his purposes for our lives.
1. Treasury Fund
The first purpose of life is to know and love God. The Bible calls this worship. One way you can express worship is to contribute to the Treasury Fund, which is based on the principle found in Proverbs: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income” (Proverbs 3:9 TLB).
God doesn’t need your money. But when you give a tithe or offering to his church, you’re showing God that you love him and want him first in your life. Jesus says, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Luke 12:34 NLT).
Giving as an act of worship happens when it’s undesignated. That means you don’t control it, you don’t direct it, and you don’t tell God what to do with it. It also happens when it’s given where you worship. Because God wants our hearts more than anything else, we need to give to the Treasury Fund before anything else.
2. Mutual Fund
The second purpose of life is to learn to love other people in God’s family. And when we use our money to encourage fellowship, we are giving to the Mutual Fund. Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10 NRSV).
When you give your money to God, it draws you closer to him. When you give your money to a person, it draws you closer to that person. Whether you buy an encouraging card for someone in your small group who is hurting or buy a meal for a family who just welcomed a new baby, it’s like banking in heaven.
Pastor, when your congregation regularly practices this kind of giving to one another, it’ll bring unity to your church. That’s one reason we’ve experienced such strong unity at Saddleback. Over the years, we’ve had thousands of small groups that met one another’s needs consistently.
3. Growth Fund
God’s third purpose of life is to grow spiritually. When we invest in our own personal growth, we give to our Growth Fund. Peter tells us to “Grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 TLB). We contribute to this fund when we spend money on things that will develop our character.
You have many, many ways to waste your money, but God wants us to use our money to grow. “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin” (Proverbs 10:16 NLT).
You can do this in different ways, such as educating yourself, developing specific skills, and growing in your relationship with Jesus. These are the investments that will last. A fancy meal can be consumed in less than half an hour. Your car will rust and fall apart. Your house won’t last for all eternity. But your character and relationship with God will last forever.
4. Equity Service Fund
When we give to the Mutual Fund, we’re helping other believers. But God also wants us to serve people in our communities—people who may not have a relationship with him. This is the fourth purpose of life: Serve God by serving others.
We serve others when we give financially through what I call the Equity Service Fund. God wants us to become more like him. Since generosity is one of his key character traits, we become more like him when we give to others in need.
Pastor, life is a test. God is looking to see how you’ll use the resources he has given you. If you spend it on others, God will bless your life. Proverbs 11:24 reminds us: “It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything” (TLB). You can’t outgive God!
5. Global Fund
God cares about the entire world, so he wants us to use some of our money to take the Good News of Jesus to every corner of the planet. Every time we invest in the Global Fund, we’re using our money to fulfill the fifth purpose of our lives: Tell others about God.
Many people misinterpret Luke 16:9: “Make friends for yourselves using worldly riches so that when those riches are gone, you will be welcomed in those homes that continue forever” (NCV). But Jesus is saying that he wants you to use your money to help other people get into heaven. You’re not just investing in other people for life—but for eternity.
You won’t find a better use for your money than to help people get into heaven. Whether you’re buying someone a Christian book, saving money for a mission trip, or giving resources to organizations who are reaching people worldwide, you’re investing in eternity.
Money is a tool to do good. God doesn’t just want us to trust him with our salvation, forgiveness, freedom, and future in heaven; he wants us to trust him with our finances. So let’s invest what we have today in what will outlast us—the Kingdom of God.