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Thoughts on Money by Charles Spurgeon

Articles on Christian Stewardship

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A number of thoughts concerning money from Charles Spurgeon. These thoughts have been taken from a number of his works.

The fourth evil is one to which I call your very earnest attention, the growth of wickedness in the land, especially in two forms, which we ought not to overlook. One is, the growing worldliness among professing Christians. They are indulging in extravagance in many ways; in luxurious habits, dress, equipages, feastings, and so on, and wasting the substance of which they are stewards. When a man is giving liberally to the cause of God, I count it very foolish to forbid his spending liberally in other ways, for men usually spend by scale. It would be absurd to hold up a wretched miser, who gives nothing either to God or man, as an example to a liberal spender; but there is too much of ostentatious extravagance abroad, which wastes the Master’s money in worldly pleasures and doubtful amusements, yea, and amusements worse than doubtful. Some, who are called ministers of Christ, have in these days even defended amusements which .moralists have felt bound to abandon, but let us hope that such ministers will not repeat the mistake. We must be careful, wise, and yet decided in our dealings with this growing evil, or we shall lose all spirituality from the churches. (An All Around Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students, (Page 68))

Every child of God is where God has placed him for some purpose, and the practical use of this first point is to lead you to inquire for what practical purpose has God placed each one of you where you now are? You have been wishing for another position where you could do something for Jesus: do not wish anything of the kind, but serve him where you are. If you are sitting at the King’s gate there is something for you to do there, and if you were on the queen’s throne, there would be something for you to do there; do not ask either to be gatekeeper or queen, but whichever you are, serve God therein. Brother, are you rich? God has made you a steward, take care that you are a good steward. Brother, are you poor? God has thrown you into a position where you will be the better able to give a word of sympathy to poor saints. Are you doing your allotted work? Do you live in a godly family? God has a motive for placing you in so happy a position. Are you in an ungodly house? You are a lamp hung up in a dark place; mind you shine there. Esther did well, because she acted as an Esther should, and Mordecai did well, because he acted as a Mordecai should. I like to think, as I look over you all,-God has put each one of them in the right place, even as a good captain well arranges the different parts of his army, and though we do not know his plan of battle, it will be seen during the conflict that he has placed teach soldier where he should be. Our wisdom is not to desire another place, nor to judge those who are in another position, but each one being redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus, should consecrate himself fully to the Lord, and say, “Lord, what would thou have tine to do, for here I am, and by thy grace I am ready to do it.” Forget not then the fact that God in his providence places his servants in positions where he can make use of them. (MTP Volume 20 – Providence as seen in the Book of Esther)

God’s work is like a net of many meshes, and these are all connected with each other. We are links of the same chain, and cannot move without moving others. We are members of one body, and God acts towards us with that fact in view. He does not bless the hand for the hand’s sake, but for the sake of the whole body. Well then, dear friend, you are saved that you may save; you are taught that you may teach; you are confirmed in the faith that you may confirm others; talents are allotted to you that you may turn them over and bring in heavenly usury for your Lord. Whatever you nave is yours not to hoard for yourself, or to spend upon yourself, but that you may use it as a good steward of God. Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom which God has given thee for such a time as this, when there is need of thee and all that thou hast? (MTP Volume 30 – Esther’s Exaltation)

Next, notice that the servants of God–whether called ministers or not,- those who are really so, are stewards because they are under the Master’s near command. An ordinary servant in God’s house may take his orders from the steward, but the steward takes no order from anybody but the Master; and hence, he is in an evil case, and the household is in an evil case, too, if he does not often resort to the Master, if he does not distinctly recognize his position as an underling of his Master, and if he does not so keep up his daily fellowship with the Master that he himself knows the Master’s mind, and is able to communicate it to his fellow-servants.(MTP Volume 41 – Faithful Stewardship)

The real steward is one who has been appointed to the position; and if he is not appointed, why, he has no right to be a steward at all! Things go right when there is no absentee landlord, but when the great Master is always close at hand, and the steward constantly goes to him with an account of all his work. The steward keeps his master’s stores, and sees that they are not wasted; but he takes care also to magnify his master’s liberality by seeing that none of the household know any want. I have known some who pretended to be stewards of Christ who evidently did not understand the business. (The last sermon for the year, (no. 2445) intended for reading on Lord’s-day, December 29th, 1895 delivered by C.H. Spurgeon, )

First, give an account of the stewardship of thy time. How hast thou spent it? Have not many hours been allowed to run to waste, or worse than waste, in frivolity and sin? Hast thou lived as a dying man should live? Hast thou employed thine hours as remembering that they are very few, and more precious than the diamonds in an emperor’s crown? What about thy time? Has there not been much of it spent in indolence, in frothy talk, or that did not minister to edification? Thou needest not accuse thyself for time spent in lawful recreation that may sustain thy body, and fit it better for the Lord’s service.

But, after all, to every man, whether he be rich, or whether he be in the office of the ministry, there may be a close of his stewardship before he dies. The mother has her little children swept away one after another; this is the message to her, “Thou mayest be no longer steward.” The teacher has his class scattered, or he is himself unable to go to the school; the word to him also is, “Thou mayest be no longer steward.” The man who went to his work, who might have spoken to his fellow-workman, is removed, perhaps to another land, or he is placed in a position where his mouth is shut; now he can be no longer steward. Use all opportunities while you have them, catch them on the wing, serve God while you can today! today! today! today! Let each golden moment have its pressing service rendered unto God, lest it should be said to thee, “Thou mayest be no longer steward.” (MTP, Newington)

Now, as Peter found this prayer so suitable for him, I commend it to each one of you. Have; you been growing rich lately? Then, you will be tempted to become proud and worldly; so pray, “Lord, save me from the evils that, so often go, with riches; thou art giving me this wealth, help me to be a good steward of it, and not to make, an idol of it.” Or are you getting poor? Is your business proving a failure? Are your little savings almost gone? Well, there are perils connected with poverty; so pray, “Lord, save me from becoming envious or discontented; let me be willing to be poor rather than do anything wrong in order to get money.” (MTP Volume 56 – Peter’s Shortest Prayer)

First, a steward is a servant, and no more. Perhaps he does not always remember this; and it is a very pitiful Business when the servant begins to think that he is “my lord.” It is a pity that servants when honored by their master should be so apt to give themselves airs. How ridiculous Jack-inoffice makes himself! I do not refer now to butlers and footmen, but to ourselves. If we magnify ourselves, we shall become contemptible, and we shall neither magnify our office nor our Lord. We are the servants of Christ, and not lords over his heritage. (MTP Volume 59 – Stewards)

My friend, keep money in thy purse: “It is one of Solomon’s proverbs,” said one; another answered that it was not there. “Then,” said Kit Lancaster, “it might have been, and if Solomon had ever known the miss of a shilling he would have said it seven times over.” I think that he does say as much as this in substance, if not in so many words, especially when he talks about the ant; but be that how it may, be sure of this, that a pound in the pocket is as good as a friend at court, and rather better; and if ever you live to want what you once wasted, it will fill you with woe enough to last you to your grave. He who put a pound of butter on a gridiron, not only lost his butter, but made such a blaze as he won’t soon forget: foolish lavishness leads to dreadful wickedness, so John Ploughman begs all his mates to fight shy of it, and post off to the Post Office Savings’ Bank. “For age and want save while you may; No morning’s sun lasts all the day.” Money is not the chief thing, it is as far below the grace of God and faith in Christ as a ploughed field is below the stars; but still, godliness hath the promise of the life that now is; as well as of that which is to come, and he who is wise enough to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, should also be wise enough to use aright the other things which God is pleased to add unto him. (John Ploughman’s Pictures, C.H. Spurgeon (Pages 90-91))

“Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store” Deuteronomy 28:5 Obedience brings a blessing on all the provisions which our industry earns for us. That which comes in and goes out at once, like fruit in the basket which is for immediate use, shall be blest; and that which is laid by with us for a longer season shall equally receive a blessing. Perhaps ours is a handbasket portion. We have a little for breakfast, and a scanty bite for dinner in a basket when we go out to do our work in the morning. This is well, for the blessing of God is promised to the basket. If we live from hand to mouth, getting each day’s supply in the day, we are as well off as Israel; for when the Lord entertained His favored people He Only gave them a day’s manna at a time. What more did they need? What more do we need? But if we have a store, how much we need the Lord to bless it! For there is the care of getting, the care of keeping, the care of managing, the care of using; and, unless the Lord bless it, these cares will eat into our hearts, till our goods become our gods, and our cares prove cankers. O Lord, bless our substance. Enable us to use it for thy glory. Help us to keep worldly things in their proper places, and never may our savings endanger the saving of our souls. (Faith’s Checkbook, C.H, Spurgeon (Page 73))

The Following thoughts are taken from “Salt Cellars”:
Salt Cellars, C.H. Spurgeon (Vol. 2 M-Z)

Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. It is unwise to risk all that you have in any one concern. If you have any savings, put them in several places. The marine form of this saying is: “Do not ship all your goods in one vessel.”

Many can get money; few can use it well. Even to keep it is not easy. Many of the silliest investments have been made by men who, in their own business, were shrewd to the highest degree. It is harder to weave than to gather wool.

Many save their silver, but lose their souls. Many a man’s soul has been ruined by his great love of money, although he had but little money to love.

Money borrowed is soon sorrowed. He that lends it begins to sorrow, even if the borrower does not; for, in general, he may mourn that he has parted from it to meet no more.

Money burns many. They are injured by their wealth. Some by bribes are burned; for when money’s taken, Freedom’s forsaken.

Money calls, but does not stay; It is round and rolls away. It makes the mill to go, but it goes faster than the mill-wheel. It is no more to be kept in the purse than snow in an oven; at least, so I find it. But why should we wish it to stay? It is the circulating medium! why should we detain it? If it rests it rusts. Let it go about doing good.

Money gained on Sabbath-day is a loss, I dare to say. No blessing can come with that which comes to us, on the devil’s back, by our willful disobedience of God’s law. The loss of health by neglect of rest, and the loss of soul by neglect of hearing the gospel, soon turn all seeming profit into real loss.

Money gilds over guilt. Money is said to be a composition for taking out stains in character; but, in that capacity, it is a failure. Those characters which can be thus gilded must surely be of the gingerbread order.

Money has no blood relations. There is no friendship in business. Sad that this should be a proverb in any land, but so it is. The Chinese say: “Though brothers are closely akin, it is each for himself in money matters.” They also say: “Top and bottom teeth sometimes come into awkward collision.” So little power has relationship in the savage customs of business that, in some instances, one hand would skin the other, if it could make a profit by it.

Money is a good servant, but a bad master. Even as a servant it is not easy to keep it in due subordination. If “money makes dogs dance,” it makes men proud. If we make money our god, it will rule us like the devil.

Money is often lost for want of money. It is so when men cannot get their rights, from inability to pay legal charges. Yet if one had plenty of cash, it would not be wise to throw away good money after bad, Money is the best bait to fish for man with. He bites greedily at a gold or silver bait: but is the creature which is thus taken worth the catching? He who can be bought, I think is worth nought.

Money is the servant of the wise, and the master of fools. Money makes money. The goose that lays the golden eggs likes to lay where there are eggs already; perhaps because it is a goose. The lard comes to the fat; hog. Capital grows by interest, or by wise use it brings in profit, and thus increases.

Money is money’s brother. “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” — Psalm 62:10. Money makes the mare to go and the dog to dance. Pecuniae obediunt omnia.” All things obey money.” This saying comes from the Latin, but it is true in English. A little palm oil will gain entrance where nothing else will do it. Officials are greatly mollified when their hands are, crossed with silver. In a more allowable sense, a good wife would be happier and more active if her allowance could be increased. If she has too little money to keep house upon, it takes the “go” out of her. Money often unmakes the men who make it. It has a defiling and degrading power over the mind which thinks too much of it. “Money and men a mutual falsehood show; Men make false money; money makes men so.”

Money speaks more powerfully than eloquence. Too often, because the speaker is a rich man he commands attention, and secures the approbation of persons who see no sound sense spoken by one who has no money bags. This is very well put in the following verse: — The man of means is eloquent: Brave, handsome, noble, wise; All qualities with gold are, sent, And vanish where it flies.

Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain. Pour your money into your brain, and you will never lose it all. Education is such a gain, that it is worth all that it costs, and more. Yet some fellows learn nothing in the schools. Many a father, when his son returns from the University, might say, “I put in gold into the furnace, and there came out this calf.”

Money will make the pot boil, though the devil should pour water on the fire. But such fuel is not to be depended on. We need something better than mere money to keep our pot a-boiling. Such boiling is apt to scald a man sooner or later.

Money wins where merit fails. It is a pity it should be so; but, with worldly minds, to be rich is to be good. This vulgar error is long in dying. “The boy in yellow wins the day.” Canaries are still the favorite birds.

A hammer of gold will not open the gate of heaven. Money opens many of the gates of earth, for bribery is rife; but it has no power in the world to come. Money is more eloquent than ten members of parliament, but it cannot prevail with the Great Judge.

Better a purse empty than full of other men’s money. Gaining riches by chicanery is drawing down a curse upon ourselves. Honorable poverty is infinitely to be preferred to dishonest wealth, or to large indebtedness. In the Telugu we read: “A cupful of rice-water without debt is enough.”

Do good with your money, or it will do you no good. There is no power in it of itself to do real good to you. It may even do you evil; but, if used for God and his cause, and the poor, it will bless yourself.

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