“We don’t use money in heaven,” says Clarence the angel in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. “It comes in pretty handy down here, Bub!” replies an exasperated, earthbound George Bailey.

Joe Holman could relate to George. He needed $700 to fund a medical-mission event in a remote region. By posting the need online, he raised $210. At the same time, a friend of Joe’s posted that he needed $4,000 to make a music CD. He received $4,300.

Joe doesn’t like to discuss finances. As a missionary, he says, “We have to appear above money.” But money does matter. And it especially matters to those who serve at the front lines of our poorest areas.

As the apostle Paul wrapped up his letter to the church in Rome, he touched on this practical matter. He was about to take a financial gift to the believers in Jerusalem from Gentile believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Gentiles had heard the good news about Jesus from Jerusalem missionaries and now wanted to help in some small way (Romans 15:26). “They feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially,” Paul wrote (Romans 15:27).

Remarkably, the church in Macedonia gave out of their poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Paul used their generosity to challenge wealthier churches to give as well. (Note that the apostle wasn’t asking for money for himself.)

It isn’t all about the money, of course. When Paul asked for his own needs, he said, “Join in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30). But money does indeed “come in pretty handy down here.” By using it wisely as our generous God provides, we bless others even while we serve Him. Consider helping missions or a faith-based charity in a tangible way today as He supplies what you need.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Kings 5:1-27