Sep 9 2018 Wisdom in Your Attitude Toward Money and Finances
9th September 2018
Wisdom in Your Attitude Toward Money and Finances
Lord, thank You for Your love for us. We come to You broken, knowing we have a deep need for You. Our plans and great effort – without You – will come to naught. You guard us and care for us. Our peace and purposes lie in Your hands. Help us to trust You and have a deep and intimate relationship with You.
Over the next four weeks – how to live the way of wisdom in relationship to our finances and material possessions. Typically when a church does a series like this – the focus is on stewardship. Some churches focus on tithing, budgeting, or debt. Those are important, but they are just practical application to how to live with wisdom in relationship to finances and material possessions. Primarily – I want to look at the heart issues - so we will look at the most famously misquoted verse in the Bible:
I was listening to talk radio – and the host said – well you know, they say – Money is the root of all evil…
What the verse actually says:
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(older versions: many a pang!)
The word love is not 1 Cor. 13 – it is greedy disposition – covetousness. This is really talking about greed. This could be translated ‘Greed is the root of all sorts of evil’
Money itself is amoral – it is a tool.
This love of money creates other unhealthy attitudes and actions in our lives – if we do not get under control this heart of greed, then everything else will fall apart – leading to destruction and sin.
In context, there are some leaders who are trying to use their spirituality to get financial gain to manipulate followers – so they can get money from their followers.
1 Timothy 6: 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
The most important heart attitude when it comes to money and material possessions is CONTENTMENT.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
To which I say, REALLY?! That is un-American to be content with these! They need the essentials for life. They needed sheep and cows –orchards to grow grapes…
For us, we have other things – transportation that is essential.
At Lori Gramlich’s funeral, her son David said – we always had everything we needed. I look back – not necessarily everything we wanted!
Such insight into ones childhood! I think we need to look at our own lives that way with God – we have everything we need – not necessarily everything we want.
9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
Wow! God said it – through Paul – Blame him, not me!
That is not to say that there is something wrong with wanting to have a successful career – and having that may cause us to gain much wealth. This is not addressing that. This longing is a lust and greed – a selfishness when it comes to finances and material possessions.
Jesus said something similarly – or the other way around:
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Jesus’ focus is about our devotion to God – our fidelity and faithfulness to God. Money and possessions have a powerful impact on our spiritual lives and most often it is not good. It can be – but most often it is not. The attitude – the heart attitude – will determine it completely, whether for good or not good. We tend to serve money. We tend to focus our lives – and especially in our world, we tend to focus so much of our lives around finances. Sometimes out of greed – and other times not, but it is still a trap. If not greed, we do it out of worry, anxiety, fear – and the core of that is the need for security. We have learned to see money as a source of ultimate security. When we do that, we are serving finances and money – and not God. That is a great trap for us today. The context of Jesus – security: He said earlier.
Matthew 6: 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What are you trusting in? Are you trusting in what you can gain and possess – or are you trusting in Me? What we trust in for security is what our heart will end up worshiping.
If we think that we will find security in things or money, that will eventually turn our hearts from God.
Trust in Money
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. (1Ti 6:17 NLT)
Paul is speaking to those who are rich. It is not wrong to be rich. Hard work brings riches, the Proverbs say. But if we are trusting and getting our security from money – which is so unreliable – they are not an adequate way of finding security and happiness – but we have been told the opposite all our lives – that happiness is about having more things. And it bombards us – and the Bible is trying to get us to turn our way of thinking. Because we have bills to pay, it makes it difficult! We think it was easier for them, because they didn’t have cars and computers and cell phones and stuff! But they struggled to get FOOD! And he was telling them to be content!
11 A rich man's wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own imagination. (Prov. 18:11)
I love that verse! Sometimes we think money is our protection that makes us safe! Really?! We all probably think that in some way shape or form… - but it says it is in our imagination – we are imagining it!
The one who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf. (Pro 11:28 NET)
Another thing we do – trust in money for feelings of personal worth and significance. The more stuff we have the better we feel about ourselves! We find our value there – but our focus needs to be on our relationship with God – which is what makes us secure and makes us significant. There are plenty of people with plenty of money who feel insecure and insignificant.
Proverbs 23: 4 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. 5 When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
We spend most of our lives trying to prevent the end of verse 5 from happening – to clip those wings! And this creates problems. One would be becoming workaholics. We kill ourselves to gain wealth. This is not the whole story – whenever you read a proverb – tell yourself that – this is not the whole story – as there are other proverbs that talk about the value of working hard – but those aren’t the whole story either! But the problem is when you think that is the whole story!
Second – when we have this attitude of greed, we become hoarders – and not in the sense that make the television show – but we become stingy and selfish and unable to be generous.
I think this is really true – and Jesus addressed this – it is possible to be a faithful tither – a person who gives a tenth of their income to the church – and to be selfish and stingy – it is entirely possible. There was a group of people who did that – and they were known as Pharisees. It is all about the heart attitude.
Now that I have discouraged everyone:
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, (How will I do that, we ask) because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can human beings do to me?"
If you have not memorized this verse – I would encourage it – this is unbelievably encouraging! Never will I leave you! Never will I forsake you! This dramatically changes our approach! We don’t have to live in anxiety and fear over finances. That seems to be an unbelievable thought – that it is actually possible – but that is what this verse is telling us. Not because you have a large amount of finances – but because God is with you and will never leave you.
We think there are things we have done that would make Him forsake us. Think how bad you could be – and He still won’t leave you! He will never leave you nor forsake you! He will always be present and He cares for us and loves us. Having a proper attitude begins with that! Not beating ourselves up about how we get anxious about money – or being concerned about getting more – but it starts with God loving us and caring for us.
Remember the birds of the air – and the sparrows – and the lilies of the field – they don’t toil or spin – but God watches over them – and we are much more valuable than birds or flowers – if He is so concerned about making beautiful fields of flowers in the spring – ow much more is He concerned for your life?
Philippians 4: 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance.
In context, Paul is thanking them for the financial gifts they had sent…
12 I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. 13 I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.
So Paul had times where he had an abundance – and that can be a hard time to be content – and times where he had nothing – and that was hard to be content – but he said – he could do all things through Him who strengthens him.
It is about learning to live trusting the One who loves us. Whatever circumstance we are in – that is our reality. There are times when it is easy to pay our bills and times when we struggle. We live in that reality – and we can live in that reality on our own – or with God – it is our choice – we could work it out ourselves or we can choose to work it out with God – and when we do the latter – is when God strengthens us to meet our needs.
Matthew 6: 31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is the way of the kingdoms of the world – to eagerly seek these things. But it is not the way of God’s kingdom, which is wholly different.
What a promise – when we put God first, our needs are in God’s hand! Do you think YOU will do a better job, or God will? In reality, we say we will! But in true reality – God will.