My wife sent me this meme that is just plain hysterical!!
Every year around this time I get so frustrated with the excessive consumerism and rampant disregard of civility. There are so video clips of people beating one another just to get the hottest Black Friday deal all in the name of saving money! It got me thinking about this image that I saw from Tony Evans:
“The money you have came from God’s trees. Everything you have belongs to God.”
Have you ever thought of that $20 bill in your pocket comes from trees that the Creator of Heaven and Earth spoke into existence? (See Genesis 1:9-13).
I know I haven’t. This image reminds me a lot of Psalms 24:1 (NASB)…
“The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
And as Tony Evans stated it…“fear produces poor stewardship.” When we fail to understand “Who’s the owner,” we get into trouble and fail to “Be a good steward” which is Biblical mandate! As I was mulling this over, I got excited to resurrect a post called ★ Thought for the Day – Marriage & Money – Part 3 ★ which was part of a 4-part series to help spouse understand how to have unity in our Finances. Today I am going to cover the major points of contrasting what are the common views of money that people have vs. God’s view of money. Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount gives a perfect outline how our finances and possessions should be handled from God’s Perspective. For simplicity’s sake I will refer to it as “Man’s View of Money,” but obviously that goes for the women as well.
Did you know that there are more than 2,350 verses in the Bible instructing us on how to handle money and possessions that God has placed in our care? In today’s culture of instant gratification and entitlement. It seems that ought to learn what the Bible has to say. So, let’s start off with Matthew 6:19 (NASB) in which Jesus started off the teaching on money and possession saying:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Storing up stuff here on Earth is going in the wrong direction. Christian financial expert Larry Burkett said
“How we handle money is simply an outside indicator of our internal spiritual condition.”
1. The first view we are going to look at is Debt and Contentment:
The amazing thing is that as we are buying all the stuff on credit, we never realize that we are willingly entering into bondage to the credit card company or the car finance department or the mortgage company The world aggressively markets us that we no longer see debt as a problem which is how fist fights break out in Walmart on the day after we “Give Thanks!” The key is to be a wise consumer and not try to keep up with the “Joneses.” The question I have for you is…Are you content with what God is doing in your life? I Timothy 6:6 (NKJV) says,
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”
In the past I struggled big time with this, I was not content with waiting to have what I wanted and as a result I brought a lot of pressure into our marriage. As a result of not being content with what we had, my wife and I have accumulated consumer debt that we have had for years because we did not wait to save up. And I have to say it has frustrated me so much to be limited in what we can do because monthly credit card minimums. Have you ever thought about what you could do for the kingdom of God if you were not buried under credit card debt or car payments or a mortgage that you really cannot afford? Proverbs 22:7 is so true, debt really does make us a slave to the lender, this is another great way to view it!
Amen?! Too often we cannot say no to what marketers are selling, think about it, part of any effective advertising campaign is to make potential customers discontented with their existing product. These feelings that accompany discontentment are enough to make people buy things they don’t need or can’t afford. And sometimes it doesn’t even need to be a big screen TV or expensive purse it could just be eating out too much. I love what Dave Ramsey says about debt,
“Debt is not the problem, but a symptom. Debt is a symptom of overspending and undersaving.”
Debt is just a symptom of a bigger problem that we cannot say no to stuff and Proverbs 17:18 (MSG) puts a fine point on it,
“It’s stupid to try to get something for nothing, or run up huge bills you can never pay.”
So how do we erase debt? You have to choose to say no to what you want and focus on what you need. You need to learn contentment. Howard Dayton, from Crown Financial Ministries said:
“If you cannot be content with what you have, you will never be content with what you want.”
How many times have we seen this play out with celebrities who are on top of the world and are still not happy? The Apostle Paul knew about contentment and trusting in God’s Provisions. When he was in prison, Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19 (NASB) about God’s Provisions,
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
If you look closely verse 19 says “all your needs” will be supplied. Discontentment ignores the provisions of our needs and focuses on what we do not have and conversely on what we want. We need to get to a place where our circumstances do not dictate whether we have joy or peace.
2. The second view we will look at is a hot button issue and that is Tithing.
All of these comments under “Man’s View,” I have thought at one time or another in my life. Growing up and into adulthood, I have seen a lot of hypocrisy in the church on how they handled the money and how they would badger the congregants to give more and more. These experiences happened in different denominations, so I know that it is not based on church affiliation but on the human heart. The simple fact is that Man will always let you down, but the key is not lumping God in the same category as a church or pastor that misrepresented Him by their actions. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20 (NASB),
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;”
God does not need our money, but He wants our hearts to be focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, not on stuff here on earth. He knew that we would have an issue in this area which is why God made the requirement in the first place so that MONEY would not have a hold on OUR HEARTS. The tithe or 10% of our income which is actually the minimum required by God. Malachi 3:10-12 (NIV1984) says it all,
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.”
I love this verse because it is the only place in the Bible that God challenges us to “Test” Him. And if we pass the test, He promises to throw open the floodgates of heaven (or other translations say the “windows of heaven”) and bless us so much that we will not have room enough to store it. Now that is what I want. He also promises to prevent pests or the enemy from devouring what we have and that is not just finances and possessions but our marriage, our children and our health. So, you see we really can’t afford not to give our tithe to the Lord.
Robert Morris made this great point…
“Tithing is believing God can do more with 90% than you can do with 100%.”
Rather than gripping about ““losing”” 10% we should be happy that we get to keep 90%! Proverbs 3:9–10 (NIV1984) instructs us to,
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
One thing that I have noticed is that if I do not make my tithes and offerings a priority there will always be something else that will eat up the money. When it says “First Fruits” here it means above all things, first and foremost, Honor the Lord with your wealth which He has provided for you. Robert Morris also:
“It doesn’t take faith to pay all your bills and THEN give to God. Put the kingdom of God FIRST… and see what happens to your provision!”
If you do that the blessings will overflow!! If you are not already tithing, I urge you to start and I promise you will never regret giving the Lord. In Luke 6:38 (NIV1984), Jesus said,
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Your level of giving will be measured against you on what you receive. My absolute favorite question is…”Is the tithe based on the gross or the net”? I have asked this question myself and the best answer I have ever heard was, “What do you want to be blessed on??” You see it is all about the motive and the heart of the giver and how much you trust God. Rick Warren said,
“God’s BLESSING on you is always in proportion to your DEPENDENCE on Him. Great anointing is the fruit of great trusting.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV1984) says,
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
If you heart is not in the right place, you will not please God with you giving. God knew what hold money and possessions would have on our hearts and that is why so much teaching in the Bible deals with this.
3. Stewardship is the next view we will look at. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as:
- the office, duties, and obligations of a steward – I always love how they define a word with the same word, I thought that was not allowed. A Steward (is defined as a fiscal agent or manager).
- the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
So, when we talk about Biblical Stewardship, we are talking about management of money and resources for God. This however is not the conventional wisdom of this age. Let’s take a look at the different views that exist…
We need to understand that it is not our money. God is the owner and we are His managers entrusted with His affairs and His possessions. If Jesus spoke so much on the topic, don’t you think it may be important for us to understand what we are expected to do as managers of the resources God allows to come into our hands? I love how Robert Morris makes the point,
“Many believers aren’t aware of this, but EVERY time you get paid, you are facing a test.”
The test is, whether we can be trusted to be a good manager. Luke 16:10-11 (NIV1984) says,
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
Okay, so then how do we handle money as faithful managers? I will give you a hint, it is the B-word of finances….You guess it the “Dreaded Budget”. Yes, we have finally gotten to the part that you have been dying to get to – NOT! Hahaha! The budget is the absolute key to winning at money. John Maxwell put it this way,
“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
Dave Ramsey suggests using a “Zero-Based Budget.”
The “Zero-Based Budget” approach which is where the Total Expenses = Total Income. Every dollar is spent on paper before it is spent. If done this way, when you work through every category on your budget sheet you should end up with a zero (no extra money left over, or extra money spent).
It always amazed us when the checking account was empty, and we had no idea where the money went. Though we did not spend large sums of money on expenses items, we were $20 and $50 ourselves to death. One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Trying to manage your finances without a budget, without a plan is the very definition of insanity because you will never know where the money went and in most cases you will end up with “more month” then there is money to go around and I don’t need to tell you what a breeding ground for conflict that causes. The budget is paramount to reduce stress and help control you to control your spending.
4. The number four view is Idolatry and Greed.
Money and possessions cannot make you happy or fill the void, it cannot buy happiness. Jesus furthers the point in Matthew 6:24 (NASB) when He said,
“No one can serve two masters; (the Message translates this as ‘two gods,’) for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Money can become an Idol and if we are not careful, it can replace God. And no discussion on greed can be complete without us mentioning one of the most famous scriptures from 1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT),
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
This is one of the most famous and most misquoted verses. Many people say, “money is the root of all kinds of evil,” but if you look carefully it says, “for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” And that love of money can cause us to wander from the faith and cause many problems in our marriage and finances. It is all about the heart and until you have that right, you will continually spin your wheels and never please God.
5. Worry is number five.
Some reading this post that have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own, so I want to be careful in how I pose this section contrasting Man’s view with God’s view. But what Jesus is saying here is that we need to put out trust in Him and not be troubled but the nightly news headlines because He is in control. We need to rely on God and God alone. Look at this cartoon; I love the punch line from the man’s wife,
“Why don’t you stop wondering what is wrong with the world and just read the manual”.
The bible is the one and only manual that will point our lives in the right direction. As we place our concerns in God’s capable hands, we find a quietness that only He can provide. God gives peace to those who are quiet before Him as Philippians 4:6 (NASB) says we are to,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Boy that is a hard one for me sometimes but the longer I walk with God the more I realize when I just put in his hands (and leave it there), He will take care of my every need. I am not the provider for my family, God is the provider.
6. The final view we will look at tonight is Legacy.
I saw this comic, and though it is funny, it is also quite sobering!
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
God should be ahead of everything else, if we do, everything else will be added to us. It should be a great concern of ours about the debt just continuing to grow with no thought of the future.
1 Timothy 5:8 (NASB) says,
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
If you are not thinking about the legacy you leave, you are considered to have “denied the faith” and are “worse than an unbeliever!” To add to that thought, Proverbs 13:22 (NIV1984) says,
“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.”
How much would people change their spending habits if they thought about providing for their “children’s children”….if they thought generational? One of Dave Ramsey’s most famous quotes is,
How we live now will greatly affect how we will live in the future. And at the risk of making this post a little longer, I wanted to let you know that applying these principles contained in this post will change your life! We are living proof of it! For years now, my wife and I have applying ourselves, being a good steward, tithing consistently and working to eliminate the consumer debt and I am thrilled to report that as of November 19, 2019 we are Debt Free! (…Everything but the house.) I cannot tell you how liberating of a feeling it is!
To go along with that thought, I wanted to share an amazing sermon series called Beyond Blessed, in which Robert Morris unpacks what the “Bible says about the importance of wise stewardship and how it’s God’s perfect plan to overcome all financial stress.” I would like to close with this final thought…
“God blesses us because He loves us, and He also blesses us so we can be a blessing. Living beyond blessed isn’t about what we’re able to receive; it’s about what we’re able to give. It’s then that we can truly live beyond blessed.”
I pray that you receive that today and that you will commit to “Be a good steward!” Nothing changes if nothing changes. I hope that this post is a springboard for you to start your journey to expand your Biblical Worldview of Money and begin to adopt God’s View of how we handle our Finances and Possessions! May God richly bless you as you trust in Him completely!