“Random Thoughts”. Some of those actually make sense
I believe that the Bible is a practical book. In it, God tells us all about things that make a difference in real life. One of my primary commitments as a teacher is to equip you to hear and understand what the Bible teaches about the subjects that matter to you in your life. In the 4 years that I have lived in Carson Valley and Carson City, there are 3 areas that are asked about almost on a weekly basis: Marriage, Parenting, and Money. I’m going to cover those areas in some detail at various times over the next 6 months. For the next 3 weeks, I want you to know what the Bible says about money. I want you to know what the Bible says about making money, keeping money, saving money, spending money and giving money. God tells us a lot about finances in His Owner’s Manual, The Bible. In more than 2,350 verses God gives His perspective on matters of wealth, generosity, borrowing, investing, financial planning, business, inheritances, taxes, purchases and possessions.
Here at CVC, our goal in understanding God’s plan is to “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”(Colossians 1:9) There are 3 parts to the financial equation of life:
1) Making Money
2) Spending & Saving Money
3) Giving Money
I have a challenge for you. I realize this stuff can be uncomfortable. So, here’s a deal I want to make with you. I think I can teach you what the Bible has to say about the 3 parts of the financial equation in life. This week and next I’m going to teach you about making and spending and saving money. IF you think I helped you, then you come on the week that I teach about giving money. I’ll teach you some things AND I’ll give you an ironclad guarantee. If you take me up on this guarantee, you can put God to the test and this church will stand behind what God promises!
Here, in short review to start are 4 great “umbrella” principles (Scriptures provided for your additional study)
1. God Owns it All…Matthew 25:14…God has rights-I have responsibilities, every spending decision is a spiritual decision, can’t fake stewardship
“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33)
2. God is accountable for His part. We are responsible for our part.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains”(Psalm 24:1)
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills…everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains”(Psalm 50:10-12)
3. God’s part is meeting our needs, not our wants
“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches”(Philippians 4:19)
4) Our part is learning to be faithful and be content
“It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” I Corinthians 4:2
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”(Philippians 4:12)
In the time that remains, I want to take a stab at the concepts of work and money. First, let’s look at work:
“Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (John 5:17)
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (II Thessalonians 3:6-10)
God is a worker! He created us as workers; what He wants is for us to be His co-workers! Working hard is a good thing, and all legitimate work helps us to serve others, meet our family’s needs, and be able to give to the work of God in the world today. In short, it is a way for us to demonstrate our love for God. Let me give you a few additional points of focus related to work:
1) Working hard is worth doing!
“ 10We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.”(I Corinthians 4:10-13)
2) Work is not welfare!
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)
3) Work is worship!
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)
4) Work is witness!
11″Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (I Thessalonians 4:11-12)
In the brief time that is remaining, I’d like to give you 3 perspectives on money; they all come from the school of the streets. I’ve read lots of books; I have learned from them, but most of what I have learned has come from God through Godly people, through God’s Word.
1) Get your heart in the right place
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Our heart is key. Many of us want to get rich(and the Bible says that is a specific trap).
Riches are something we have, wealthy is something we are. Five areas of wealth: peace with God, relationships God has given us, revelational wealth, time, material contentment (Dennis Peacocke…Doing Business God’s Way)
2) Get your head into the right perspective
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
I want you to be wealthy; you may or may not ever be rich. But I know that if your heart and head are screwed on straight, you’ll go a long way down the road that we have to walk in this world without messing up the life of you and your family.
Christian leaders are only satisfied if they can produce new proprietors who become partners in the business and prosper in it themselves. Christian leaders are committed to making others wealthy, not rich(Dennis Peacocke, p. 65 Doing Business God’s Way)
3) Get your hands into the right practice
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24)
Do your work as unto the Lord, see it as an act of worship and witness
Maximize your income and wealth by the way you work and the way you approach the gifts and skills that God has entrusted to you.
Here are some Additional Resources:
Each of these listed have been personal visited and used by Pastor John. He recommends these sites, but obviously does not and can not control or endorse all of their suggestions or advice.
www.kluth.org (Brian Kluth, former President of the Christian Stewardship Association)
http://www.crown.org/ (Crown Financial Ministries; includes Larry Burkett Ministries)
http://www.ronblue.com (Ron Blue Materials)
http://www.soundmindinvesting.com/ (Austin Pryor Materials)
http://daveramsey.com/ (Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace)
http://halftime.org/ (Bob Buford regarding moving from success to significance)