Money, Money, Money

Have you ever wondered would you do if you inherited a £1 million from some long lost relative or gained it from some other windfall? It does not seem to matter how much money people have, we always seem to want more. Older readers will remember lines from classic songs such as ‘Money, money, money. Must be funny. In a rich man’s world’ or ‘Money makes the world go around’ that express the world’s expectation that having more money will solve their problems. The stark truth however is that money does not make people happy and this sometimes leads people to state that ‘money is the root of all evil’.

Whilst that phrase is found in the Bible it is actually a misquotation! What Paul actually wrote was: ‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.’ 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV)

As people who are daring to live by the Word and the Spirit, our goal is to allow the Bible to shape our thinking on every area of our life, including our finances. You may have heard the story of an airplane that was in difficulty and the pilot announced that they were about to crash land. One person called out “Should we do something religious?” only for someone else to reply “Let’s take up an offering!” If we limit our understanding of the Bible’s teaching on money to offerings, then we short-change ourselves.

The issue with money is not whether we are rich or poor, but rather whether we crave it. Paul says that craving for money has led some to wander away from their faith. Biblical teaching about money strikes right at the heart of our faith and our understanding of the gospel. It is not a side issue. Because it is such an important subject, Simon and I will be preaching a series that we are calling ‘Jesus on Money’, starting in the middle of January. As we do this, we will discover that Jesus pulls no punches as he challenges commonly held attitudes. Our prayer is that as we see what Jesus had to say about the subject, our hearts will be changed and instead of us serving money, we will learn to make money serve God’s kingdom.

This blog post featured in the January 2013 edition of Lifelines

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Thank You

I am writing this article after leading the first of our church’s Christmas Celebrations. A great time was had by all, singing carols and thinking about the biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth, followed by good food shared together. By the time you read this, Christmas presents will be unwrapped, rich Christmas food eaten, every turkey recipe imaginable will have been consumed and thoughts will be turning to New Year’s resolutions. For the majority of people living in Hook, we will have enjoyed comfortable Christmases in warm homes with people we love. No doubt too we will have written letters, e-mails and text messages thanking people for their generosity towards us.

In my first message of 2013 I want to say thank you, to you, the residents of Hook on behalf of all the people who have benefitted from the food that you have donated to the Hart Foodbank (www.hart.foodbank.org.uk), especially through the collection at Tesco at the beginning of December. On those two days an astonishing 1835 kg of food valued by Tesco at £3212 was donated. Even better, Tesco have given Hart Foodbank 30% cash back – £963 on a store card. Since 1st April 2012 Hart Foodbank has fed 288 people (171 adults and 117 children). The evening before I wrote this article, I was able to supply food to three families feeding 9 more people.

Christmas is a tough season for those who are financially challenged. Pressure to get presents and seasonal food, along with higher fuel costs due to cold weather conspire to leave people in debt and struggling to feed their families. Life Church operates a service called Junction 5 Money Advice (www.junction5.org), which provides confidential advice to help resolve debt crisis. However the chances are that the people most needing help from Junction 5 or the Hart Foodbank don’t read Hook Focus. If you as a reader are aware of a situation that would benefit from this kind of support, please tell them about these services and help us ensure that they get the help they need. In the meantime I wish you a very Happy New Year 2013.

This blog post featured in the January 2013 edition of Hook Focus