Money Talks

I once heard about a very ordinary family who had a friend called Ralph who was a self-made millionaire. For many years he would generously take them away on his boat for holidays as they both had daughters the same age. At the end of each day they would stop at the best moorings belonging to riverside hotels for their evening meal. When the waiter came to their table Ralph would give them a tip before placing the order with the promise of more if the meal was good. He reasoned that it was better to guarantee good service by paying for it in advance than hoping it would be worth rewarding after the event when it was too late. Money talked for Ralph.

You may not have the kind of wealth that opens doors for you in the way that Ralph had, but like it or not, wealthy or poor, the way you handle money speaks volumes about you. Even people who claim that money is not important to them would be surprised how much time and energy they spent earning it, spending it, talking about it, paying bills, and planning for the future. Money does indeed talk!

Therefore it should not be a great surprise to find that the Bible actually has quite a lot to say about money. Jesus said that how you deal with money is an indication of what is in your heart. Agur, who wrote part of the book of Proverbs, penned this prayer:

Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. Proverbs 30:7-9

Agur realised that too much wealth could lead him to rely on his own means and deny God. Equally, poverty could lead him to pursue dishonesty to provide for his family. Paul too learned through personal experience that contentment in life does not depend upon material wealth but upon our security in Christ:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

Over the next few weeks we shall be looking at what the Bible has to say about money in a series called ‘Money Talks’. As we study this subject from a biblical perspective, invite the Holy Spirit to help you handle money in a God glorifying way.

This blog post featured in the November 2015 edition of Lifelines

 

Advertisements

The Treasure Principle – by Randy Alcorn

TheTreasurePrinciple This little book is deceptively powerful; easy to read but a hard hitting message. In 6 brief chapters Randy Alcorn unlocks the Treasure Principle (You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead!) with key biblical truth that not only challenge our attitudes to giving but to money and wealth full stop.

  1. God owns everything. I am his money manager. We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted – not given – to us.
  2. My heart always goes where I put God’s money. Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.
  3. Heaven, not earth, is my home. We are citizens of “a better country – a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16)
  4. I should live not for the dot, but for the line. From the dot – our present life on earth – extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in heaven.
  5. Giving is the only antidote to materialism. Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him.
  6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving. God gives us more money than we need so we can give – generously.

Do you dare read this book and apply these principles? Can you afford not to?

Buy The Treasure Principle from Amazon UK
Buy The Treasure Principle from Amazon US

 

The Treasure Principle (Hook Focus)

I am sure that you are familiar with the proverb “Home is where the heart is”. We use it to convey the idea that a home is more than simply a place where we live; it is a place we share with people we love, a place that is filled with the memories that shape and define us as people, a place where we feel safe and secure. One of the large DIY furnishing chains tap into this desire with their catchphrase “make a house a home”. Sadly however, simply filling our houses with nice furnishings can never really make a home if it is not a place that accommodates our heart and so many people live with the ache for home that exists in their past, or even only in their imagination.

Jesus encouraged us not to become too attached to our present homes when he said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 ESV). Despite the similarity between the two heart expressions, Jesus’ statement is radically different. Jesus’ treasure principle is rooted in the fact that our homes and possessions are vulnerable to deterioration and depreciation, they are at risk of theft or damage and, in the final analysis, cannot be taken with us when we die. The treasure principle is that we take an eternal perspective and store up treasure in heaven.  Jesus presents us with a choice to serve God or to serve possessions! You can live this life seeking to provide as much comfort and security as you can for yourself and your family in this life, or you can devote your energies to preparing for an eternity with him.

There is an old Negro spiritual that has the lines “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through; my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue” that expresses the attitude of someone who is living by Jesus’ treasure principle, someone who is holding loosely to the things of this life. People who have learned to live by Jesus’ treasure principle will find that they have real peace and true joy despite the ups and downs of this life because they are looking forward to a destiny that is eternally secure. Are you?

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

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