How We Use Our Money
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
How We Use Our Money
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Sunday, June 23, 2019 am
LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (22)
An Example in My Life (1)
Having established the need to seek first the kingdom of God in every aspect of our lives, we now turn to specific areas of our lives. Often, these areas, demonstrate to the world (and to our brethren) what really is important to us. Areas such as how we manage our money, how we take care of ourselves, how we interact socially with others, our workplace influence, etc. In the next few lesson, we want to focus on some of these area. We begin today with the Christian and his money. I realize that these lessons may not be comfortable to listen to, but I believe we ALL need to consider these things as we examine what our real priorities are.
I. Understanding money
- What is money? It is a medium of exchange that we use to obtain goods and services. I include in this more than just currency and coins, but whatever is used to conduct business (e.g. cattle, exchange, etc.). Most of us have some understanding of what money is and how it works, but few understand it well enough to manage it wisely.
We live in a society that does not avidly encourage wise management. Debt is encouraged and exemplified by our governing authorities. Financial waste is treated as trivial. Selfishness and laziness are often rewarded.
- Be reminded that money is morally neutral – it is neither good nor bad. The truth is we need money (and resources) to survive and live in this world. Be reminded that churches were permitted to have a treasury (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) and were authorized to use resources to evangelize and to help needy brethren. Paul is actually dealing with this in several of his letters.
None were condemned by God for being wealthy. In fact, in some instances God blessed them with great prosperity.
Furthermore, be reminded that with wealth (and we live in a country where opportunities for wealth are abundant) comes opportunities to do much more for good.
BUT, what matters is what you do with it and what your attitudes toward it are. There is NO virtue in poverty, though the Bible implies that the poor are more likely to follow God – Proverbs 30:8-9 – give me enough!
It is the love of money that is the root of evils – 1 Timothy 6:10. It is greed, selfishness, ill-gotten gain, materialism, excessive debt, etc. that either is or can lead to sin.
- It cannot bring true satisfaction – Ecclesiastes 5:10, He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. One of many axioms in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon, who was very wealthy realized that money, like every other worldly pursuits, is mere vanity.
Paul warned the rich, (1 Timothy 6:17) – do not trust in uncertain riches
Luke 12:16-21 – the parable of the rich fool, we find one who did not include God in his plans, but that night he lost everything. What good did his wealth do him?
James 1:11 – the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
- How can the way we manage our money and resources help us let our light shine?
Are we hindered from doing more because we have poorly managed our money and resources?
Are we able to support the Lord’s work to its fullest?
Does our standard of living keep us from doing as much as we should spiritually – attending and participating, being engaged with brethren on various occasions, studying with others?
What exactly are we spending our money on? Is it on godly pursuits, or sinful conduct?
Does money (or the lack thereof) keep us from doing good for others?
Does money cloud the way we view others (cf. Matthew 7:1-5)?
Does the world see that things are more important than the Lord?
Are we able to sustain ourselves to the best of our ability? Many live with an entitlement attitude and are willing to let others support them. While we ought to be compassionate and remember the poor, we must not forget that this can and is often abused. There are many, even among Christians, who will not work as they should and instead live on handouts, begging, etc. (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:10). The world sees these things and it can have a negative influence spiritually (are you implying that God does NOT provide? Are you implying you don’t need to do what God said? WORK! Etc.)
II. Biblical principles that govern money –
- The Bible has a great deal to say about money. One source cites more than 2300 verses that either directly or indirectly deal with money (the Bible has a little more than 31,000 verses, which means about 7.5% deal with this subject).
God realized the impact money would have on others, and thus it is extensively addressed.
- The dangers of materialism – we must always beware of the dangers of materialism. Materialism is the pursuit of things. Much like the “mammon” that Jesus said we cannot serve in Matthew 6:24.
The desire to be rich, covetousness – Ephesians 5:5
Mark 10:17-22 – the rich, young ruler shows what materialism can do to us spiritually.
1 Timothy 6:10 (again) – note the consequences of those who desire to be rich.
Matthew 13:22 – in the parable of the Sower, the thorny ground describes how the riches of this world can choke out the word.
- We are stewards – we are continually reminded in scripture, and from this pulpit, that we belong to God first. We need to realize that everything we have actually belongs to Him. We are but steward of that entrusted to us.
Biblically, a steward was a trusted servant with authority. Much like Joseph was over the house of Potiphar, and then over the prisoners, and then over all of Egypt. He could be counted upon to do what needed to be done and entrusted with one’s resources.
Luke 12:42-43 – Jesus speaks of a faithful and wise steward who carries out his wishes while he is gone.
In Matthew 25:14-30 we find the parable of the talents. 3 servants were entrusted with responsibilities according to their abilities. Note the response of the master to the 5 & 2 talent servants who faithfully manages what they had. Also do not forget the failures of the 1 talent servant.
Like 16:10 notes, He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. This accompanies a parable about a dishonest steward whose actions were called into account.
1 Corinthians 4:2 – it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
It would do us good to realize that what we have is “on loan” from God. He expects us to be wise in our usage of whatever we have. And one day, we too will give an accounting!
- We ought to be honest – honesty (and integrity) is a hallmark of the Christian faith. And in the society we live in, it is related to how we manage our resources.
2 Corinthians 8:21, providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. While Paul was speaking of his dealings with these brethren, including managing resources, he established a principle we should always keep in mind.
1 Peter 2:12 speaks of our example with honorable conduct among the Gentiles. The world, and our neighbors, take note when we are not honest or honorable in our financial dealings.
Ephesians 4:25, Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
We need to honest as examples to the world. This will be seen by the way we manage what we have including our money. Do we pay taxes and our bills, we don’t cheat or take advantage of others, etc.?
An article I came across preparing this lesson, gave some ways we might NOT be honest about money
1) Not thinking ahead for the future – are we lying to ourselves that everything will always be great, or that setbacks will not come? Do we spend as if the future doesn’t matter? That’s what debt is.
2) Do we spend to feel better about ourselves? If you think stuff will buy you happiness, you are lying to yourself. Like most other problems, it usually makes matters worse unless you face it.
3) Arguing with your spouse about money – are we completely honest with each other as spouses in these matters? Are we deceitful in our decisions? Do our friends know more about some purchase than our spouse?
The point, the world is watching! We need to be honest with our financial resources.
- We are to be content – another fundamental quality of Christians.
We need to live within our means – Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:6-7.
Consider: Which is more difficult to be content: When you are full and have plenty? Or when you are lacking or barely getting by? Consider Paul in Philippians 4:11-13.
Again, this is a way we can let our lights shine in this dark world. Let the world see we are fine with whatever we have.
- We are to share – not selfish, misers, etc. We ought to be willing to help someone who is in need.
The Bible has plenty of examples of benevolence, both to Christians and beyond.
And while it is true that many will take advantage of some, we ought to be willing to share AND humble enough to accept help if we need it. BUT BE HONEST!
Galatians 6:10 – not limited to money, but would include it.
Hebrews 13:16 – with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
These are a few principles associated with the Bible and money. This is one of many examples of HOW when God is first, and the Lord is directing our lives, we let our light shine in all that we do. How are we doing with this?