Posts Tagged ‘Money


American Idols

Under the old covenant, the children of Israel were told not to worship idols of precious metal, wood and stone. In the New Testament, John closes out his first letter with a similar admonition. He writes:

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. – 1 John 5:21 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul said that greed is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). We may not have American idols of gold, stone and wood, but we definitely have idols that we worship. We have idols of green paper that we worship. We have idols of celebrity, entertainment and sports that we worship. We worship idols of pleasure and leisure. We worship our families and our children. We worship our jobs. We worship our country and our planet. Anything or anyone that you put before Jesus is an idol. As followers of Jesus, we believe that God is God and everything else is a potential idol. Every day we must fight the battle against idolatry in our lives. Every idol will disappoint you because you were made for a relationship with your Creator, not His creation.

Faith And Wealth

We get it all wrong sometimes when it comes to wealth and faith. We may be tempted to think that if we had more money, we’d be better Christians. We could tithe more and worry less. That’s not necessarily true. Listen to what James says:

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? – James 2:5 (NIV)

When we are poor, we need more faith to make it through each day. Our hope and our faith is not in wealth or material possessions. Our hope and our faith are in God. More money means more problems. Less money means deeper faith. When God is all you’ve got, you discover that God is all you need. What do you want more, money or God? Only one leads to eternal life in Heaven.

We All End Up In The Same Place

James 5:1-6 (NIV)
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
The disparity between the wealthiest of society and the poorest is quite evident in our world today.  Class warfare is a real thing.  The media fans the flames between the haves and have-nots.  Those who have are portrayed as greedy.  Those who have not are portrayed as oppressed.  In many instances, this is true.  The wealthiest among us are not actually among us.  They may not understand the plight of the commoner.  Tens of millions of dollars in bonuses each year for a CEO who cuts the workforce of their company by 10% because their profit margins are too slim does not compute for the family who is a part of the 10%.  Shareholders are given more consideration than the worker who makes it all possible.  This is not true in all instances, but oftentimes it is the case.
Here’s the bad news for the CEOs and the wealthiest, as well as for the blue-collar workers and the poorest – you cannot take it with you.  Whether you’re living high on the hog or underneath it, your wealth (or lack thereof) will not punch your ticket into Heaven.  God is not impressed by a stock portfolio.  He is not wowed by a fleet of airplanes.  God is not pleased with greed.  Paul made it clear that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).  That goes for those who are wealthy as well as those who are poor.  The motivation for wealth stems from the same source – greed.  If you have lots of money, you want more.  If you have no money, you really want more.  Money cannot get us into Heaven with Christ.  Only Jesus can do that.  What did He tell the rich young man?  Give it all away.  Those who hoard wealth as well as those who desire wealth will all end up in the same place – the grave.  The key to overcoming the grave is to put your faith and trust in Jesus, not in your money.
PRAYER: Lord God, help me to put my trust in You to provide all that I need.  Money and wealth are not the answer.  Give me the strength I need to trust You and to be generous with all that you’ve given to me.  Thank You for the blessings You have provided.  Help me to see Your blessings and not take them for granted today.  Amen.

More Money, More Problems

For what are you working?  Are you working to get rich?  To have an abundance of things or money?  Solomon says that those who have an abundance don’t get a very good night’s sleep.  Why do you suppose that is?  I think it is because they’re constantly worried about what might happen to their stuff or their money.  As rap icon Puff Daddy once said (more or less) – more money, more problems.
It’s true, you know.  The poor man who has very little does not have to worry about the things that the rich man has to worry over.  If you don’t have much, there’s not much to steal.  If you don’t have much money, you don’t have to worry about what the stock market does.  You have fewer worries because you have stronger faith.  Why is that?  It is because when you have little, faith may be all you have and you soon discover that faith is all you need.
Don’t be jealous of the rich and wealthy.  They may have champagne wishes and caviar dreams, but they have more worries and fears, too.  You may struggle to get by, but if you will trust in the Lord to provide, you’ll find that He gives you all you need.  I think that this is why Jesus said to pray for “daily bread.”  He tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 to not worry about the things of this life.  He compares us to birds and flowers and says that God knows what they need and He provides.  Since we are so much more valuable than the birds and the flowers (for God sent His son to die for us and not for birds and flowers), then how much more will He provide for what we need?  He will provide – we must simply trust and believe.
So do not wish your life away for wealth and riches.  Solomon puts it so well when he says:

Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
    and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
    that they can carry in their hands.​ – Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NIV)​

You can’t take it with you, so don’t waste your life pursuing the things that people will one day fight over (or take to The Antiques Roadshow to try and figure out how much they’re worth so they can sell them).  Pursue relationships – both vertical (God) and horizontal (people).  Trust in the Lord to provide what you need (which requires a healthy understanding of what you need).  God is good and He will take care of you.  You’ll sleep better tonight knowing that.

Ecclesiastes 5:11-15 (NIV)

As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
    whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
    permits them no sleep.

13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:

wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14     or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
    there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
    and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
    that they can carry in their hands.


Never Enough

​The multimillionaire, John D. Rockefeller, was once asked the question, “How much money is enough?” He answered quite transparently, “Just a little bit more.”
​Solomon said it long before he did.  ​

Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.​ – Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NIV)​

Money is one of those things that it seems we can never have enough of.  Why do you suppose that is?  It is because we love money.  Jesus said that this should not be the case for His followers:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.​ – Luke 16:13 (NIV)​

Paul told Timothy this:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.​ – 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)​

Money is not “a necessary evil.”  The love of money leads to all kinds of evil.  We all need money to pay bills and make ends meet.  When our hearts are divided, though, that is when we get into trouble.  The greedy pursuit of money will consume your heart and soul.  It will choke the spiritual life right out of you and leave no room for God.  It is a subtle thing, too.  We don’t wake up one day and say, “I think I’m going to be a greedy person today!”  Greed takes over through jealousy and envy.  Greed takes over as we hoard more and more.  Greed takes over as we fear the future.  Greed takes over as we buy more stuff.  The Apostle Paul said that greed is idolatry and you probably know what the Old Testament says about idolatry (think Commandment # 2 in Exodus 20).
So where’s your heart?  If there is a divided loyalty in your heart between God and money, know that greed is like a weed that will grow and spread quickly and will try to choke God right out of your life.  Jesus said that it does not do anyone any good to get everything that this world has to offer, but lose your soul (Luke 9:25).  Don’t sacrifice your soul on the altar of greed.  Take it back before money steals your soul from you!

Ecclesiastes 5:8-10 (NIV)

 If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.

10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.


Master or Mastered?

Jesus tells a story about money and possessions in Luke 16:1-15.  There was a rich man who had a steward who was in charge of his possessions.  The rich man believes that the steward (or manager) is wasting his things.  So he fires the manager, but before he does, he has to bring the rich man up to speed on the books.  The steward is in a pickle.  He’s more of a desk job kind of guy, so manual labor is out of the question.  He’s got too much pride to beg others for housing or food.  So he concocts a plan to get himself some free room and board.  He no longer cares about the rich man or his possessions.  This guy just fired him!  So he calls in two people who owe a great deal to the rich man.  One owes the rich man 900 gallons of olive oil.  That’s a lot of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil for those of you who don’t speak “Rachael Ray”)!  So the unscrupulous manager tells him to cut it in half.  He’s cooking the books to earn favor with the debtors.  Brilliant (although immoral)!  A second guy comes in and he owes 1,000 bushels of wheat.  This is a HUGE amount!  That’s about 30 tons!  How long would that take to harvest?  So the steward tells him to make it 800 bushels.  What a guy!  By saving these two people money, he had hoped to gain friends and earn some favor when he got kicked out of the rich man’s home.
Jesus then gives three points of application of this story.
  1. In verses 8-9, Jesus tells the “people of the light” to use worldly wealth to gain friends for the purpose of building His Kingdom.  We are to use wealth, not be used by it.  We should use these opportunities to create friendships to tell people about Jesus.
  2. In verses 10-12, Jesus says that if His followers are faithful with a little and honest with a little, we will be entrusted with much.
  3. In verse 13, Jesus tells His followers not to be lovers of money.  You cannot love both God and money.  If you are greedy, there is no room in your heart for God.
Jesus uses the bad example of the shrewd manager to show us these three applications of how we should use, and not abuse, wealth.  Let us learn to master our wealth so that our wealth will not be our master.

Luke 16:1-15 (NIV)

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

6 “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “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. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.


Greed and Hoarding

Greed.  In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus warns against it.

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” – Luke 12:15 (NIV)

Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV):

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Notice that Paul does not say that money is the root of all evil.  He says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Kyle Idleman, in his book Not A Fan, says about the rich young ruler that the problem wasn’t that he had money, but that money had him.  It is far too easy to become possessed by our possessions.  To be worried about our things instead of focusing on our faith.  Our Heavenly Father knows what we need. He will provide for us when we trust Him.  We must seek first those things that are most important – His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and He will bless us with all that we need.  Jesus is telling us today, “Don’t worry.  Don’t hoard.  Don’t store up the things of this life.  They are only temporary!”  Let us seek the things of God for then we will truly find blessings and riches beyond our wildest dreams.

Luke 12:13-21 (NIV)

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

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