Here is my question for you today. Are you having an affair? You are supposed to be in love with someone but you are attracted to another. The emotional passion you are supposed to have for one you have for another. Over time, this always ends in pain because you end up loving one and hating the other.
Today I want to give you 7 quick points about money and then ask you a question. Point 1 God doesn’t want your money or need you money. It’s a heart thing. There is a clear connection between the spiritual condition of your heart and how you spend money. So when scripture addresses money, it’s not about some weird religious thing duty, it’s about your heart. The number one thing that competes for your hearts love for God; is money.
Point 2 We manage God’s money. When you think, “This is my money and I will spend it how I want.” We call that being greedy. It’s actually God’s money and we get to manage it. He gives us money to manage. The principles he lays out are simple. Give, save and live on the rest. Does this sound oppressive or generous to you? If God gave you the ability to earn $10 and you gave $1 and saved $1 and spent $8, does that sound mean? If you lived like this, you would be debt free and over time be prepared to retire.
Point 3 We view life like we are staying in a hotel room. If you stay in a hotel room you don’t fix it up with newer TVs, better carpet, etc. That would be a complete waste of money. That doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy things of this world but it helps understand a perspective of money.
Point 4 You are supposed to save money. We teach the Dave Ramsey Financial Freedom series. Who would make fun of it? People who are in debt. Who talks positively about it? People who walked through it and are debt free. Your financial condition is closely connected to you spiritual condition.
Point 5 If you are in debt, you work your tail off to get out of it and you will hate it.
Point 6 If you are young, no one owes you anything. You have grown up in a world where everyone gets a trophy. That’s not real life. Real life means you work hard. You grow and develop. Don’t be disappointed when you graduate and are hit with that reality.
Point 7 Money is not bad. Money, in fact, is a great tool. The love of money is the problem. So work hard, very hard. Make money. Do well in school so you can make more money. It’s good. It’s a great tool.
Are you having an affair? You are supposed to be in love with someone but you are attracted to another. The emotional passion you are supposed to have for one you have for another. Over time, this always ends in pain because you end up loving one and hating the other.
Jesus talked about this. 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. NIV Matthew 6:24
Jesus is saying you can’t love both money and God. You can’t pursue both equally. You can’t emotionally invest into both of them equally. Here is why. Over time, you will love one of them and over time, you will hate the other.
I want you to stop and look at your life. Maybe the reason you struggle with loving God with passion is because you are very attracted to money and everything it could bring you. Freedom. Security. Happiness. Maybe the reason you struggle to trust God with reckless abandon is because you are much more attracted to money because it’s so ‘today’ and God is so ‘spiritual’. And if you go to church you are struggling because you never thought about the fact that you will love one and hate the other. You think, I’m trying to serve God and make money. It’s hard to think about having an affair with money.
Do you see what I am saying? Maybe you are having an affair. Maybe you think that having more money is better than having more of God. Because of that, you pursue money and you struggle to pursue God. That’s why Jesus said, Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Why are so many people miserable? Because they are stuck. They say they want God but they are pursuing money. It’s a miserable way to live.
15 Then he said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.” 16 And he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. 18 So he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store everything. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’ NLT Luke 12:15-21
This guy is the American dream. He is who we all want to be. He is on the magazines. We want to buy tickets to his seminars to learn his secrets. He’s loaded and doesn’t know how to deal with all his wealth. Poor guy. He’s going to take all his wealth, store it up for himself. Have you ever wondered what God thinks about this? Next verse.
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get it all?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” NLT Luke 12:15-21
Now real fast, God didn’t say money is wrong, he said that it’s wrong if chokes out your relationship with God. God called him a fool because he had an affair with money. He had a temporary thrill on earth with money but lost his eternal relationship with God. So how do we know we are having an affair with money?
Question 1 do you believe that if you had more money you would have more control in your life. Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves. NIV Psalms 127:1-2
The more money you have, it gives you options in this world, that’s true. However, real control is in the hands of God. That doesn’t mean you to lazy. It means your relationship with God is more valuable.
Question 2 do you believe that if you had more money, more stuff, you would be happier?
25 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28 All this time and money wasted on fashion — do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers — most of which are never even seen — don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 31 What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. 32 People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. MSG Matthew 6:25-34
Our constant desire to have more kills our ability to be content. God is trying to get us to relax.
Question 3 do you believe that if you had more money, you would be more secure?
The best-equipped army cannot save a king-for great strength is not enough to save anyone. A war horse is a poor risk for winning victories-it is strong, but it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear him, who rely upon his steady love. He will keep them from death even in times of famine! 20 We depend upon the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us; he protects us like a shield. 21 No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting him. We trust his holy name. 22 Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone. TLB Psalms 33:16-22
More money is the world makes you feel secure but real security is knowing that God is in love with you, focused on you and will look out for you.
Question 4 do you believe that if you gave less or nothing, you would be better off?
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you! NLT Malachi 3:10-11
This is not an investment program where you give $100 and you get $1,000. It’s heart thing. It’s a worship thing. It’s, I want to remind myself, I manage God’s money thing.
How do you know you are falling in love with God? When regardless of how much money you do or do not have, you believe that when you have more of God, you are more in control of life. When regardless of what your friends have, you are content with what you have. When you believe that when you have more of God, you are more secure. When you are able to rest and enjoy God, not live in constant fear, doubt and worry. When you give back to God and inviting Him to bless the rest of his money you manage.
So let me end with these questions: Are you having an affair? What is growing inside you, your love for God or your love for money? Are you more and more content or are you more and more discontent? What do you care about? Finishing your to-do list or hear God’s voice in your life?