Friday, February 3, 2017

Want To Know What Someone Worships? Watch How They Spend Their Time & Money

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God." 
1 Timothy 6:17

Money is a point of discouragement for many.
    • The average household who has credit card debt owes over      

The average overall debt for all households is over $90,000 per

Student debt is skyrocketing.

1. Hope in God. (17a, 17b)
We can’t take credit for anything we have - it’s all from God. (17a)
We can’t put confidence in anything we own – only in the living God. (17b)
Who gives life to all things
Who made the good confession
He who is blessed
The only Sovereign
King of Kings
The Lord of Lords
Who alone has immortality
Who dwells in unapproachable light
Whom no one has seen or can see

2. Enjoy His provision. (17c)

3. Manage with wisdom (18a).
Live on a budget –
• Stop accepting debt as normal –
Save consistently, but not presumptuously -

4. Give generously. (18b, 19a)

5. Get real life.

Many of us wrestle with what appears to be a confusing message from the Bible regarding money.

Biblical Tensions:
Money can be a blessing or a curse.
Money meets needs and makes insecure.
Prosperity and poverty are both good and bad.

We are to work hard to provide and save, yet never trust in our diligence or prudence.

I want to try to be super simple and specifically address young people – high school, college, singles, young marrieds – who are establishing a lifelong direction regarding money.

Paul is writing Timothy as he ministers to the believers in Ephesus.  Ephesus was the Mediterranean Sea’s main commercial center. It was a city characterized by both sensuality and prosperity.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God.”

Deuteronomy 8:12, 14
"Lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them…Then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

Hannah prayed.

1 Samuel 2:7
"The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and he exalts."

King David prayed before the assembly.

1 Chronicles 29:12
"Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all."

Psalm 24:1
"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein."

1 Corinthians 4:7
"For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?"

So Paul is charging those who have money not to be haughty “as if you can take credit for having it.”
“Nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God.”

Proverbs 23:5
"When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven."

Notice who Paul is calling us to hope in.

In verses 13-16 he gives us a number of descriptions of who God is. When Paul describes Jesus as the One “Who made the good confession,” he was most likely referring to when Jesus stood before Pilate and Pilate said, “I have authority to crucify you.”

"And Jesus responded, 'You have no authority except what God has given you.'

You are living on borrowed authority.

We are hoping in the One who has all authority, immortality (deathlessness).  He needs no body guard. He has no term limits. We can’t look on Him without some kind of protection, or our eyeballs will melt like wax under the flame.

Psalm 63:3
"Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you."

Psalm 4:7
"You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound."

God is the ultimate, and in one sense the only Giver. Everybody else is sharing what God has provided. Life is not a potluck dinner where everybody brings something to the table. God is the only One who has brought anything to the table. If there is anything at the table, it is because God graciously and richly provides. And He loves to do so. He loves to let us all feel the warmth of His sun. To let us experience the life-giving breath of His air. To feast on His food

Do you think God delights in seeing you enjoy His gifts? “They are to do good.”

Now I’m going to go on a little diversion here because he does not state in this passage to manage with wisdom. It is implied here, stated elsewhere.

Many Christians view doing good as primarily random acts of kindness. I am all for those. Secretly sticking some money in someone’s purse. Paying for someone’s Starbucks forward.

But we can also do bad by doing good.

VIDEO: Poverty Inc. official trailer

If we are going to do good with the money entrusted to us, we must manage it with wisdom.

Jesus spoke a lot about this kind of wise stewardship: e.g. The servants who invested their talents with wisdom and courage

Matthew 25:23
"His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

e.g.  The manager who knew his days were numbered and made friends “by means of unrighteous wealth”

Luke 16:10
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

Proverbs 27:12
"The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it."

Proverbs 30:25
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer."

In all of these, there is an intentionality.

What does this look like for us?


“The borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

In the Bible, debt is not forbidden, but it is not encouraged. It is often indicative of a problem.

As in Deuteronomy 28:43-45, so with us. If our financial decisions are driven by debt and monthly payments, then we are a slave.

We can talk all we want about doing good, but our doing good will be hindered or eliminated by our lack of wisdom and financial management.

Freedom – Not bondage
“To be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future.”

God gives generously not so we can be weighed down in this life but most prepared for the next.

When we manage money wisely, we can give generously.

I want to challenge you who are not living this way to begin today, right where you are.

This past week I was really blessed as I read Truett Cathy’s book, Wealth: Is It Worth It?

He is the founder of Chick-fil-A.

“The whole world around us is a reminder to give.  Why did God create trees?  To give us shelter, fruit, timber, and oxygen.  The ground, the stars, the moon, the cattle in the fields – all of them were created to give.  Likewise, we were created to give.  That’s why we experience so much joy when we give generously.

“If I were allowed only one answer to the question, ‘Wealth, is it worth it?’ It would be this: ‘Yes, if you give it generously.’

“Don’t wait until you can afford it to start giving.  Start right now enjoying that wonderful feeling we experience when we share our resources.” Truett Cathy (Wealth: Is It Worth It? Pgs. 151-152)

After Cecil and Deen Day were married, they lived with their children in America’s first government housing, located in Atlanta.  It was called Techwood Homes. Cecil was a student on the GI bill at Georgia Tech. He also worked a couple other jobs, including selling greeting cards door to door to try to supplement their income.  They were dirt poor. But over time, Cecil and Deen became some of Atlanta’s most successful business people. In 1970, Cecil founded Days Inn of America. In eight years, they had 300 locations. The Days became multimillionaires. But at 44, Cecil died of cancer. Deen continued to run their company and a foundation they began.

 “Cecil and I were always content, regardless of where we were living.  We were never possessed by our possessions.  We knew that contentment is not found in things.  We always set goals.

“We always tithed and gave back to the Lord’s work 10% of our income.  When we were living at Techwood Homes, we took an old box with a slit in the top and put our change in it.  It was amazing that when we counted it out, we would have our tithe.

“We always understood that it is important to remember that everything we have is a gift from God.  And we have to use the gifts in a responsible way… I learned to pray that God would give me the vision and discernment where and how to invest in the eternal… Wealth is a blessing if you invest in things that have eternal consequences and results.” (Deen Day, Pgs. 177-179.)

The greatest enemy of real life is fake life.
The greatest enemy of wealth is fake wealth.

Psalm 17:14
"From men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life.  You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants."

1 Timothy 6:1-2, 5-6
"There were false teachers who were teaching the Christians at Ephesus that godliness could be a means of financial gain."

2 Corinthians 8:9
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

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