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7Feb/160

Money, Possessions & Eternity

He who has God and everything

Has no more than

He who has God alone. ~ C.S. Lewis

 

The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money. ~ John D. Rockfeller

 

Required Reading:

30 Day Reading Plan on Bible App: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/341-money-matter

Required Listening:

Dave Ramsey’s Testimony

How to Be Rich, Part 1 – Andy Stanley

Treasure vs. Money – Tim Keller

Recommended Reading:

Money, Possessions & Eternity

Financial Peace

The Treasure Principle

Managing God’s Money

Also consider books by Ron Blue and Suze Orman

Additional Resources:

Eternal Perspective Ministries http://www.epm.org/resources/

 

Money (and possessions) is one of the most effective ways to get at the heart and reshape our lives. Jesus spent approximately 15 percent of his recorded words on this one subject.

Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is the exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money. ~ Richard Halverson

What you do with what you have, determines who you become.

We need to see money as God sees it, and help others see it that way too. Sometimes, like in the case of the rich young ruler, money is the thing we must focus on to help someone change their spiritual life. We must also do the work to manage money the way God would have us manage it.

Money Can Be a HUGE Distraction

We have a lot of money, and thus have a lot of rich people problems that we need wise advice on: cars, homes, insurance, retirement investments, credit cards, expensive hobbies and toys that require maintenance, etc. We need to get good at managing our money so that we can focus on non-money items. This month we are attacking the heart and the logistics. When it comes to logistics, some will love this month, some will hate it. Spenders hate it and Savers love it. Married people have the greatest advantage because they have the help of both. For additional help, take Financial Peace…that’s called convenient timing, hehe!

My Goal: Not Dave Ramsey or St. Francis, but rather John Wesley—a man who dedicated himself to ministry, streamlined their lives for God’s purposes, and gave away every penny they didn’t need.

PS04 JOHN WESLEY GOING TO OXFORD2

· In 1731 Wesley began to limit his expenses so he would have more money to give to the poor. He records that one year his income was £30, and his living expenses £28, so he had £2 to give away. The next year, his income doubled, but he still lived on £28 and gave £32 away. In the third year, his income jumped to £90; again he lived on £28, giving £62 away. The fourth year, he made £120, lived again on £28, and gave £92 to the poor. One year his income was slightly over £1,400; he gave away all save £30. He was afraid of laying up treasures on earth, so the money went out in charity as quickly as it came in. He reports that he never had as much as £100 at one time.When he died in 1791, the only money mentioned in his will was the miscellaneous coins to be found in his pockets and dresser drawers. Most of the £30,000 he had earned in his lifetime he had given away.

“Money never stays with me. It would hurt me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart.”

· John Wesley preached, “gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” (read his sermon here)

 

Defining the Problem: Rich People in a Rich Culture

You are RICH!!!

Don’t believe me? Answer the following and find out:

  • Do you have a safe home of your own? (the poor share housing)
  • Do you have a vehicle to drive? (the poor rely on public transportation)
  • Do you have enough food to eat for a week? (the poor live week by week or day by day)
  • Do you have money to use in the case of an emergency? (the poor have not emergency savings)

If you make $25k/yr, you will manage a million dollars in your 40 year working span.

If you make only $1,500/yr, its more than 80% of the people on earth.

If you have descent clothes, live in a house or apartment, and have a reasonably reliable means of transportation, you are among the top 15% of the world’s wealthy.

If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5 percent of the world’s wealthy.

Do your kids have substantial toys, video games, movies, tablets, phones, and restaurant preferences?

 

I’m Rich, so what?

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt 19:23-24, HCSB)

12 The sleep of the worker is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of the rich permits him no sleep. (Eccl 5:12, HCSB)

Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more. ~ Luke 12:48

Ø I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness. ~ John D Rockfeller

Ø The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it. ~ W.H Vanderbilt

Ø I am the most miserable man on earth. ~ John Jacob Astor

Ø I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job. ~ Henry Ford

Ø Millionaires seldom smile. ~ Andrew Carnegie

The kings of Israel were warned not to accumulate horses (power), wives (political alliances and pleasure), and gold (wealth). Deut. 17:14-20

A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much, and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy, sick. ~ John Steinbeck

 

In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of persecution pass it, while 95% who face the test of prosperity fail it. ~ a Romanian pastor

 

 

Why is it hard for a rich person to follow God?

13 Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 “Friend,” He said to him, “who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you? ” 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 Then He told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared — whose will they be? ’ 21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21, HCSB)

 

Rich Fools in Scripture:

· Nabal (1 Samuel 25)

· Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27, Luke 18:18-23)

· The man who built barns (Luke 12:13-21)

· Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

 

Rich People Problems:

· Money and the possessions it buys cause us to spend a lot of time managing them, not just enjoying them.

· Even if we enjoy the things we own, we tend to build our own world in isolate from other people. Our world becomes all about us.

· Money makes it easier to indulge (and hide) destructive habits: buys access to porn, prostitutes, drugs, alcohol, etc. *From Disciplines of a Godly Man: You’re more likely to be a drug abusing alcoholic living in posh Beverly Hills than you are in the slums a few miles away.

· Money causes us to become self-reliant, not God-reliant. *Deuteronomy

Think about it: poor kids tend to be some of the happiest I see.

4 By your wisdom and understanding you have acquired wealth for yourself. You have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries. 5 By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, but your heart has become proud because of your wealth." (Ezek 28:4-5, HCSB)

6 When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied, and their hearts became proud. Therefore they forgot Me. ~Hosea 13:6

The Source’s Problem: the gift of money making.

The Best Problem: Where should I be giving (investing) my money?

 

The Godly Rich Giver’s Profile:

Some people by life gifts and experiences become great business developers. They get good at creating sources of income that are self-sustaining. The need to be challenged to use their expertise and income for the kingdom of God. They should be encouraged to focus on business—but only if their end goal is to serve people through the business and serve people with the money their earn through its income.

1. They can give far more than the average person. While they should not expect their ability to give to carry extreme influence on church decisions, they should give generously. We should be careful not to over-favor them either. Remember, their money managing abilities do not make them more perfect than anyone else. They face spiritual challenges equal to everyone else.

2. They can help the church manage their finances responsibly. We need their scrutiny of our spending habits and budget. They are used to managing the large sums of money that church necessitates.

 

Necessary Perspective Changes:

1. Contentment: Love of God, not love of money.

God wants you to stay 110% focused on what He is calling you to do. This is not a general calling that everyone should know and obey—this is your calling. Your ministry calling may look like raising a family, sheltering foster kids, working a factory job, entering church work full time, or coaching a little league team. It probably looks like a few of those things, all at the same time. The biggest hurdle people fail to clear is the hurdle of focusing on those things. They commit themselves to too many things and are too busy to do their ministry with excellence. They financially obligate themselves to so much that work keeps them from doing their big ministry like they are called to do it. They let TV, entertainment choices, or addictions take the time that God wants them to spend on ministry.

6 But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11 But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. (1Tim 6:6-11, HCSB)

We need to content ourselves with less stuff, less worldly achievements, and more ministry. We have to fight against culture’s pressure to want more and more stuff that ultimately does not satisfy.

My Story – where am I gifted and called to invest my time?

When I was in Atlanta, I listened to and learned from business builders: real estate investors, business builders, franchisers. I worked for a guy who made hundreds of millions of dollars a year all across the world. I supported and created resources for hundreds more of millionaire business managers across the world. I was able to meet personally with a few guys my age who were actively building businesses and were willing to coach me through it. Stacy and I did some experimenting with real estate investment, cold stone franchising, and home-based businesses. I have a business degree…it’s a natural fit for me. But the bottom line was—I felt God was leading me to focus on ministry. He seemed to indicate that the time for intense focus and preparation for ministry was then, not in 5-10 years. So I abandoned the business strategies in front of me, and entered seminary.

Can’t I build a business that will give me a platform to do ministry? Yes, you can.

However, how long will it take? (How much ministry will you avoid doing in order to build it?)

How tempting will it be to keep making money? (Will you be willing to leave the business and the making of money?)

Does God want you to focus on that, or does He need you to shape yourself around ministry now?

2. Stewardship: It’s God’s Money, and You’re “God’s Servant, not His Kid.”

Ok, you ARE God’s child…but He is raising you to be a responsible adult, not a needy, leeching teenager like we so often behave. He doesn’t want to you lounge around the house and trust Him to manage the key finances that make life work, asking for money to indulge an impulsive toy purchase. He wants you to behave like the steward of an old English household. He wants to be able to trust you to run the home, business, and family He has given you really well. He wants to know that you’ll do what He would do with the possessions you have. He wants to know that you are productive—increasing the value of the possessions in your care, not decreasing them.

12 Therefore He said: “A nobleman traveled to a far country to receive for himself authority to be king and then return. 13 He called 10 of his slaves, gave them 10 minas, and told them, ‘Engage in business until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man to rule over us! ’ 15 “At his return, having received the authority to be king, he summoned those slaves he had given the money to, so he could find out how much they had made in business. 16 The first came forward and said, ‘Master, your mina has earned 10 more minas.’ 17 “ ‘Well done, good slave! ’ he told him. ‘Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, have authority over 10 towns.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Master, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 “So he said to him, ‘You will be over five towns.’ 20 “And another came and said, ‘Master, here is your mina. I have kept it hidden away in a cloth 21 because I was afraid of you, for you’re a tough man: you collect what you didn’t deposit and reap what you didn’t sow.’ 22 “He told him, ‘I will judge you by what you have said, you evil slave! If you knew I was a tough man, collecting what I didn’t deposit and reaping what I didn’t sow, 23 why didn’t you put my money in the bank? And when I returned, I would have collected it with interest! ’ 24 So he said to those standing there, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has 10 minas.’ 25 “But they said to him, ‘Master, he has 10 minas.’ 26 “ ‘I tell you, that to everyone who has, more will be given; and from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away. (Luke 19:12-26, HCSB)

3. Investment: Only the Eternal Lasts. “You Can’t Take it With You…but you can send it on ahead!”

King Tut was buried with his treasures, worth billions in today’s currency. He tried to take it with him, but it didn’t work. But you can take all of that with you…you just have to invest it properly.

I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. ~ Martin Luther

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
~ Jim Elliot, missionary killed by the tribal people he attempted to reach.

It is my happiness that I have served Him who never fails to reward His servants to the full extent of His promise. ~ John Calvin

Whatever good thing you do for him, if done according to the Word, is laid up for you as treasure in chests and coffers, to be brought out to be rewarded before both men and angels, to your eternal comfort. ~ John Bunyan, Pilgrims Progress

19 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21, HCSB)

 

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing. (2Tim 4:6-8, HCSB)

18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real. (1Tim 6:18-19, HCSB)

There’s only a couple ways that your money and possessions will outlast you.

1. You can invest in the ministry God is doing and reap heavenly rewards in the next life.

2. You can invest it in the generations that will follow you by raising up mature people and entrusting them with the resources you accumulated in your lifetime.

Good money managers know one key thing: what you do with your possessions effects eternity!

Analogy: Confederate currency. It’s worthless as soon as the civil war ends. You may have millions, but if you have not put it in currency that holds its worth, you’ll be poor in the eternal life ahead.

 

Progressive Goals:

1. Learn to be content. Trust God for our needs and become content where He has you.

2. Become an excellent steward: See money as God sees it, and manage it well…with the intention to get better each year.

3. Become an aggressive giver: love what God is doing in the world so much that you are willing to sacrifice your own lifestyle to see more ministry happen.

a. Invest strategically in Christian initiatives.

b. Give generously at every opportunity God provides that fits your calling.
(example: St. Michael)

4. Become a fund raiser for God’s ministry. As much pleasure and freedom as giving is…helping others experience that freedom, being dependent upon God for the needs of a great enterprise, and being so passionate for a cause that you spread that passion to others are all steps in the journey to spiritual growth that God uses to grow you to greater levels.

If you’re not content, you’ll put your priorities before God’s and mismanage His money.

If you’re not a good money manager, you won’t create the margin to give.

If you haven’t created the margin to give, you can’t ask others to do the same.

Challenge: Set a maximum income to live off of, and commit to give away the rest.

 

It will not give any man in Heaven even a moment’s joy to think that he gratified himself while here. It will give him no reflections suitable to the place to remember how much he amassed, how much he left behind to be quarreled over after he was gone; he will say to himself, “I wish I had saved more of my capital by sending it on before me, for what I saved on Earth was lost, but what I spent for God was really laid up where thieves do not break through and steal.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

 

A Final Picture of a mature steward:

The mature steward of God’s resources squeezes everything he can out of this life to rescue people, store up treasures in heaven, and work toward the pleasure of God. He shares the joy and regret of Schindler, who was able to use his money to rescue over 1,100 Jews from the genocide of Germany. At the end of the movie bearing his story, the reality of what has transpired sets in on Schindler—gratitude from those who have been saved that sparks regret for those who were not saved. Let God bring you to the place of joy at those you have rescued. They just might be your welcoming party to heaven one day…

 

I hope that you learn to manage your time and money well now, so that you can do as much ministry and give as much money as possible away to others who are doing ministry.

elderly couple

I hope that if you live a long life and manage your money well, you will eventually reach a place where you can stop working to make an income. I hope you'll mark that day by sacrificing your lifestyle's comforts in order to do as much ministry as possible. I pray that instead of a retired person with a condo on the beach and a golf game each week, you trade a vacation lifestyle for a lifestyle that is reaching, risk-taking, and serving to build the church. Retired citizens should be the church's greatest asset...instead they are often it's most selfish one.

 

Homework Assignments:

Required Reading: 30 Day Reading Plan on Bible App: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/341-money-matter

Listen to the Audio Tracks (randomly assorted)

Money Matters Videos

· Week 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLkAxtwOwt4

· Week 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63Qkrq_e4As

· Week 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLxR1fSNFP4

· Week 4 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daArgZ923YA

· Workbook: http://open.church/resources/1665-money-matters

·

Create a Budget and compare it to the budgets of others

Then break the budget down into a daily cost of living. If most of the world lives off of $2.50/day, how do you compare?
Income/household members/365 = ?

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