Monday, March 09, 2009

How does Jesus want you to handle Money?

What do you tend to be generous with, time, money or? What causes you not to be generous?

There are two ways in which a Christian may view his money--How much of my money shall I use for God? or How much of God's money shall I use for myself?

Have you ever wondered what the wealthy think about money?

Over two years ago, I helped my mom, who is a caterer in Carmel, do a party hosted by Warren Buffet's daughter for some of the richest people in the world…Buffet, Bill Gates to name drop a few. They were amused that a pastor was tending bar, and one that raised his own support…I can't tell you what they told me, but I can tell you the same with these quotes:

· I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness--John W. Rockefeller.
· The care of $200,000,000 is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it--W.H. Vanderbilt.
· I am the most miserable man on earth--John Jacob Astor.
· I was happier when doing a mechanic's job--Henry Ford.
· Millionaires seldom smile--Andrew Carnegie.

What does stewardship or finances mean to you?

When stewardship or finance comes up, we may realize our failings. Guilt and Greed rears their ugly head, and calls for the primordial reaction of fight or flight. Or we lust to get what we want that overtakes us, ignores God's precepts and diminishes our faith. Thus, we can think we can fight or hide or run where there is no such requirement or responsibility for money, so we hide in our fears or run for the riches thinking this is where my happiness lays.

Or we can think this way, I received my gift of grace, yet I will not send a thank-you to God, nor will I use it for His glory. It is to sit on my shelf for my comfort and insurance only. And, for the most part, God will let us keep it there. But, with the beauty of grace--no strings attached. But, what good is a car if all it does is stay parked? Without care, it will rust, degrade, and be of no value, even with 0 miles on the odometer. Yes, grace is given without strings attached, except for our faith. We have a higher calling and opportunity…

Two verses for you:

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)

The key is Looking to God and not to One's Self!

Try to see it like this: we are on a playground that God owns, all of the buildings, equipment the sand and the Sun all for the furtherance of the kingdom and His SON. At the same time, the storms of the devil and our complacency cause a hindrance and breakdown to the equipment affecting our work and our fun. With spiritual strength we can fend off the devil, but it takes diligence, and a will surrendered to God to build the park and play the game of life well.

Here are some things to think about: Healthy living and contentment is found in one key word, Gratitude! What Christ has done for you! Stewardship honors God with all of the relationships and resources in our life! Thus, we are able to give Him gratitude for what He did for us and recognize His sovereignty, which is His control and ownership of all things. In this way, we can honor Him with our worship as well as with our material goods and abilities and trust Him with our future too. The result is a life of better decision making, joy, stress free and as they say in the land down under, no-worries.

Helps to get out of debt:

A warning: beware of your motives. Do not give because you expect to get! God is not a divine bellhop, and He is not required to give you anything. Yet, He does, out of His love and grace! Some very bad teaching has been sneaking in like a snake its way in our churches and airwaves, called the “Health and Wealth” gospel. It says that if you give your money to the preacher or church, God will bless you or give you ten times more, or whatever amount they come up with. They tell you that “Jesus wants you wealthy,” “Jesus wants you rich,” “Jesus wants you prosperous,” and “God wants you rich!” (Direct quotes from Christian Research Institute by several different preachers!)

Key Bible verses on Stewardship: Psalm 24:1; Proverbs 3:9-10; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Ephesians 5:15-16; James 1:17

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