Summary: Explores how to remain focused in a time of financial uncertainty.
Continuing series… entitled Spiritual Insight for Insecure Times.
I imagine each of us can sense something of the uncertainty in the air.
• As I watch the now global drama of economic news, I see our sense of security being shaken loose..
• As I watch the value of homes and savings drop dramatically, I see myself staring into the true uncertainty of wealth.
• As I watched fires engulf hundreds of homes in the Southland this weekend, I’m reminded of the temporary nature of our possessions.
It is a time of very real loss for many… but also a time of reflective looking… of looking afresh at the values that shape our lives.
As we saw last week… Jesus didn’t speak about money as much as our relationship to money and material possessions.
• When money and possessions become our primary source of security and significance… we will end up serving them as our god.
• There is a reason that terrorists attacked the Twin Towers… and the World Trade Center before it. They believed that they were striking at our symbolic source of security.
And as such, while our nation fights a war on terror… and our leaders seek to navigate the practical means to manage an economic crisis…. we do well to consider the spiritual principles and practices that establish a right relationship with money.
Today I want us to engage the most central spiritual dynamic that relates to managing money… that of TRUST in God.
I can imagine that some here might be a bit put off by what you perceive of as a religious leader talking about money… and especially about giving. I probably can’t take away all the discomfort… I’m not even sure I want to. But I do want you to know that I understand this is sensitive….filled the potential for manipulation. So let me just tale a moment to express that I have sincerely sought to be faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures and Jesus… and I’m more than open to discussing this further as any may wrestle with that intent. I also want to note that I am a fellow follower of Jesus’ way of life… and as such… I have sought to bring my own life into the reality he teaches…including that of money and giving…. whether when I painted houses for a living… or worked in social services… or served as a pastor. The following principles are as personal as they are pastoral.
As a culture we deem money a material affair… separate from spiritual matters. But nothing could be more misguided.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight….. 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.”
Later God says through the prophet Malachi….
Malachi 3:7-10 (NIV)
“Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, ’How are we to return?’ 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, ’How do we rob you?’ "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”