Summary: The scriptures address one of the most troubling issues of marriage.
Family Strong: Finances
Please be patient with the message today. It is one of our least favorites, typically. But before we begin, I am going to ask Stephen to come and share a testimony.
• Stephen’s Testimony
In Family Strong, we have discussed the marriage partnership and the glue that holds it best together; God’s love. Today, we will talk about a necessity that can just as quickly become an idol.
In 1928 a group of the world's most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. The following were present: The president of the largest utility company, The greatest wheat speculator, The president of the New York Stock Exchange, A member of the President's Cabinet, The greatest "bear" in Wall Street, The president of the Bank of International Settlements, The head of the world's greatest monopoly. Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the U.S. Treasury, and for years newspapers and magazines had been printing their success stories and urging the youth of the nation to follow their examples. Twenty-five years later, this is what had happened to these men:
The president of the largest independent steel company, Charles Schwab, lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died broke.
The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died abroad, insolvent.
The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, died while serving a term in Sing Sing Prison.
The member of the President's Cabinet, Albert Fall, was pardoned from prison so he could die at home.
The greatest "bear" in Wall Street, Jesse Livermore, committed suicide.
The president of the Bank of International Settlements, Leon Fraser, committed suicide.
The head of the world's greatest monopoly, Ivar Drueger, committed suicide.
All of these men had learned how to make money, but not one of them had learned how to live.
I do not know how much anyone gives, who gives regularly, who is tithing and who is just giving their $5. I have no way of knowing. I do not count the money, look at the gifts, none of that. We have a committee that takes care of that. That committee is sworn to secrecy not to share who give what. This Church is required by law to keep that private.
Paul said to give, “not reluctantly or under compulsion…” Your giving amount is between you and God. He doesn’t need your money, but wants to share His riches with you because you were obedient.
My concern in your handling of money is strictly spiritual. Jesus said more about money than He did about Heaven and Hell added together. But as an under-shepherd, my concern is that you are growing in your relationship with God. Any disobedience hurts your growth, and my duties revolve around teaching you to negotiate around the icebergs of life.
I don’t make commission on the offerings. I am on a salary, and I don’t even work for that. It is a love offering. In the grace of God’s calling, I should have to pay to do this job. If I am delivering God’s message, you could not pay for that value.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
I believe that Paul had a smirk on his face as the Holy Spirit directed Him to write this to Timothy. You expect Paul to describe preachers in the highest terms. But he compares us to an old ox who is just pulling a load.
Let’s pray and look at our passage and see the battles that finances create.
I. Battle, accumulate and own vs. utilizing for kingdom purposes. Fortune (19-21).
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Don’t be mistaken. This is not teaching that you should not have a savings or retirement account. The Bible always instructs us to operate within God’s wisdom in our finances. Proverbs 6:6-8 states, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
But the Bible is clear that our motives in savings should be pure and not the worship of money. You should save wisely, but never at the cost to the following:
1. Generosity. 1 John 3:17 ESV “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”