Summary: This is part one of a four part series on financial management. Part one focuses on how we should pay ourselves in preparation for our future retirement.
Godly Financial Management – Part 1
This series will close out the multi-series that I have done this year on being a slave for Christ. In these four messages, I will focus on how we must take steps to get our finances in order so that we will be able to fully accomplish what God has called us to do. I will focus on four areas: Pay God; Pay Self; Pay Bills; Pay (Give to) Others. I will start today with “Paying Self” because if we do not get this in order we will never be able to fully pay God. As you consider what I will say to you this morning I want you to remember this in the weeks to come as you consider your Christmas shopping. During this time of year many will create more debt than they currently have. In the spirit of “Christmas” people will spend what they do not have and even raid their savings accounts to cover the cost of gifts. Many people describe Christmas as big or small based on how much they can afford to spend on gifts for others. This year I hope that before you spend a penny on gifts for others, you will pay yourself first and start down a road to truly become financially debt free.
I have used the word “pay” in each reference of the four specific areas I will be focusing on. The reason that I selected this word is that when you pay something you give money to whomever you owe and the money leaves your sight and your possession. We see this when we give money to the Church; when we pay our bills; and when we give money to others. But we do not necessarily see this when it comes to paying ourselves. For some people this means giving yourself an allowance and you can spend it on whatever you wish. For others it means paying yourself and acting like the money is no longer in your possession. The latter is what I want us to consider this morning. When you pay yourself you take the money and put it somewhere out of sight with no intention of touching it until you retire or run into a real financial emergency. Let us begin with our foundational Scripture from Proverbs 22:7. It says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” In this verse Solomon wrote that the person who borrows money becomes the slave of the person from whom they borrowed the money. In the verse preceding this one he wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” In this series I am trying to help us train up our children so that they do not repeat our mistakes. According to God’s standard, we should operate on a cash basis. If we have the cash, then we can make the purchase. No cash, no purchase. Whenever we make a purchase and we finance it, we are actually buying something that we cannot afford to buy at that time. I know this sound radical, but think of it like this: if we’re financing something and we fail to make a couple of payments, they repossess whatever it was that we purchased and we lose everything that we put into it. Although we were making payments, we do not fully own it until its paid for. Think about a car that is repossessed if we fail to make the payments. If they repossess our car; sell it for less money than we owe on it, we will owe them the difference and they will come after us to collect what is owed. James said “…..Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?” (James 2:6) James stresses that it is the rich who take the poor to court to collect what they believe is owed them. The borrower becomes the slave of the lender and the lender will collect their due. Why is this a problem from God’s view point? Turn with me to the sixteenth chapter of the book of Luke. We will begin reading at verse ten.
I. You Cannot Serve Two Masters
In Luke 16:10-13 Jesus makes the following statement: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” In this example Jesus told the story of a rich man who had a dishonest manager (servant) who was squandering his money. When the rich man discovered how the manager was losing his money he asked him to give an account for his actions. The rich man also decided that he would terminate the manager. Upon hearing this, the manager then went to those who owed the rich man money and reduced how much they owed him so that these people would be indebted to him and would assist him once he lost his job.