Summary: What is practically more important to us in this society than money and the things it can buy? Oh we might say that our family, or friendships, or health are more important, but is that what is seen in the way we live our lives day to day?
What is practically more important to us in this society than money and the things it can buy? Oh we might say that our family, or friendships, or health are more important, but is that what is seen in the way we live our lives day to day? Do our lives not look like they are more often devoted to work, money, things, and recreation, unless there are problems with our family, friends, and health?
Jesus taught more about money and possessions than just about anything else, and therefore we are not doing our duty unless we teach about it in church. Let’s face it, in our culture money motivates more people and causes more stress than anything else on a regular basis.
An anonymous wise man once said, “If you want to get better off financially, Quit buying things.” And Henry David Thoreau said “Just about everyone knows how to make money, but very few know how to spend it.”
Why does Jesus spend so much time teaching about this stuff? Let’s look at what he said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:19-34. You cannot serve God and money. You have to make a choice. Do you want God and eternal life, or do you want your money and your stuff. You actually can have both, many do, but if you serve money, if you live for it instead of God, you will have eventually have spiritual trouble.
The main points here are that stuff is temporary; the one who dies with the most toys is dead and it ain’t yours anymore. That if you are overly devoted to money, you cannot serve God as well, and that we shouldn’t be anxious about not having enough, because God wants to provide for our needs.
Paul reminds us in 1Timothy 3:3 not to be a lover of money, and Hebrews 13:5 tells us to keep our lives free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you”.
Nowhere in Scripture does it say we shouldn’t have money or that it’s bad, but it’s the excessive love of, and being a slave to money and possessions, that brings problems and anxiety. It’s the most common way we Christians show a lack of faith in God’s provision. The goal is to have peace about your finances because you trust God to provide what you need.
Maybe not everything you want, but everything you need. So today I hope to give us some practical wisdom about financial peace, much of which comes from Dave Ramsey’s work from financial peace university.
First we begin with general principles, starting with:
Impulsiveness and immediate gratification are our biggest enemies when it comes to financial peace. We want the immediate satisfaction over the long term peace and security. Ramsey calls this “Stuffitis” and says the best way to deal with it is to create a budget and develop “power over purchase”. To not care about being rich or poor because you have God, and eternal life.
I know many people hate the word budget and see it as a chore that takes all the fun out of life, but even the Bible supports this. Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness by those trained by it”.
Proverbs 27:23 tells us to “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.” In our day this relates to our finances. Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty”. And Proverbs 23:4, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist”.
There have been many times when I have walked away from an unnecessary purchase feeling much better than when I gave in and bought something I wanted but didn’t need. It can give you a good sense of freedom to walk away.
In many ways learning to be better off financially involves a complete change in our thinking from short-term to long-term. This is really what being a Christian is all about, putting more emphasis on the future, and less on the here and now, especially when it comes to our worldly desires.
How many of you get more excited about saving money than spending it? The motto of Financial Peace University is “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else!” Discipline today will make the future much more enjoyable and peaceful. And the way to this is through:
II. Saving and Investing your money.
Again let’s turn to the Bible. Proverbs 21:20, “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it”. Remember Joseph when he was leading Egypt? he said, “let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land of Egypt against the seven years of famine that are coming, so that the land may not perish through the famine”.