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Summary: Practical sermon on managing our money according to God’s priorities, encourages living within means, being content with what we have and tithing.

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Ps. 24:1

As our memory verse reflects everything on the earth is the Lord’s, however he gives us each a portion to use. How we use the portion given to us is called stewardship. Over the past two weeks we have looked at how we are stewards of the time and talent God have given us. We have explored how God desires for us to manage and use our time, talents, and gifts according to God’s priorities. Remember if it is God’s in the first place we are simply seeking how God expects us to use them. Today our focus is on one of the hardest subjects to teach and preach about, our treasure. It is a hard subject because most of us are very touchy when it comes to our finances. Yet Jesus spoke more about money and possessions than any other topic because, as Jesus reflected, in Matthew 6:21, we tend to place our treasure where our heart or our values really are. I have heard a preacher say, if I were to take your checkbook and go through it, I could tell what your true values and priorities are. Yet, God wants us to reflect his values, which is therefore reflected in how we use our treasure. We can say what is important for us, however how we use our money reflects our real priorities. Today we are going to look at God’s priorities for the treasure he has blessed us with.

1. I must live within my means.

Living within our means, means we do not spend more than we make on a monthly basis. It means we control our spending keeping our needs, wants, and desires in their proper relationship. Just so that we are clear, our needs are the basic requirements food, clothing, shelter, medical. Wants are the choices of quality of goods we regularly purchase, Ambercrombie & Fitch clothes vs. Wal-mart clothes, hamburger vs. steak. Desires are the things we wish to have but do not need. God promises to take care of our needs, however God does not promise to meet our wants and desires. God promises to feed us, but he did not promise to feed us steak every night for dinner. So as we begin to look at God’s plan for financial peace, we need to get our priorities straight.

A. Do not spend what you do not have.

"Never spend your money before you have it."

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Message Proverbs 24:27 "First plant your fields; then build your barn (house)."

Plant your field and then you can build your barn for storing the grain. Don’t get the cart in front of the horse. If you build your barn or your house first then you may miss the season of planting, and it¡¦s too late you run out of money to and come harvest time you’ve got nothing, your income is dry, and you can’t pay for the barn or house you built.

My dad said something similar to me as I was growing up, "do your chores or your homework first, and then you can play."

We are increasingly living in an instant gratification society. We want it, and we want it now. I think it is a Burger King slogan in a nutshell which emphasizes this, "Have it your way, right away at Burger King now." Burger King’s slogan reflects what society wants and they made a slogan which would meet the needs of people.

Unfortunately our wanting our way right away influences the way we spend our money. We want it whether we can afford it or not. We buy impulsively because we can. If I was around forty years ago, I might not be preaching on using money, but the invention of the credit card has changed everything, we now buy everything on credit, which allows us to buy impulsively. Don’t have the money, no problem, charge it. I’ll pay for it later. As long as I can have the satisfaction of enjoying it now.

As of February 2004, the average credit card debt is $7,500/household, or $9,000/household of those who actually have credit cards.

Buying on credit is based on the false understanding that if I buy it today, even without the money to back it up, I will have the money next month to pay it off, so we argue, it’s ok to buy it. If I can’t pay it off at that point, I can pay the minimum payment.

In my first job out of college I worked with another recent college graduate who managed to build up $25,000 in credit card debt. It snowballed on him because he would keep charging, and when payment time rolled around he would pay the minimum payment. The high interest on credit cards continued to mount until he found himself in so much debt he had to file bankruptcy to get out. Fortunately by the time I had met him, he was heading successfully getting himself out of debt.

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