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Summary: Thinking biblically on money and its hold on us

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MONEY: ITS GRIP ON US

By Andrew Chan, GIBC, Vancouver, BC

2002-04-21

What some people won’t do for money.

In an attempt to collect 40,000 euros ($44,780) in insurance payments, a 58-year-old German landscape gardener had a friend cut off his thumb and forefinger with a chainsaw.

According to authorities, the gardener held onto a cutting board while his accomplice, a 28-year-old trucker, sawed off his friend’s fingers. The gardener then threw the severed digits away before claiming money from two different insurance companies. The police arrested both men after one of them was overheard bragging about the ruse.

Both men were convicted in a Wuerzburg, Germany, courtroom. The eight-fingered gardener was given a probationary sentence of one-and-a-half-years, while his chainsaw-wielding accomplice (because of a previous criminal record) received a jail sentence.

“In fact, 15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic (money and possessions) – more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined. Why did Jesus put such an emphasis on money and possessions? Because there’s a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. We may try to divorce our faith and our finances, but God sees them as inseparable.”

- Randy Alcorn in The Treasure Principle (2001, p.8)

Read Luke 3:7-14 (NLT)

7 Here is a sample of John’s preaching to the crowds that came for baptism: “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming judgment? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say, ‘We’re safe—we’re the descendants of Abraham.’ That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

10 The crowd asked, “What should we do?”

11 John replied, “If you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13 “Show your honesty,” he replied. “Make sure you collect no more taxes than the Roman government requires you to.”

14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.

John replied, “Don’t extort money, and don’t accuse people of things you know they didn’t do. And be content with your pay.”

Interesting isn’t it that John’s reply to the crowd, the tax collector and the soldier is linked to money and possessions?

"A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing."

Martin Luther

“There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, the mind and the purse. Of these three, it may well be that we moderns find the conversion of the purse the most difficult.” Martin Luther

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Missionary, Jim Elliott.

Luke 12:13-34 (NLT)

13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.”

16 And he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. 18 So he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store everything. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get it all?’

21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

22 Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. 23 For life consists of far more than food and clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! 26 And if worry can’t do little things like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! 29 And don’t worry about food—what to eat and drink. Don’t worry whether God will provide it for you. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

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