Life Simplified

Money Matters Simplified

October 23, 2011


Good News and Bad News:

 Recently American households have pared their debt (from $12.5 trillion to $11.6 trillion),

 Most of that came from home foreclosures and defaults on credit cards.

 89 percent of Americans say they're watching their expenditures,

 Spending has ballooned in certain areas. Telephone equipment (up 16.6 percent), pet expenses (up 14.4 percent), and child care (up 12.8 percent).

 From the start of the recession, though we have sought to cut back,

 Impulse buying still is prevalent.

Runaway spending. First, Maria Diaz, a 30-year-old waitress who was forced to move in with her mother, said, "I keep waiting for things to get better, and they just don't. After awhile I just decided, 'Screw it. I need some new clothes. I'm going to get them.' My mama's not happy, but I don't care. You stop spending, and you stop living."

Then there's the story of Harry Dugan, a 50-year-old respiratory therapist from New Jersey. Although he's "underwater" on his mortgage and he tried to curtail his expenses, he recently "had a bit of a relapse": he purchased a $900 television and a $21,000 car. "It was an impulse buy," he confessed. "If I could go back, I'd get something cheaper."


* Wealth and possessions are a gift from God, to enjoy.

Ecclesiastes 5:19

Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil--this is the gift of God.

Wealth is of great value in our world. Without it nothing good or bad gets done. Nothing gets produced, nothing gets passed on to the next generation, no new business starts etc.

But. . .

* But Wealth can distract us from him.

Proverbs 30:8-9

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?'

Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Ultimately wealth is limited in its value.

Matthew 6:19

19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

In the end, Proverbs teaches us that acquiring wealth is a blessing, but one that comes with practical and moral risks.

I. Honor God

Tennessee Titans center Kevin Long, who played under Coach Bobby Bowden at Florida State University, said his college coach inspired the team with parables. Long recounted a favorite story:

[Bowden] was playing college baseball, and he had never hit a home run. Finally he hit one down the right-field line, into the corner. He rounds first and looks to the third base coach. He turned at second, was halfway to third and the coach was still waving him on. He got to home, he hit the plate. He had his first home run, he was so excited and everybody was slapping him five. Then the pitcher took the ball, threw to the first baseman, and the umpire called him out.

[Coach Bowden] said, "If you don't take care of first base, it doesn't matter what you do. If you don't honor the Lord first, it doesn't matter what else you do."

The Tennessean (9-29-00); submitted by Rubel Shelly, Nashville, Tennessee

Proverbs 3:9-10

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

II. Stop Chasing Fantasies

Proverbs 12:11

11 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

Proverbs 28:19

19 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.


In 2010, the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium released a report showing that 48 percent of those below the poverty line in the Lehigh Valley intend to gamble at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. "The casino ads always show young glamorous-looking people gambling," said Michele Moser Deegan, a Muhlenberg College associate professor who directs the consortium. "But when you go inside, you can see that it really is the working poor and middle class. This survey shows that."

III. Stop Scheming

Proverbs 1:30-33

28 "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.

30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

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