Summary: God help us not be prideful about what we've accomplished but rather reflect a spirit of gratitude.
Introduction: You have a problem
* God's ways work
I teach how to handle money according to what the Bible says as best I can figure out. I've done that for approaching 30 years now. I've studied the Scriptures. I've had all the arguments. I've had all the criticisms. I have all the people in academia who don't understand. I have all the people with a different doctrine who don't understand, and I get all of that. But at the end of the day, most of us who love Jesus and understand that the Bible is His Word, we get that God wrote us a love letter on how to live our lives; and when we handle money this way, the weirdest thing happens-it works.
When you get out of debt, live on a budget, live on less than you make, and save money, you end up with money. It's the weirdest thing.
But we've got a problem that's developed in our culture, and the problem is that the people who I've taught to handle money well, when they handled money well, it worked. And they ended up with some. Then they're being criticized. Even some of the people who I didn't help with money have won with money, and they're being criticized.
* You are already wealthy by global standards
It's an interesting series of spirits floating around in our culture today, and it's a bit of a problem. Because here's the problem: If wealthy people are evil, you're all in trouble. If you make $34,000 a year, you're in the top 1% of the world. You're a one-percenter.
If you make $11,000 a year, which puts you substantially below the federal measure of poverty, you're in the top 10% of the world. If you have a computer, a cellphone, a television and a car, you're wealthy.
And so if wealth is evil, you've got a problem. And yet there's this spirit flowing through the land right now that's twisting a biblical view of wealth and saying that somehow because you have had some level of success-whether it's $34,000 or $340,000-you've done something wrong.
Open up your iPads, your iPhones or maybe a Bible to Luke 10:38 and John 12:1. If you want to pull them up, you can, or I'll just read them. Those of you who have been Christians since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, you'll know these stories. I didn't grow up in church, so these stories are all still so fresh to me, even though I've studied them for 30 years.
Luke 10:38 says, "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word, but Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me alone to serve? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'"
Apparently-and we can argue about it in the commentaries-they were probably the same two women in this next story. They were sisters, by the way.