Pt. 2 - Training
As a kid I was crazy about horses. It is no wonder since the tv was filled with incredible shots of horse flesh like Silver (Lone Ranger) and Scout (Tonto), Champion (Gene Autry's horse who ended up with his own series called the Adventures of Champion and of course my all-time favorite and the most famous horse in tv history . . . Trigger. Roy Rogers' horse which even having his own Dell comic book recounting his exploits. I had a plastic figurine of a horse that I loved and probably still have in the attic. (Horse Picture) That’s right this is a picture of me in my favorite Spiderman shirt holding my baseball glove and this plastic horse that I treasured.
I had a shirt that had a airbrushed rearing stallion on it. I was crazy about horses and although I didn't get to ride much I can tell you from all the books and shows that although a wild horse may provide a flashy and fun to watch ride at a rodeo, the wild horse was not really welcome at the ranch or on the range when your life and livelihood was tied up in a good horse that you could count on and trust.
So, we began to talk last week about how buck wild our bucks are and like a horse we must break our buck or it will break us. We talked about the fact that we must tame our money. We must make it mind. However, taming the buck isn't easy and it is a process. Normally a horse can be broken to minimum standards of riding in 6 weeks. Although the westerns show it being in one day the truth is this usually resulted in a horse that would buck everyday afterward. So, breaking a horse was a process!
Much like a wild horse our money must also be broken.
But breaking or taming a horse was only the first step. There was ongoing training that had to take place. The same is true about our money. In order for money to remain tame . . .
We must train our money!
Last week I said it this way . . . we must make our money mind. This week I want to say this . . .
We must make our money matter!
It is as we tame our buck by training our buck that we make our money matter. Untrained money will never matter. It is here today and gone tomorrow and even though it passed through our hands we have nothing to show for it. So, in order to train our money we must embrace two "G" words.
Join me in two passages that I believe work together as a part of the training we put our money through in order for it to mind and matter.
Number 11:4-9 (MSG)
The riffraff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, “Why can’t we have meat? We ate fish in Egypt—and got it free! (LIE)—to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks and onions and garlic. But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna.” Manna was a seedlike substance with a shiny appearance like resin. The people went around collecting it and ground it between stones or pounded it fine in a mortar. Then they boiled it in a pot and shaped it into cakes. It tasted like a delicacy cooked in olive oil. When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna was right there with it.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7; 10-11 (CEB)
What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver.
The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. You will be made rich in every way (WHY WE CAN'T RELEGATE GOD'S BLESSING TO JUST MONEY) so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us.
Another version says it like this. . . This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
These seemingly unrelated passages reveal that it is God that provides the resources that we have. It is seed. God is our source. Even though someone else may sign your check it is provision from God. Every good and perfect gift comes from heaven above. So, the company name may be on the time card or envelope your paycheck arrives in it actually comes from God. These passages also reveal the two G words that God wants us to embrace to train our money. The first is G word make the second G word possible.
In Numbers, it says the Israelites would gather the mana each day and then they would grind it and bake it into cakes.
We train our money by be willing to grind!
They begin to complain about the resource. They begin to complain about provision. They were tired of grinding it out.
Too many of us miss miss provision simply because we didn’t expect a project. We miss provision because we won’t grind. In other words, we have to be willing to go to work. We must be willing to put in the time. We must be willing to do more than just float through life and never work at this. Training our money will require work. It will probably require a budget. It will require discipline spending. It will require a plan. It will require us to grind it out. To live on less than we make. In order for us to train our money we we must become people who work within the framework of the resources we have been given. Most of us don't have a resource issue, instead we have a stewardship issue. That is hard work. Our culture tells us to buy even if we don't have the resources to buy. Buy now and pay later. Grinding means resisting this trap. Out of one of Louis L'Amour books called "Sackett" he got it right when he said, “Need and desire have no connection,' 'Many people desire things they do not need. Happiness can be measured by what one does not need, but often to see is to want.” So, we must grind it out. To learn to separate need and want. Dave Ramsey explains this grind like this "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." Then he says, "To create big-time success you have to stay focused and stay intense over an extended period of time." Training isn't easy but it is necessary. How hard are you working? I am not talking about how many hours. How diligent are you with training the resources you already have? We ask for more but what if we don't actually need more and instead we just need to be more diligent and deliberate with what we already have?
The passage in 2 Corinthians relates because it reveals that God will give us enough resources. In fact, it says that He will supply us enough that we will have more than we need for ourselves. So the question isn't do we have enough? The question is are we willing to grind what we have into the necessary provision? Training money is hard work. You can't just earn and spend with no thought! You can't be controlled by impulse buying! You have to grind it out. Plan. Budget. Track. Tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Mature to the level where you can deal with delayed gratification. Make your money matter. This means having something to show for it at the end of the month, year and life other than just unpaid bills and owning stuff that no one even really wants! The truth is some of us are just lazy when it comes to training our money! We will work on our physical fitness, our mental ability, our spiritual life but we won't grind it out or work at our financial life. So, maybe I need to remind you that God doesn't bless lazy! He also doesn't bless greedy!
When we train our money by grinding it out, the second G word is possible.
To train our money we must be generous.
Notice again what Corinthians tells us. God supplies us enough not just for us, but enough that we are supposed to be generous. This requires us to train our money. We think training our money is about giving. Giving is simply the result of embracing an attitude of generosity.
Notice that Paul says God gives us enough to give away. However, we won't do that if we don't train ourselves to be generous. Without training we will become like the rich man Jesus talks about whose barns were filled to capacity and instead of giving some of it away he decides to build bigger barns and will set back for years. He dies in the middle of night and Jesus asks "who will enjoy this stuff now?" Paul reminds us that God loves a cheerful giver. One version translates that as God loves a glad, cheerful and hilarious giver. We focus on the giver and forget the attitude that must exist first which then determines whether or not God loves how we give!
God blessed giving is a result of an attitude of generosity. A cheerful giver. We have to get that attitude working or the giving part will not exist or if it does it will reluctant and not meaningful.
The equation that was once given for prayer applies to training our money too . . . discipline turns to delight. It as we practice generosity that we train our money to continue submission to Christ. Paul promised us that God would give us enough to have enough to give away. However, that pipeline gets clogged when we refuse to live generously. It will quit coming in excessively if we fail to live generously. It is part of sowing and reaping. As we live generously and give back to God and to those around us that we become fruitful and multiply.
So, in order to train our money we must grind and we must be generous.
I believe that is why tithes and offerings are so important. Tithes require us to grind it out. To live disciplined on what is ours. The 90% is ours. However, God laid claim to the 10% so that we would learn to grind it out. However, as we grind it out He calls us to be generous . . . offerings. Tithing doesn't reveal that we are generous but offerings do. That is next level. That is above and beyond. When we grind it out at tithe level God promises that He will bless us. He blesses us so that we can move to the next level . . . generous! This why we do God's Guarantee every year. God's Guarantee is part of the training. We grind for 90 days and we believe that as we do God will honor His promise and get involved with our money. Remember money is powerful and it requires a stronger master to overtake it and subdue it. As we grind He blesses and we learn to embrace generosity! Discipline turns to delight!
My challenge is are you willing to train your money? Will you grind it out for 90 days and then graduate into generosity? I can assure you God always honors His Word! If you will do what He says to do He will bless you in every area of your life so that you can be generous in every way!
I want to encourage you to download the God’s Guarantee Card by scanning the QR Code.