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Summary: Part 4 of a five part sermon series on understanding your possessions from a Biblical perspective. Part 4 - Learn how to spend your money wisely.

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SPEND YOUR MONEY WISELY

LUKE 15:11-24

INTRODUCTION:

Intro: Shania Twain song and power point: “Ka-Ching.”

“All we ever want is more, a lot more than we ever had before so take me to the nearest store.. Can you hear it ring it makes you wanna sing. It’s such a beautiful thing.. Ka-Ching!” That Shania Twain “tongue-in-cheek” song may speak volumes about our spending habits. Many understand the line about spending it foolishly and blowing money we don’t possess. In fact, in our more honest moments many are like former PGA golfer Doug Sanders who talked about his flamboyant lifestyle. He said, "I’m working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time. I figure if I can die right after lunch next Tuesday, I’ll have it just about right." We find our money running out before our life does and in-between we have all kinds of problems. We can’t give to the Church the way we want too, we can’t save for the future the way we know we should, we can’t help others in a way that we’d like because we are under heavy financial stress. USA Today reported that 300,000 Americans seek help with credit counseling every month! Probably the most important topic we can discuss is not how we increase our earning power but how we discipline our spending habits.

The best example, in the Bible, of someone who spent unwisely is that of the prodigal son. We find his story in Lk. 15. It’s about a young man who took his Father’s inheritance and headed for the far country. A lot of time this story is used to warn us against rebellious living or illustrate the love of the Heavenly Father and both those applications are correct and useful. But today I want us to look at this story from a different angle and see that it gives us a proper perspective on spending. Here’s a man who learned lessons on sinful spending the hard way. I want us to see 4 mistakes he made in his spending & then 5 corrections he took to right himself & his relationship with his father.

I. THE MISTAKES HE MADE:

The 1st mistake he made was that he overestimated the importance of wealth. Jesus said in Lk. 12, "Beware of greed. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesses."(NIV) But apparently this young man didn’t believe that. Somehow money mattered more than his family relationships or his own integrity. He has an attitude of: "It’s mine, I’ve gotta have it!" So he says selfishly to his Father in vs:12- "I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.." His share was the most important thing to him.

But Bible tells us in the book of Proverbs that there are at least 5 things that are more important than money..

(1) Is wisdom. Prov. 3:13- "Wisdom is worth more than silver; it brings more profit than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it.."(NCV) (2) Another commodity more important than money is harmonious relationships. Pro. 15:16- "It is better to be poor and respect the LORD than to be wealthy and have much turmoil. It is better to eat vegetables with those who love you

than to eat steak with those who hate you." (3) A 3rd is integrity/truth. Prov. 20:15- "Gold there is, & rubies in abundance, but lips that speak the truth are a rare jewel." (NIV) (4) Another thing more important than wealth is your reputation. Prov. 22:1- "Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold." (5) A fifth more valuable asset is discipline & understanding. Prov. 23:23- "Buy the truth and don’t ever sell it; also get wisdom, discipline and discernment." We might add to that list, freedom, loyal friends, good health. Jesus added salvation. He asked in Mt. 16:26- "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? Is there anything worth more than your soul?(NCV)

But even though we know that there are a lot of things in life more important than money we have to be reminded of it repeatedly. Because we are surrounded by a culture that evaluates everything in terms of dollars and cents. In his book, Balancing the Tightrope, Barry Powell relates that in a survey of over 200,000 college freshman, 76% listed financial prosperity as the most important of their life goals. Is it any wonder that one of the top issues in almost every Presidential election is the economy? What has it come to when our top voting priority is our buying power? Even more important than crime, foreign policy or moral values. You see, like the prodigal son, we can buy into this world’s mind set and make the same mistake he did: that life really does consist in the things that we possess.

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