Summary: The importance of realizing that spiritual wealth and generosity are more important than material wealth.
Intro: Money a bit part of our lives but we often keep it private.
Do you remember your earliest memories of money?
• Alden bank book—savings
• Dad’s businesses: Budget Foods store in Buffalo… Schultz’ Produce Market. Landscaping… Colonial Shoppe Antiques…Selling privately later, antiques.
• Wasn’t wealthy but liked to drive a Lincoln Continental
• Giving was important: “You can never out-give God”
My parents not into big savings, retirement—so they spent it along the way. Took trips to Fl and VT.
I’m more into frugality myself—more boring! Less trips, less fun.
Wealth and Poverty is a major subject in scripture. Some 70 sayings about wealth and poverty in the Main Collection of Proverbs.
Story in 2 Samuel 12.1-2 reveals that way back in the OT there was great disparity among people. It’s a story about rich man who had “very many flocks and herds” and a poor man “had nothing but one little lamb.”
What wisdom about money can we learn from Proverbs?
1. Spiritual wealth is more important than material wealth
See 11.4; 15.16-17; 16.8; 19.22; 22.1-2
Notice use of the word “better” in those verses. Having wealth is important in life, but there are things that are better than wealth—or more important.
Growing up, parents put much emphasis on achievement—so the kids can learn and then get a good job. But even more important than that is emphasizing spiritual achievement. The spiritual life. We’re going to live a lot longer in the next life than the 75-80 years we may have in this life. So which one should we invest in more?
Spiritual wealth is compared to a treasure---Mt. 13.44-45
• Elim Bible Institute. Talk about singing hymns with gusto! Little red Redemption Hymnal (small because it only had the words). We would blast out the hymns, and one I remember as favorite went this way:
I found the pearl of greatest price----my heart doth leap for joy! My heart doth leap for joy!
And sing I must, for Christ I have!
O what a Christ have I, Hallelujah, O what a Christ have I!
O what a Christ have I.
We all need to come to the place in our relationship with God when we choose what is really the most valuable to us.
Wealth is not wrong or evil in and of itself.
But whoever finds wealth should never forget that there is something much greater than that wealth! Much more valuable.
Look at 11.4. On Judgment Day no one is going to be comparing IRA’s and mutual funds!
(up on screen) John Piper “There are no U-Haul’s behind hearses!
Make sure you are making spiritual investments!
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything will be added to you as well.”
2. Generosity Towards Others is the Way to Blessing 11.24-25
“I thought if I horded wealth and saved and saved that I would have more and more.”
Here in the text there is a paradox, an irony—Someone is scattering, yet increasing. While another holds on tight to what he has and experiences poverty.