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Summary: The importance of realizing that spiritual wealth and generosity are more important than material wealth.

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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.

• Think of the wealth that has been lost (retirement savings and so on) in the financial meltdown of the past several years. Could be half of their savings wiped out. Now if they would have given the other half away a few years ago, someone would have been greatly helped and the one giving would have the same left over!

Now, it’s not even there to give away! But for some it is creeping back up.

God calls some people to great wealth so that they can distribute it. (see back of bulletin—couple)

• Chic FiLA, Truett Cathy

There are many who grip their wealth—thinking they are getting ahead. Odd thing is they always seem to be needy. Then there are others who give freely—and they always seem to have more than enough.

3. Honesty in Financial Dealings is Important to God—11.1

Is God interested in the “secular” part of our lives? Yes.

Tax time. We need to consider our faith.

What about dishonest scales—illustration from another pastor:

Someone sold corn. Say 10 cents/lb is a fair price. Someone comes to you for 5 pounds—scale balance with rock on one side.

But then late at night you carve a hole in the rock and hollow some of it out, then put some clay to patch it up and paint it in.

Next day a child who doesn’t know difference comes in—or someone who is partially blind.

And you put that rock as a balance—but it is not true.

What about us today? Examples.

--Tax time

--Selling a lemon of a car. Not telling them the problems.

--Rushing a refugee family into signing a lease to apartment but then charging high rent.

• Mom has said people liked Dad. One, he carried cash; didn’t do the checks or credit cards. But it was not beyond him to pay more for something for sale. So as not to take advantage of the person.

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