Summary: In this prolonged, difficult economic recession, what role does our Christian faith play? What does treasuring God's money look like?
“Treasuring God’s Money”
2 Chron. 20:1-17; Heb. 12:25-29
I treasure my family. That’s why I have pictures of Barb and our kids and grandkids in my office (and on my computer screen.) There’s little I wouldn’t do for them; there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect them. That’s just what we do when we treasure something. We take pride in it, we protect it, we treat it with love, and we use it wisely. And that’s pretty much what stewardship of financial resources is all about. When it comes to money – which, by the way is not ours but God’s - the extent to which we treasure it will determine how we treat and use it. In this prolonged, difficult economic recession what role does our Christian faith play? In tough times what does treasuring God’s money look like? What should or witness to the world look like?
I am not an economist. If you are hoping to hear some great financial tips on what to do, you will be disappointed. I am a pastor whose heart is heavy for all who have been deeply impacted by the melt down. I am a preacher who desires to apply the Word of God to the issues of the day. My intent is not to propose a biblical economic structure that we could promote – I’ll leave that to others far more equipped to do so. Rather I want to suggest biblical perspectives that will, I believe, help us truly treasure God’s money.
First, there is A THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE. The Bible teaches repeatedly that GOD IS IN CONTROL – and God is unshakable. God sovereignly orchestrates human events to bring us into right relationship with Him. The prophet Isaiah spoke powerfully about this. (40:23-24) “He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.” (45:7) “I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.” (46:4) “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” God is in control.
To believe that God is in control is to acknowledge that THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE CANNOT CONTROL. The economy is one of those things. Economies can meltdown or turn south because of famine, natural disasters, military conquests, war, oppressive governments, and bad policies. The bad news is we have little or no control over these forces. But the good news is that God does. It’s all in his hands.
And this means that GOD TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR LIVES. God has our backs! It’s not up to us to solve the problem! Think about the life of Joseph. To develop Israel into a nation God had to change their social structure and get them into a land and under conditions where they could thrive and grow. So He made Pharaoh all-powerful and favorable towards this little band of Israelites – and the Israelite population grew from this single family into a nation of 1 to 2 million people. God is never at a loss for means to affect his purpose. GOD USES EVEN THE ECONOMY FOR HIS PURPOSES! He used Joseph, Joseph’s brothers, Potiphar, Pharaoh, Egypt, and a famine to position his people to eventually be the light of the world. God is never at a loss for means to affect his purpose.
GOD IS A MASTER DISCIPLINARIAN. Patrick Morley, in his book “Surviving the Economic Meltdown”, stated that God has three ways of dealing with people who have lost their focus. “Sometimes He withholds the thing they think they can’t live without. Sometimes He gives them so much of what they want that they “gag” on it. And sometimes—as in a meltdown—he removes the thing they think they can’t live without.” Certainly King David understood this. (Ps. 119:67) “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” (Ps. 119:71) “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (Ps. 119:75) “I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” Hebrews 12: 5-11 (MSG) states it differently yet powerfully. “My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. It's the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so