Financial Peace: Being Crushed by Finances

Life comes at us fast and we can get hit by some real­ly nasty sur­pris­es, includ­ing our finances. We can be crushed by finan­cial prob­lems. Our pas­tors are lead­ing us through a five week series address­ing the spir­i­tu­al aspects of finances. Pastor Bart real­ly preached a good one Sunday, teach­ing us some real impor­tant truths regard­ing our mon­ey, the most impor­tant is that we must first start with our rela­tion­ship with God. By doing so, we can take the oth­er steps of han­dling our finances with­out being crushed by them.

Here is my ser­mon notes first:

Matt 6:24 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
, you can not serve both God and mon­ey. God knows this.

Who is in charge? Older, wis­er, more pow­er­ful. We can not mas­ter mon­ey.

Golem, from the book Lord of the Rings, thought he owned the One Ring but real­ly the Ring owned him and every­one else that tried to mas­ter it.

Spend fool­ish­ly or save wise­ly, both can feel emp­ty when mon­ey is the mas­ter. We must serve God.

God is the only one who can mas­ter mon­ey because He is old­er, wis­er, more pow­er­ful.

It is hard to believe we are not the mas­ter of mon­ey nut we are not.

God gives us mon­ey for us to man­age. He has expec­ta­tions of us with regards to that mon­ey.

Tithing isn’t giv­ing back to God, it is giv­ing to God’s mis­sion — giv­ing to the local church.

God also wants us to give our tax­es, to invest in learn­ing„ to bless oth­ers, and to meet own per­son­al needs.

God is con­cerned about how we man­age all the mon­ey that He has giv­en us, all 100% of it. He expects us to man­age it well.

We need to have God as our mas­ter, not mon­ey.

Matt 6:31–32 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
. God will take care of us.

The real answer to crush­ing finan­cial prob­lems is to work on our rela­tion­ship with God.

Joy and I are attend­ing a thir­teen week class at Flatland called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. We are about half way through it. Joy and I are in a finan­cial dis­as­ter and I cer­tain­ly need some peace. Although this ser­mon series is focus­ing on the spir­i­tu­al truths that God has taught us in His Word, it tied into many of the things that we are learn­ing at FPU. The ser­mon series real­ly helps keep us focused on the most impor­tant aspect of finan­cial peace, the spir­i­tu­al truths and God Himself.

A cou­ple things real­ly stood out to me Sunday. One was the fact that only God can mas­ter mon­ey… with the run­ning semi-joke through­out the ser­mon about God being old­er, wis­er and more pow­er­ful than mon­ey. This in a sense, real­ly frees us from a lot of mon­ey wor­ries. How many times do we lay in bed fret­ting over our fnan­cial sit­u­a­tion and start try­ing to fig­ure out just how we are going to wres­tle it under our con­trol. By real­iz­ing and liv­ing the fact that we can’t mas­ter mon­ey, only God can, then we can start let­ting God take over. I am gonna try to keep say­ing that when I am toss­ing and turn­ing fret­ting over our finan­cial dis­as­ter.

A sec­ond thing was that Jesus Himself said that we can not serve both God and mon­ey, One or the oth­er will become our mas­ter. God knows this! and He will be there to help us with our finances as we make God our mas­ter. I actu­al­ly was side-tracked by this thought for a bit dur­ing the ser­vice. God wants to be our Lord. He knows that mon­ey will mas­ter us. As such, He will equip us with every­thing we need to man­age the mon­ey He pro­vides us. I often feel rather inse­cure about finances. But if I remem­ber that when I fol­low God’s prin­ci­ples about mon­ey, He will help me.

Finally, and I am embar­rased to say, I kind of rebelled when Pastor said that tithing isn’t giv­ing back to God, rather it is giv­ing to God’s mis­sion in this world. I agreed with his state­ments to a degree. We are to tithe to help our local church and its mis­sion God has placed on it. Tithing is all about that. Many of the offer­ings brought to the tem­ple as spec­i­fied in the Torah, were to feed and oth­er­wise ben­e­fit the priests and their min­istry. We tithe to build up our local church and its min­is­ters!

However, in part tithing is tru­ly a giv­ing to God. What do I mean? Two things: first Malachi 3:8 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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says that not giv­ing your tithes is cheat­ing God. This speaks to me that giv­ing tithes is giv­ing to God even though it is in prac­ti­cal terms giv­ing to the Church.

Second, there is a prin­ci­ple of ded­i­ca­tion to God in the Old Testament as we see in the sto­ry of the bat­tle of Jericho. In that sto­ry, God demand­ed the Israelites ded­i­cate every­thing in Jericho to Him by destroy­ing every­thing. This was a visu­al exam­ple of what it means to be ded­i­cat­ed to God. Dedication means that it is God’s and God’s alone. By destroy­ing every­thing, no one could then poss­es any part of Jericho. Of course, in the sto­ry, some one did take stuff which result­ed in dis­as­ter until all that which was tak­en was total­ly and irrev­o­ca­bly giv­en to God by burn­ing it up.

Tithing is ded­i­cat­ing a tenth of what we make to God — it is a total and irrev­o­ca­ble turn­ing over to God. You can see this in some of the instruc­tions regard­ing tithing, such as in Deuteronomy 12 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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where the tithing of grain etc was to be eat­en in whole, by both the tither and by the priests. Again, yes, the pur­pose is to take care of the min­istry of the church (as can be seen in the con­stant reminder to take care of the Levites). But in the end, it is ded­i­cat­ing to God a por­tion of that which God has giv­en us. This means for those con­trol freaks that once you give your tithes you have no say in how it is used! It isn’t yours any­more, its God’s!

Ok, to bring it back to how this ser­mon affect­ed me, I will this whole week spend time in prayer and med­i­ta­tion releas­ing my fears about our finan­cial dis­as­ter to God. Wait, let me restate that. Although this week will be a focused effort, I desire from now on to allow God to be the mas­ter of mon­ey and not try to mas­ter it myself. I will also ded­i­cate myself to being a bet­ter man­ag­er of that which God has giv­en us. Just because I am not the mas­ter of mon­ey, does not reduce my oblig­a­tions to man­age that which God has giv­en me.

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