God’s Money | Wk 5

Through out the book of Proverbs, King Solomon is helping us understand HOW to live this life. What can we do on Earth to fulfill what God has called us to do?
 
And so far, over the last few weeks we’ve talked about “Growing in Knowledge”, then we looked at “Trusting in the Lord” and “Following God’s Plan”…so what are some practical ways for me to do that? What does Solomon say we can do here…what tools can we use to trust and follow?   Solomon teaches us about the tool God gave us – our finances. The wealthiest man on Earth leads us in our first ever “Financial Peace University”…but he challenges us on whose finances we really have to use.
Proverbs 22:2
The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all.
 
In this verse Solomon makes us a distinction between the rich and the poor… there is something here that is not altogether easy to grasp. We may feel like overlooking this but there are some great lessons in what these two classes have in common. The mind of Solomon (the richest of all men) and the author of this proverb was interested more in the areas they have in common than the obvious differences.
 
Commentary (J. S. Spencer, D.D.) Rich and Poor both;They are equally dependent, equally helpless, equally miserable.
  1. Same in their training and preparation for after-life.
  2. There is a desire for wealth which arises from the hope of making it useful to one’s own.
  3. Between rich and poor there is very similar perceptions of what is enjoyment.
  4. Abilities and Intelligence is equal.
  5. They are alike in their natural and equal dependence upon one another. Neither class can stand independent and alone.
  6. There is a nearly equal distribution of the disappointments, health issues, busyness and distresses of life.
  7. There is perfect equality among men in their capabilities for religion.

Knowing the similarities between the rich and poor can help us again see what this verse is saying to us today…

Proverbs 22:2 The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all.
 
Job sees the same truth…
Job 34:19 19 He doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor. He made them all.
 
God made it all…so He owns it all…he’s in charge of us…our jobs and our money. We’re just here on Earth managing the things that have belonged to Him all along. The Bible says that God owns it all. The LORD is the maker…   “My” money isn’t mine; but I’m responsible for it.   I think it’s pretty common for us to look at money as ours…mine. So you’re not alone. This outlook on life can really become a problem…if it creeps into our heart and makes us a “slave to money” instead of what we’re supposed to be a “slave to Christ”. As a follower of Jesus that’s really who we are.   Often times we think of ourselves as servants…but that’s wrong because a servant works for a master. The master pays the servant and the servant is the owner of their salary. But that’s exactly opposite to what Peter and James and Paul and many other writers of the New Testament said.
 
Romans 1:1
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.
 
2 Peter 1:1
This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
 
Even Jesus half brother introduces himself as
James 1:1
This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
…they didn’t say servant – they’re slaves. They do what they’re told…forever…no holidays…no PTO…no weekends even. They own nothing and are in charge of nothing…simply put they’re responsible for doing what they’re instructed to do.   We are slaves to our master – the one that made it all and owns it all too.   We may think that our stuff belongs to us, but God says clearly in His word that it really belongs to him.
 
Here are some examples:
Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.
 
Psalm 50:10
For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
 
Psalm 50 was written in a time when the economy was based on agriculture, and animals like cows, goats and sheep were considered units of wealth. So when God talks about owning livestock, He’s not just saying that He has lots of pets. He’s demonstrating that He is the creator and owner of all of the wealth in the whole world. And so when Solomon teaches us these words to live by…
 
Proverbs 22:2
The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all.
 
He’s showing us we are responsible for caring for “God’s money” therefore we need to use it like He would?   Every dollar I spend ought to have eternal purpose attached to it…if God really owns everything, I’m responsible to Him for how I spend the money He has allocated to me. That means every dollar I spend should be spent like he would…we’re responsible for his money…
 
Last Friday night we were at Owen’s baseball game. He got up to bat and hit a great single right down the third base line…he ran it out and beat throw safe at 1st base. After a couple steals and another hit he made it home safe scoring a run. He was feeling good when he came off the field.   And when we got to the dugout his coach congratulated him for “breaking his 1st bat.” A Milestone for baseball players…not incredibly uncommon. In fact another parent told us that we needed to take that bat home have him sign it and hang it on the wall. But instead of feeling proud of his accomplishment…Owen looked like he was about to burst into tears…he walked over to me and apologized for breaking it…knowing that it was a gift to him and cost more than $300 – he knew it was going to cost me money to replace it. He had a different perspective about ownership. He knew the cost wasn’t coming out of his pocket…and it changed his response.
 
Does our understanding of ownership change the way we feel about money…does it change the way we spend “our” money? God is the one paying for everything we have…He made it all. So if we are OWNED by God…and live as slaves to Him. And if we understand our purpose on this earth are to fulfill His plans using the resources He’s given to us then it should affect how we live and act and spend. Even Solomon – the greatest, wisest, wealthiest man in the world still has to acknowledge God as his Maker. And he has the same responsibility to God as anyone…wealthy or poor. Everyone has been made by God…even the poorest and the weakest were made the same way…for the same purpose. Do you see God as your Master…do you recognize him in complete authority and power?   Not completely different than the questions we’ve asked over the last few weeks…do you TRUST God completely – and rely on Him? Do you see God guiding your course? And do you recognize him as your maker and master?    
 
Does this belief affect our lives?
Our actions should be affected by our beliefs. The way we act should reflect the things that we believe…right?

If we believe we look better when we wear blue – we should wear more blue…right? If we believe that our children should be well rounded…as parents we should engage our kids in sports and music and academics right? So – if we didn’t do that…if we never wore blue, if we didn’t ever sign our kids up for sports – then you’d have to ask the question do we really “believe” those principles? If your actions don’t reflect your beliefs…do we really believe them? Kyle Idleman – author and pastor – identifies a psychiatric term… when a patient clings to “a belief” but that belief has no evidence in reality it’s not called a belief at all…the clinical term for it is a delusion.   A belief, no matter how sincere, if not reflected in reality isn’t a belief, it’s a delusion.   And Solomon is saying the same thing…in this chapter Solomon says IF we believe God owns it all…then we need to live like He does. And the wealthiest man to ever live said it clearly holds true in regards to money.   Solomon said…   Proverbs 22:9 Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.   Proverbs 22:16

16 A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.
 
If we are unwilling to share “God’s Money” to do His work then do we really think it’s “God’s money.” If reality doesn’t match our beliefs then it’s not a belief it’s a delusion.   Do you believe God owns it all? Do you believe that your purpose is for God’s purpose? Are you here to grow the kingdom of heaven? Are you using the tools God has given you for His purpose?
 
CONCLUSION
What will we do in response? How do we use our money to impact the kingdom…what would God be doing with His money?  Looking at the church we have Kingdom work that God has given us to do…we have to impact a city.
 

Even right here…in this building we have to make room for guests by completing our parking lot expansion…we need to pursue our next location so people in another community will be able to experience a community like this. This is done with God’s money – that we are responsible for…our tithes and offerings. It’s our weekly giving that makes this possible.   Maybe you haven’t thought about giving or maybe you haven’t gone from just visiting to realizing that we don’t have membership in a formal way but your weekly attendance/ your giving/ and your serving makes you a member of this beautiful community.  You are needed in this vision…you are part of this mission and we lock arms together in our giving to help carry out this call on our lives.   You can begin the journey to freedom by:

  1. Pray today to surrender all that you have.
  2. Join FPU and make that a priority.
  3. Consider not only your weekly tithe but your offering to God which is above your tithes.
  4. Have an accountable mentor to come alongside you with wisdom and inspiration to help you live the financial life that God has planned for you. (Branches could offer to partner them with someone)
Learning to make the most of the money God has given you doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and discipline to go from where you are today to where God wants you to be. For years, FPU(Dave Ramsey) has been helping people discover God’s plan for financial freedom, and that might be a great first step. I know it was for my family. I know the enemy uses MONEY to break down marriages and families, and keep each of us from doing and being ALL that God is calling us to be.   I love how Dave Ramsey leads off with a Proverb…and a proverb about slaves too. I want you to realize neither Dave Ramsey nor Solomon are against money…in the class Dave says – God wants you to have nice things. And Solomon says…
 
Proverbs 22:4
True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.
 
Solomon is NOT saying wealth is bad…in fact he’s pointing out how you might attain more. BUT Solomon is warning us this morning…what are we slaves to? Where is our heart REALLY?  
 
C H Spurgeon’s comments…
MATTHEW 6:19-34 THE KING GIVES COMMANDS AS TO THE CARES OF THIS LIFE He would not have his servants seeking two objects, and serving two masters. He calls them away from anxieties about this life to a restful faith in God
 
Matthew 6:19
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
 
Money and faith cannot be separated. The same as attending church on Sunday (our “spiritual activity”) should not be separated from how we act Monday through Friday.
 
GOD OWNS IT ALL
 
Proverbs 22:2
… The LORD is the maker of them all.

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