Money – Who is The Master Now?

What does the Bible tell us about money?  The Key Passage is 1 Tim. 6:6-10 in which Paul makes reference to Job.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”  1 Tim. 6:6-9

“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” 1 Tim. 6:10

Either we master our money or it masters us.  Financial freedom serves as the link between financial security and emotional well-being. 

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”  Matt. 6:21

Our treasure is what is most important to us.  Our heart is where our treasure is. 

“You cannot serve God and mammon (money)”  Matt. 6:24

God knows that our hearts cannot be devoted both to Him and to wealth or material pursuits.  Jesus told us it would be impossible to serve both, therefore we must choose.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  Matt. 6:19, 20

Here the Bible tells us we have two options.  We can store up treasures on earth or we can store up treasure in heaven.  Jesus recommended storing up treasures in heaven, so if we are following His advice and we acknowledge God owns everything, we are simply managers of the resources He entrusts to us. 

If we acknowledge God’s position as the ultimate owner, then every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision.  The budget/spending question becomes is this a way God wants us to use His resources?  Our convictions show up in our spending patterns.  Our spending patterns reveal our goals and priorities.   Have we mastered our money or has it mastered us?  How about a yearly checkup or check in with yourself? 

Year Yes/No Question
    I mastered my money
    My money mastered me

“The sleep of a laboring man is sweet.  Whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.” Eccl. 5:12

Many people desire to be rich, thinking that they will have no more worries.  That is a paradox, however. A wealthy person may appear to live well but “the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.  The rich lie awake worrying about losing their money, while poor laborers sleep soundly.  Riches give freedom to do many things, but the chains of worry often ruin any true enjoyment.  The moral is that God would have us be content whatever our financial status, for all wealth ultimately belongs to Him. 

How to master/break the chains:

  1. Salvation, study the word and develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. Spend less than you make
  3. Avoid the use of debt.
  4. Maintain liquidity
  5. Set long-term goals.

Spend less than we earn, avoid debt, maintain liquidity and set goals, provides a framework for gaining control of our finances.  Finding true peace, contentment, and security goes beyond wise investing, careful budgeting, and debt-free living.  While these principals are valuable, the real secret to financial freedom and emotional health comes when we learn to hold our resources with an open hand.  II. What does the Bible tell us about giving?

“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Prov. 3:9, 10

What are your first fruits to the Lord?  Is it the first hours of the morning alone with Him?  Is it time in service, wages, gifts made by your hands or from your garden? 

“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.  The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.  The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.” Prov. 11: 24-26.

“A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend.”  Prov. 17:18“Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, One of those who is surety for debts.” Prov. 22:26

The safety net of wisdom to consider before committing to the request of a friend or relative which creates an opportunity to come up with more creative, loving, supportive resolution to your friend or family member’s financial issue.

“A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back, to pervert the ways of justice.”  Prov. 17:23.

The personality of a swine, never throw pearls, Gods provisions, towards these types.

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord and He will pay back what he has given.” Prov. 19:17

Treasures in heaven, no need to boast of your giving or pity, the Lord will see it and your heart will be right in your service. 

“Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”  Prov. 21:13

Only fair, treat God’s Creations with the same type of care you would like to receive.

“There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it”  Prov. 21:20

So where would you rather be, in the dwelling of the wise or the one who laments that they have made a million dollars but it is all spent?

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”  Prov. 22:7

Master your money or your money will master you.

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.”  Prov. 22:9

Is it difficult for you to eat in front of others who are hungry?  You have been blessed, the Holy Spirit convicts you from this selfish type of behavior. 

Finding ways to be generous with the provisions God has given requires positive imaginings and use of our skills and energy.  There is a woman who is such a fabulous couponer that each month, she provides, at no cost to her family, a full meal from the salad to the desert to all who visit the soup kitchen in her neighborhood.    

  “Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?  Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little, You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”  Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!  Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.  “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away.  Why?”  says the Lord of hosts.  “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.  Therefore, the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit.  For I called for a draught on the land and the mountains, and the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on al the labor of your hands.” Haggai 1:3 – 11

We spend our money on what we think is most important.  Haggai was pointing out that the people in Jerusalem were valuing their comforts of their own homes over God.  Their homes had paneled roofs and decorated walls, while the temple – God’s house – remained in ruins.  They had spent their resources on what they valued.  Haggai’s message to the people of Jerusalem was to reevaluate where they were spending their resources and this message is relevant for us today.  Do our activities and spending habits reflect our dedication to God?

“Alas for the day!  For the day of the Lord is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty, Is not the food cut off before our eyes, Joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed shrivels under the clods, Storehouses are in shambles; Barns are broken down, For the grain has withered.  How the animals groan!  The herds of cattle are restless, because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment.”  Joel 1:15-20. 

The prophet Joel lived during a time of prosperity in Judah.  The more wealthy and prosperous the people became, the more complacent they became toward God until they had forgotten Him completely.  So God sent locusts to devour the land.  Joel declared that this plague was a wake-up call.  We dare not forget the source of our prosperity.  God owns everything, and we are responsible to Him for how we use His resources.

“Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”  He said to Him, “Which Ones?”  Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and Your shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?”  Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  Matt. 19: 16-30.

This rich young ruler wanted to know what he needed to do in order to have eternal life.  Jesus perceived the one barrier that was keeping this young man from being a disciple – his wealth.  So Jesus challenged him to give away all his wealth and then follow Him.  Jesus does not require everyone to just give all they have to the poor.  That would bless some temporarily and impoverish many in the end.  He does require, however, that we hold our money loosely, being willing to use it for God’s kingdom, and always realizing that our wealth belongs to God. 

“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying:  “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” so he said, “I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years:  take your ease: eat, drink, and be merry.”  But God said to him, “Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?”  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:16 -21

We never know when God will call us home.  How much time do we have to put up treasures in heaven, especially if we fail to share while we are here.

“Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited men, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’  But they all with one accord began to make excuses.  The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it,  I ask you to have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them, I ask you to have me excused.’  Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come’  So that servant came and reported these things to his master .  Then the master of the house being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor, and the maimed and the lame and the blind,’  And the servant said, ‘Master it is done as you commanded, and still there is room,’  Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.”  Luke 14: 16-24

You must respond to be included.

“He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you?  Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.  Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do?  For my master is taking the stewardship away from me.  I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.  I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.  So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?”  And he said ‘A hundred measures of oil,’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty,’ Then he said to another ‘And how much do you owe?’ ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.’  So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly.  For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”  Luke 16: 1- 9

The world operates on the basis of self-preservation.  The worldly boss complimented the deceitful and fraudulent executive manager.   This parable brings understanding and draws the contrast between how the Bible teaches us to act. 

“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.  So he said, “Truly I say to your that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

God knows the heart of the giver; never let the offering plate separate you from worshiping with others on a regular basis.   It is important to go whether you want to or not, you may be attending because someone else needs to hear something you will say or do.

The real secret to financial freedom and emotional health comes when we learn to hold our resources with an open hand.  The Bible commands us to be generous.  Our generosity breaks the power of money.  When we give we acknowledge our dependence on God and our willingness to love and serve Him.  We stand on the promise of Matthew 6:8 that our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask Him.  Money no longer has a hold on us, we have put our treasure in Him, where our treasure is our hearts will follow, and our hearts are what He wants most.   

  “Will a man rob God?  Yet you have robbed Me!  But you say, In what way have we robbed You?”  In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there might be food in My house, and try Me now in this,”  says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not  open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.  “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field.”  Says the Lord of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:8-12

“God’s ways are not our ways.  People think that to be secure, they must hoard their money.  God says the opposite.  “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,” He says, and then watch what happens.  God promised to reward His people’s giving with abundant blessings – so much that there will not be room enough to receive it.  To refuse to give is actually to rob God; to give generously is to know God’s abundant blessings. 

“Give and it will be given to you:  good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over” Luke 6:38

Jesus issues the same challenge to us in the New Testament as God issued in the Old Testament.

“Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.  When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but to teach the way of God in truth.  Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?  Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?  But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me?  Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.”  So they brought it.  And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”  They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”  And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  Mark 12:13-17.

The Jews of Jesus’ day were under the dominion of the Roman Empire and were forced to pay taxes to Caesar.  Some thought it wrong to pay taxes that supported a pagan government.  The Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus into taking a side on the issue.  Jesus took a coin, pointed out Ceasar’s image on it, and said that since the coin belonged to Caesar, it could be returned to him.  Then Jesus added the most important lesson:  Our lives bear the image of God; therefore, we should give our lives to Him. 


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