4 out of 5 Americans owe more than they own. 40% borrow more than they can make monthly payments on.50% of all divorces are directly related to financial pressure in the home. Why do we have such problems when we have more resources at our disposal than any other people in history? Jesus has a great deal to say about this subject in Luke Chapter 12.This weekend we will look at 3 lessons that helps us on the narrow path.
Here is lesson #1: Beware when money and possessions begin consuming my focus.
Money is a wonderful tool to be used, but it is a terrible god to be worshiped. Money can help you enjoy life, but it is of no benefit in the ultimate issues of life. Jesus said: "What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul."
We’ve all been told that time seems to speed up the older we get. We all know that time isn’t speeding up, but our perspective changes. At an early age we learn to always be looking forward to the next benchmark of independence and achievement. But there comes a point in all of our lives when we pause and reflect on our priorities. Some of us are blessed with hardship early in life that almost seems to force us to evaluate what really matters. For others, it seems to sneak up on them.
1 Corinthians 4 verse 2 says: "It is required that everyone who is given a trust must be proved faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:2)(NIV) I used to think that if I give back God 10% of everything I have, I've been faithful. But as I read the bible, I see that God isn't only interested in what I give back to him, but He is interested in how I use what He has given to me, how I invest it, share it, the priority I give it. It is a test of my character.
The second lesson we find is that God desires that my trust and hope be found in Him, not the possessions He has allowed me to use.
Jesus points out in this parable that the farmer, who is now referred to as the rich fool, trusted only himself. He believed that the more he accumulated the more he could control the future. Yet just the opposite is true. The more we accumulate, the less secure we feel. The more we have the more we have to worry about. Listen to what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:12 "The sleep of the laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much. But the abundance of the rich man permits him no sleep." (Ecclesiastes 5:12)(NIV)
Jesus said, don't put your trust in yourself, in your possessions, put your trust in God. Vs 24: "consider the ravens, they do not sew or reap, they have no store room or barn, yet God feeds and takes care of them and you are more valuable than those birds."
The raven was a scavenger, the Old Testament referred to it as a detestable bird, yet God saw to it that ravens had enough to eat each day. The Raven didn't stay up at night worrying about what he was going to eat because God provided for them. "God provides for them and he will provide for you" Jesus said.
Here is the 3rd lesson we learn from Jesus. Let Go.
Right now in our lives, most of us have both hands full of stuff. We have closets full of clothes yet we never have anything to wear. We have storage units that we are paying monthly fees on that we rarely access. We are building bigger houses with bigger utility bills and taxes and both of us are working and barely covering the payments. We have schedules that are full of commitments and very little margin for what matters most. Ecclesiastes 4:6 says “Better is one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6)(NIV) Listen to what Jesus says to you and me. "Don't be afraid little flock, the father is pleased to give you the kingdom, so sell your possessions and give to the poor, provide purses for yourself that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven........
I’ve said before, most of my perspective on finances and possessions comes from my grandparents. My grandfather passed away several years before my grandmother did. When she died she had $600 in the bank, her bible, and a room full of preachers she had fed, neighbors she had helped, a church they helped build, and a family that are all saved. That’s it. You see, on the narrow path, less is more. More living, more opportunity to trust and experience God, and ultimately treasure in heaven.
I look forward to sharing more about the journey to less is more this Saturday at 5:30pm and Sunday at 10:30. Why don’t you bring a friend.