The hottest issue in the elections is not morality and it’s not family values. As I told you in a recent national survey, five percent of Americans said the main issue is moral, sixty percent of them said the main issue is economic. We are living in a very materialistic society. In fact, our culture is pretty well crazed over material things.
I was sitting in front of a man on the airplane yesterday flying into Los Angeles and I heard him telling another person – I think the conversation as best I could hear it indicated that – he owned a large chicken ranch. And chickens are fairly lucrative, as you know. Nowadays everybody eats chicken, and it’s gone up in value, and you would assume that that’s a lucrative business. But he said he had converted his complete chicken ranch to storage units, because there’s so much more to be made in the stuff that people store.
I’m always amazed at how our economy has gone from necessity, food, to the unnecessary. I’m amazed that people who have stuff they can’t use, stuff they can’t keep because they don’t have anywhere to put it. So they pay money to put it somewhere where it does nothing. They could trash it for free, or give it away.
Randy Alcorn in his book Money, Possessions, and Eternity writes, “The comic strip Cathy depicts an interesting dialogue between a young man and woman. Pointing to each item as they refer to it, first one and then the other says, ‘Safari clothes that will never be near a jungle. Aerobic footwear that will never set foot in an aerobics class. Deep sea diving watch that will never get wet. Keys to a four-wheel drive vehicle that will never experience a hill. Architectural magazines we don’t read, filled with pictures of furniture we don’t like. Financial strategy software keyed to a checkbook that’s lost somewhere under a computer no one knows how to work. Art poster from an exhibit we never went to of an artist we never heard of.’ Finally with blank stares one says, ‘Abstract materialism has arrived,’ to which the other rejoins, ‘We’ve moved past the things we want and need and are buying those things that have nothing to do with our lives.’”
The bumper stickers which rival the comics for their value as a thermometer of current attitudes also reflect a hint of irony and cynicism in the midst of this materialistic society. One of them says, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”
“Have you taken a close look at America lately,” – writes Alcorn – “when we are not buying lottery tickets or watching big winnings on game shows? One of our favorite national pastimes is wandering through shopping malls just to see what else we can want. Our shop-till-you-drop society has produced the Home Shopping Network and all its spinoffs, displaying products on television to be purchased just by making a phone call. And today’s couch potato materialist doesn’t have to fight through a mall or even pick up a catalogue, his next possession is just a phone number and a credit card away.”
It really is a thermometer on our culture, isn’t it? The whole materialistic obsession starts to turn ugly. It’s not just a nameless preoccupation; it is really an obsession, and it is destructive.
Dr. Aaron Beck did a ten-year study of patients who are hospitalized with suicidal tendencies. His studies showed up in the American Journal of Psychology. What he said was, “Risk increases, risk of suicide increases, with resources.” The more stuff you have, the more likely you are to kill yourself. Poor people rarely do it.”
Another medical study proved, and I quote: “Subtract two years from your life if your family income is over $40,000 a year.” Another study showed the moral decline and family devastation of this obsession with money. Quote: “Among both men and women, the incidents of marital infidelity rises in conjunction with an increase in income. Of the married men earning $20,000, only thirty-one percent conducted extramarital love affairs. Of the men earning more than $60,000, seventy percent did.
It should be noted that all society suffers since motives having to do with crimes – listen to this – motives having to do with crimes are ninety-nine percent sex or money. And those with money as the motive outnumber sex four to one. Solzhenitsyn was right when he said, and I quote: “We are always paying dearly for chasing what is cheap.”
Inherent in this kind of materialism is a destructive pathology. And I think a good place to look at that pathology is in 1 Timothy chapter 6 to remind you of two verses that are helpful here. Verse 9: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” And then the tenth verse, more familiar to you, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds” – or all sorts – “of evil, and some by longing for it” – that is longing for money – “have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many a pang.” It not only shows up in suicidal tendencies and extramarital love affairs, but it shows up in defection from the faith. Foolish, harmful desires plunging men into spiritual ruin and destruction.
It affects the church unquestionably, unquestionably. We live in a materialistic society, and Christians become victimized by the unending onslaught of this materialism. Almost half of all – this is an amazing statistic – almost half of all charitable giving in the United States comes from households where the total income is less than $30,000. They give almost half the charitable income.
A leader in the Romanian church said, I’m quoting him: “In my experience, ninety-five percent of the believers who face the test of persecution pass it, while ninety-five percent who face the test of prosperity fail it.”
Possession of material riches is usually a spiritual liability. Mark 10:23, “Jesus said, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’”
We find that even in the church, as I said, this attitude towards money tends to affect us. The Lord knew that; so sixteen out of the thirty-eight parables Jesus gave that are recorded in the New Testament deal with money, sixteen out of thirty-eight. In fact, more is said in the New Testament about money than heaven and hell combined. Five times more is said about money than prayer. There are about five hundred verses or so on prayer and faith. There are two thousand on dealing with money and possessions.
A Christianity that doesn’t affect how you feel about money and how you handle money is not a biblical Christianity. And Jesus was very clear. He said, “Don’t lay up treasure on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break through and steal.” And the IRS does too, according to some. Jesus said, “Don’t lay up your treasure there, lay it in heaven.”
We need to be very careful, because we can get caught up in a wrong perspective, a perspective that is inherently materialistic. Here we live in a society where people are basically going to vote for certain candidates because of how it will effect them economically, not morally, not spiritually, but how it will effect them economically. People want to be wealthy; they want money, they want things.
What are the signs of a sinful kind of materialism? Obviously there’s a basic necessity drive, and there’s a reasonable enjoyment of the things that God provides. But what are the signs of sinful materialism? Let me tell you what they are. They’re attitudes. They’re attitudes.
The first one is an attitude of anxiety. That is to say a person who is materialistic isn’t content to just manage his money; he worries about it, he’s anxious about it. And that always means that he’s living right on the edge, if not over the edge, and spending more than he has. You tend to be manifesting a materialistic attitude when you don’t just manage your money, you worry about it, which means you’re living on the thin edge or well over it.
Second attitude is covetousness. You have begun to experience a sinful kind of materialism when you envy what other people have, or when you want what you don’t need; when you lust for something just because it’s new, just because of other people’s response when they see that you have it or you wear it or you own it.
A third attitude that is characteristic of materialism is selfishness; that is you hold everything tightly. You can’t loose your grip and be generous and sacrificial. Any giving you do is grudging.
You also manifest an attitude of materialism when you have a preoccupation with money: constantly worrying about money, constantly worrying about investments, constantly worrying about interest rates, constantly worrying about the rate of return, preoccupied with schemes by which you can get rich. It’s on your mind all the time. Instead of being concerned about doing whatever you do well, and working hard, and being thoughtful, and planning carefully, and being as clever as you need to be to do the very best job and provide the very best service or the very best product, all you can concern yourself with is a preoccupation about how fast you can make it.
And that leads to another attitude, greediness, which is the attitude that says, “No matter how much I have, it isn’t enough, it isn’t enough. I want more, I’ve got to have more; I’m continually dissatisfied with the amount of money and the possessions.”
Another attitude that goes along with materialism is flattery. Flattery is an interesting sin. It is saying things to people for personal gain. In other words, you’re not saying it because you want them to feel good, you’re saying it so that they’ll think differently about you and give you something. You’re conning them. Another attitude of materialism is idolatry, that is you literally will sacrifice relationships for things. So whether it’s anxiety or covetousness or selfishness or preoccupation or greediness, discontent, whether it’s flattery or idolatry, all of these really are attitudes that are characteristic of materialism.
You look at a society like ours and that’s what you see; you see people who have tremendous anxiety over their economic situation, because they’re usually in debt way over their ability to pay. They are covetous. They have been trained on commercials which basically try to breed dissatisfaction and covetous attitudes. They tend to be selfish. They want to hold on to everything they get so they can elevate their status in life and increase their creature comforts. They are preoccupied with how well they’re doing, and how much they make, and how well it’s progressing in whatever investments it might be in. They’re greedy. They tend to be even given over to idolatry where they worship things instead of being concerned with relationships. And they use flattery or whatever else they need to say to butter up the people who can make them gain in some way.
So materialism isn’t what you have, it’s how you think. There are a lot of people who have and they’re not materialistic. In 1 Timothy 6:17 it says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” “If there are rich people, let those rich people be sure they know that God gave them all of that. And they’re not to fix their attention to it, their hope, their security. They’re not to be proud and conceited about it.” Furthermore, verse 18, “They’re to be generous and to share it.”
So there are people who are going to be wealthy. In itself it’s not a sin if you aren’t corrupted by it and don’t have a materialistic attitude. Materialism is purely an attitude. You can have nothing and be materialistic; you can have a lot and not be. To put it in the terms of 1 Timothy 6, you can have very little money and love it like mad; you can have a lot of it and not love it at all. It’s an attitude.
And we are living, as I noted for you – and I think it doesn’t need to be stated any further – we’re living in a day of materialism. This nation is materialistic beyond, beyond the imagination of many parts of the world. We’re very materialistic. We’re swept up in it, all of us.
Now I recognize that God has put us in a country and blessed our country with a certain amount of riches. And we have these things given to us richly to enjoy, and that’s fine. But it’s easy to cross the line and have the kind of attitude that we described as a materialistic attitude.
Now in order to deal with this – and I’m not going to be able to cover all of this tonight, we’ll just see how far we go. The Lord had intended for those testimonies to take some of my time, so I’ll go as far as I can, and then probably continue next Sunday night. I think that might be the best way to do that. First of all, let’s talk about the right to possess money. I’ll give you a little bit of Christian economics here if I can, and we’ll just touch lightly on this: the right to possess money.
First of all, you need to understand that the Bible teaches us that all money is really God’s, okay? All money is God’s. That’s where we start; it’s God’s. But He has given us the right to possess it.
In Haggai 2:8 it says, “The silver and the gold are Mine.” God is saying, “It’s all Mine. It’s all Mine.” Deuteronomy 8:17 and 28 says, “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.” It is God who has given you the ability to take some of the silver and the gold that all belongs to Him and to make it yours. He’s given you the talent and the ability and the skill and the opportunity to do that.
Proverbs 8:20 and 21 says, “I walk in the ways of righteousness, to endow those who love Me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.” God says there will be some whose treasuries will be full because they demonstrate love to Me. First Corinthians 4:7 says, “What do you have you didn’t receive?” So God is filling up your treasury. Everything you have you received from Him. He gives you the power, the ability, that is the opportunity and all the talent to earn money, to make money, because all of it is His.
Now we ask the question, “Is it wrong to have money?” The answer is, “No, it’s just wrong to love it. It’s wrong to have a materialistic attitude.” Money is a gift from God. It’s like anything else; it’s like anything in the world, any commodity in the world. It’s like food. It’s like sexual relationships within marriage. It’s a gift from God that can be perverted and polluted and defiled.
But it’s not wrong to have money. It’s not wrong, because God has given us richly all things to enjoy. Job was wealthy. Abraham was wealthy. Isaac, Jacob were blessed with riches. Even Israel was rich. Isaiah 2:7, “Their land is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures.” God put them in a very, very wealthy land, and gave them richly all those things to enjoy. And it was for their enjoyment to be blessed, to enjoy the fullness of life.
But they were warned, Deuteronomy 8, “You shall remember the Lord your God.” Don’t forget God. Don’t forget the priority is this: whatever He gives you, you use for His honor, even what you keep as well as what you donate.
God does allow us to possess money. In fact, there are some biblical principles that are designed to increase the money we have. Let me give them to you. Number one: Work. Work. Idle hands, as has been said, are the devil’s tools.
Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit, but more talk leads only to poverty.” You’re better off to work than to talk. Ephesians 4:28 says to those who once made their living by stealing, they are to work with their hands, not only provide what they need, but for those around them. And Ephesians 4 goes on to talk about the fact that we are to work – Ephesians 6 rather, that we are to work as unto the Lord. Colossians 3 says basically the same thing.
There are a number of things in Proverbs that speak to this matter of work – and we don’t have time to go into all of it. But Proverbs 28:19 and 20 says, “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.” You’re better off to work. And the one who is willing to work will have plenty of food.
So God says you have a right to increase your money and to earn money by working. Back in Proverbs 6, a more familiar text along the same line, verse 6: “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, gathers her provisions in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard?” That’s a lazy man. “When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,” – this is his little soliloquy, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and he says – “your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.”
Proverbs 20 verse 4 says, “If you won’t plow in the cold, you won’t eat at the harvest time.” If you don’t plow, you don’t eat. Well, it’s the same principle we find as in 1 Timothy 5:8, “If a man doesn’t provide for his household, he’s worse than an infidel.”
Work is a biblical doctrine, it is a mandate from God. And I realize there may be those times when you can’t work. And I know there are some in our church, and our hearts go out to you, who have lost your jobs in this recessionary period of time. But I believe if your heart is set toward working and you continue to pursue that, the Lord will open up that opportunity for you. And in the meantime we’ll faithfully care for you in ways that are perhaps at this time known only to Him and will unfold to you.
But God’s intention for man is to work. In fact, as we pointed out some weeks ago in another context, God has designed that man would work six days of the week and rest on the seventh, even as God did.
A second way that God has designed for you to increase your money and economics is save, save. This is very basic and yet seems to be a lost art even today. Proverbs 21:20 says, “There’s precious treasure and oil in the house of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up.” In other words, the foolish man consumes.
We talk about our nation being a nation of consumers; and indeed we are. We consume everything in sight. In fact, we consume what we can’t even pay for, and then we have to pay for what we’ve already consumed. The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.
You need to learn to operate on a margin. You need to learn to set some things aside. If you don’t, you’re presuming on the grace of God. Margin can make the difference in your being available to God or not being available to God. I meet people all the time who would like to respond to needs around the world, would like to respond to give to something, but they’re so far in debt, usually related to credit card and installment payments, that they couldn’t even think about giving anything more than the bare minimum they can scrape together, because they’re in hoc and somebody else owns them, and their money’s not available to be used for God’s purposes.
You need also to save because that is a biblical principle. That is a biblical pattern by which God has established that you should prepare for the lean times in the future and for the years of life ahead. Proverbs 30, verse 24, “Four things are small on the earth, they’re exceedingly wise: the ants are not a strong folk, but they have enough sense to prepare their food in the summer.” They’re smart enough to plan ahead. They’re smart enough to make provision for the unknown future.
There’s another principle, I think, that follows along with this one. Work, save. Thirdly: Plan. Plan. What do I need to say about this? This is very basic, and I’m still kind of introducing this tonight. But plan simply means to develop some kind of way to control your expenditures. Plan.
I mean, we all, we all basically can become victimized by the impulse of the moment. It involves budgeting; it involves priority lists; it involves staying away from places that just cause you to have knee-jerk buying reactions. It involves also not maintaining an attitude that basically says, “I have money in my pocket, I must spend it,” or, “I don’t feel too well, I think I’ll go spend money,” which when it’s done makes you feel even worse.
You know, I have to admit that I think, you know, we’ve had a great example of how not to manage money from the scandals we’ve seen in our own Senate and Congress in the way they manage their own funds and their own banking. But that’s really systematic of the whole culture. The whole culture from the government on down is into spending money they don’t have. I mean, we’ve literally bred a generation of people who want to exist in debt on credit. And if you think it’s bad now, wait till the generation that’s really experiencing it now is in charge – no pun intended. And I would have to say that I believe if many of you managed somebody else’s money like you manage the Lord’s money, you’d be in prison for embezzlement.
You need to plan. Proverbs 27:23 and 24 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever.” “You better look and see how many animals you have and how much they’re worth, and you better calculate how much you can spend and how much you need to save.” In other words, do some planning. Proverbs 24:3 and 4 says, kind of a free translation, “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keep abreast of the facts.”
Normally in my house I don’t handle the bill paying, I have other things to do, and Patricia does that; bless her. But I don’t like any kind of bills. I don’t like to owe anything. So when I got my opportunity I went crazy paying bills, and we got notices that I had overpaid. And I said, “Isn’t this wonderful; they owe us money.” And she said, “Yes, and we have $120.00 in the bank.” I said, “Praise the Lord.” She said, “I appreciate your spirit; work on the planning part.”
It is important for us to plan, to be careful. It says in Proverbs 17:18, “It’s poor judgment to countersign another’s note to become responsible for his debts.” Hmm. “Don’t countersign for a stranger.” It doesn’t mean your own family, your own children; but strangers.
So there are some very important things you are to do in terms of gaining money: one, work for it; two, save for it; three, plan for it; and four, don’t make your resources liable to someone else’s folly. As soon as you countersign and somebody doesn’t come through, they’re in control of your funds.
God has designed that you should make wise decisions. So we have a right to possess money. And the Lord has basically told us we have a right to gain money. And He will make us rich with treasure to whatever degree He sovereignly chooses in each individual case. And then He will allow us so much to enjoy the wonders of His creation, and the comforts and joys of life; and the rest, of course, and all of that, even included, to be used for His glory. And then we are to be very sensitive as to how we are to use it in regard to His kingdom.
Now before we talk about that – and that we’ll talk about next week – the general comment that people have is fine: “I can accept this, we have a right to possess money. God has created it for our joy, and He parcels it out as He sees fit. And it comes from His hand, and so it’s a good thing. Money is not evil, it’s the love of it, the materialistic attitude that is. And I can understand that I am to work and I am to save for maybe the times when I don’t work, and I am to be frugal and careful and thoughtful in my planning and not become a victim of impulse. And I am never to put myself in a position where somebody else’s folly is going to cost me. But still having said all of that, I’m always short. I never have enough. I’m so glad I have the right to have it, but I really would like to have some more.”
That brings up some questions; and I want to close by just posing these questions. If you’re short, you need to ask yourself these questions. One: “Do I really need it? Do I really need it? Am I saying I’m a little short of money because there’s something I want but not something I need?”
Secondly: “Is God testing my trust? Is God testing my trust? Have I put my trust in uncertain riches, and so the Lord has diminished those in order to remind me that my trust should be in the living God, not uncertain riches?”
Third question: “Did I misuse what He gave me? Was my failure to work as diligently as I ought to have worked? Was my failure to save as carefully as I ought to have saved? Was my failure to plan as thoughtfully as I should have planned the real reason I’m short?”
A fourth question: “Have I actually violated a biblical principle? Have I actually violated a biblical principle? In that sense, have I sinned?”
Now what do you mean by that? Well, there’s some biblical principles with regard to money; let me suggest them to you. The first one is stinginess. Proverbs 11:24 says, listen very carefully, “There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more,” – there are people who just scatter what they have, and yet they increase all the more – “and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and it results only in want.”
What that’s saying is, “If you give generously, the Lord will give you more.” Isn’t that what it says in the New Testament, “Give, and it shall be given unto you”? If you hold it back, the Lord may take away what you have. You can’t lose the money you give away, you can lose what you keep. Stinginess is a sin, and it may be the reason you are in need.
Secondly, hastiness. Proverbs 21:5 says, “Everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” What do you mean by hastiness? I mean when you just get – you get just zealous to buy something. You just get really turned on to get this thing and you’re not patient. You don’t walk away from the impulse and think it through carefully. Everyone who’s hasty comes to poverty. You make quick, impulsive decisions, and you pay the price later on.
A third sin is stubbornness. “Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline and instruction,” Proverbs 13:18. If you don’t have discipline in your life, self-discipline – you’re just stubbornly on your way doing your thing, you’re not about to pull in the harness, tighten down everything, get resolute and have some discipline in your life – poverty and shame will come to you. That’s irresponsible behavior.
Another one is laziness. Proverbs 20, verse 13, “Don’t love sleep.” I read a book one time by a man who was giving – his whole thesis in the book was how to make a lot of money, how to be eminently successful and wealthy. And the first major principle and the running theme through the whole book was “Get out of bed early.” Amazing. That’s what Proverbs says. “Open your eyes, and you might get some food,” Proverbs 20:13. Proverbs 23:21, “Drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
There’s another sin: indulgence. Proverbs 23:21, “The heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty.” And one more sin, and that’s, I guess, what you could call craftiness, kind of the idea of scheming, being deceitful. Proverbs 28:19 addresses that kind of approach: “He who tills his land” – we read earlier – “will have plenty of food, but he who follows vain pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” In other words, it’s the person who has got all the schemes. And then he says, “A trustworthy man will abound with blessing.” And the idea is, a man you can’t trust because he’s a scheming deceiver will end up poor.
I’ve met so many people like that. I can’t tell you all the people I have met who have come up with the schemes to get rich to try to get me involved in them. I mean, and they’re bizarre. I had a man who was in ministry come to me in my home, and he sat down, he said, “I want to present the greatest deal you’ve ever seen in your life.” He said, “I know you want to make money because you want to use it in the Lord’s work.” And he said, “I’ve got a phenomenal scheme.” He said, “Basically, you give me ten thousand dollars, and in a few months you’ll receive a hundred thousand dollars.”
I said, “What are you going to do with that to make it into a hundred thousand dollars?” “Oh,” he said, “it’s very sophisticated. It’s all about a Hong Kong financial operation, and it’s international.”
And I listened, and I said, “Well, thank you for coming by,” and had a little fellowship, and he went away. And I said, “I’m no fool. You’re not going to turn ten thousand dollars into a hundred thousand dollars in a few weeks.” And it wasn’t long after that the whole scam came down.
But it’s amazing. Some people said, “Oh, where do I sign?” You have to be very careful, very reasonable. Con men are everywhere. By the way, as far as I know, that man is destitute. He didn’t even get his hundred thousand, so I don’t know who told him, sold him the deal.
The point of all of this is to say, “Look, God has a plan for us economically. He has designed us to have money and possessions.” And frankly, it’s a matter of His sovereignty. I mean, you live in America and not Siberia, and that makes a difference. You live in America and not India. You live in Los Angeles, not Calcutta. It’s different. You’re not part of a tribe in Southern Africa, you’re part of a tract in Northridge, or Granada Hills or wherever. It’s just different. It’s God’s sovereignty, it’s God’s purpose, it’s God’s design, and He does what He does the way He wants to do it.
But I want you to know before you begin to think, “Well, it’s not really fair for those poor people because they don’t get what we get,” stop and remember that what you’ve got has a major downside risk, and that major downside risk has to do with the longevity of your life, and it has to do with the longevity of your marriage, and it has to do with a lot of things, but not with happiness, because happiness is all about relationships and not things.
And we’ve been sold a lie in this culture. I’ve met poor people all across this world in many places who have nothing lacking in their lives. And I have met, and you meet them all the time, wealthy people who lack everything substantial. That’s what just startled me when I went the first time behind the Iron Curtain into Russia and the Ukraine, and I saw people who had nothing and were happy to the very core of their being, because life was all about people, relationships – husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, friends – to say nothing of the spiritual dimension. Don’t you think for a minute that having all that you have somehow makes the quality of your life really better. Some of you can’t get out of your car long enough to find out what the quality of life is really like, or you can’t get your kids away from the tube long enough to know what the quality of their life is really like.
There’s a downside risk in all of this. God in His sovereign purpose chooses what He does for who He does. And this is where we are in life, and God has given us much to be enjoyed by the way of riches. And we have a right to it, to work for it, to save for it, to plan for it, and to hold onto it wisely and not risk it. And if we don’t have enough, we have to ask ourselves some questions: “If I don’t have enough, maybe there are some reasons. Maybe I don’t really need more, maybe God is testing my faith. Maybe I already misused what He gave me. Maybe I violated some biblical principles. Maybe my stinginess or hastiness or stubbornness or laziness or indulgence or deceitfulness has brought me to where I am.” But there’s another thought, too: “Maybe God has something better for me than what I think I want and what I think I need.”
God wants you to have enough, God wants to supply your needs, but God wants you to see it in a proper perspective. Next Sunday night we’ll talk about how you are to think about your money, and how you are to use it.
Father, thank You for our time tonight. What a wonderful evening of singing, and testimony, and sharing in truths from Your Word. I thank You for these people in this congregation, for each and every one, Lord. I pray that all of us would learn to live above and beyond the world around us, not being victimized by all that is going on. Help us to hold lightly to the things of this world and realize they’re all Yours. And we only manage them for You; and that in itself is a spiritual test.
Thank You that You’ve given us work, and that You’ve given us the opportunity to use our talents in ways that can bring us joy and satisfaction, and meet our needs and the needs of those in our family and circle of friends. Help us to be wise, Lord, in how we view the possessions we have. Help us to set our mind on the eternal God, to put our security in You and not in our riches, which can pass. For all we know, it’s not going to get any better in our country. For all we know, we could be going in to serious change in our lifestyle. What does that matter to us? We do not lay up our treasure on earth, but in heaven. We pray that that might be our desire.
And for those, Lord, who are struggling now with little, meet their needs, show Yourself faithful; and may they enter in to a new and wonderful dimension of spiritual life because of their total dependency on you in these times in their life. And we commit all of us and all our resources to be used for Your praise, in Christ’s name. Amen.
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