The verses are Biblical but the lessons are very much applicable to just about everyone in every station of life.
Aim: To learn that we serve & trust God not money.
Verse: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” ~Matthew 6:24
I am sure most of us have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which start from physiological needs & ends with self actualization. In recent times, the ERG theory of motivation has replaced Maslow’s.
- Existence needs – These include need for basic material necessities.
- Relatedness needs – These include the aspiration individual’s have for maintaining significant interpersonal relationships & recognition.
- Growth needs – These include need for self-development and personal growth and advancement
For a Christian though, our needs at the top needs to be filled with serving God.
Matthew 6:24 is a familiar verse…
Tonight we are to study God’s word together & learn…
Many of us start with good intentions to save & budget to ensure we have enough for our children, our loved ones & our own retirement. Unfortunately we find ourselves often fearing that it is not enough & forces us to save even more just in case. We stay with jobs that because we fear change. No wonder there’s a joke that a J.O.B. stands for Just Over Broke. What more with housing prices rising & the cost of a drink at the kopitiam rising to RM1.50 or more. Planning is of course good, but when a Christian finds that fear & worry is the primary attitude, bondage has occurred.
The opposite of fear is faith. It is God’s plan that we have some needs in order that we develop our faith in Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~Heb 11:6
Principle: But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin ~Romans 14:23
Illustration: Any action we take that is not done in faith is done from sin. It is black & white with no shades of gray & the Bible tells us so.
Will you trust God and find contentment in Him rather than the supply? “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” ~1 Timothy 6:7-8
Will you make a conscious act of trusting God? It is different for every individual but it may be involve withdrawing a stored resource & sharing with others. It may be to take a step of faith to leave a fruitless job. It may be being content without that bigger newer car or house.
Will you spend time & pray diligently every day? This is the most often neglected or rushed through part in Christians’ lives. Faith is not possible without prayer. “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
God has given us everything that we need. Every one of us is a witness to those around us. God’s word is clear that lavishness & waste are worldly & not Godly values. Each Christian family must look at their spending habits & give an account of their stewardship to God.
½ of all marriages fall apart because of financial pressures. Husband & wife communication is very important. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” ~2 Corinthians 6:14. In a marriage, it is more than being equally yoked. A yoke which is a harness can be removed but a man & wife are joined together until death parts. It is important to set financial goals. But before even setting financial goals, spiritual goals should be developed. The best place to start is to study the bible. God promises us the Wisdom to understand his Word if we set out heart to it.
The sad truth is that most people learn financial habits from their parents. If you are a parent or parent to be, you need to teach your children God’s principles. A young couple or even a couple planning to get married need to develop a budget. For children, parents need to agree upon goals & enforce discipline consistently. You cannot wait until a situation arises to make a decision. Decisions should be based on long term goals of what is best for the children.
Principle: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9.
Will you read God’s word asking Him for understanding & pray daily for His will?
Will you discuss regularly with your spouse on financial matters, set up a yearly budget & establish goals together?
Will you teach & give good example to your children Godly principles on money?
C. Being Active about Money
A challenge we face in Malaysia & other Asian cultures is very often money is a taboo topic. We have all heard or seen stories of brothers & sisters fighting over inheritance money. We see families broken apart because of money or the lack of it. Some have said Christians should not worry about the money as God promises to provide doesn’t He? Scripture however tells us that true wisdom comes from God & true wisdom of finances comes from studying God’s word. Jesus says in Luke 16:10-12 that good stewardship of money is a prerequisite of God to being used by God for greater things. Do you truly believe that God owns everything? If we do, we must manage according to His principles.
Did you know that the 1st investment was with Adam? In Genesis chapter 3, Adam was cast out of Eden & had to risk planting seeds to grow new plants for food. God does want us to give but a wise farmer holds back some seed for replanting so he can give away again the surplus again the next season. In Matthew 25:14-30, we see God rewarding the man who showed good stewardship.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? ~ Luke 16:10-11. Investing may be for family responsibility to provide for our own households. It may be to further God’s work & bless others.
When a Christian has accepted to purpose of investing is to serve God better, the crucial decision is how much to invest. There is no absolute answer but needs to be made by each Christian after much prayer. Before investing, give to God’s work until you know that all burdens God has placed in your heart are satisfied. Settle on a lifestyle & family needs that is God’s plan for you. Too much can rob surplus money that can help others. Too little is self-punishment. Plan on how to use the surplus before you even receive the money.
We have heard of people losing large amounts of money to bad investments or high-pressure risky Multi Level Marketing (MLM) schemes. I personally lost RM30,000 when I was in my early 20s which was my bulk of savings then & it took me time & seeking God to recover. I received counsel from various people some for & against. It is important to receive the right counsel & advice from a person who shares the same common values as you. For a Christian, this mean receiving Christian counsel from a person familiar with finances & grounded in God’s word. It is also important to weigh & test all counsel, and also seek advice from multiple counsellors. In making any decision you should have God’s peace in making the decision.
Principle: “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” ~Proverbs 13:4
Illustration: Laziness & slothfulness will result in loss but diligence results in gain.
What are you investing in & how will the surplus be used?
Will you listen to God’s work & take action? “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” ~James 1:22
Will you view your work as serving the Lord & not be fooled into believing work is “secular” & separate from our spiritual life & walk with God?
Good stewardship is a calling for God for each & every one of us. It involves our heart’s attitude having faith & trusting God. It involves our family learning, praying, reading God’s word & teaching the right biblical values about money. It involves action to not be lazy but to be good stewards.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~Colossians 3:23-24
Will you & your every action serve God? Will you plant seeds on fertile ground & harvest for your Lord Jesus Christ?