Sunday, January 22, 2012

Loving God with Your Money

When you hear, "give everything to God," what do you think about? I think about abandoning all and going to a foreign country to preach. But, of course, we all probably think of different things. I actually want to talk about loving God with our finances. And "giving it all" to Him.

In Sunday School this morning we talked about generosity and it got me thinking. I always get kinda depressed when people talk about giving all to Jesus. I mean, "all" is sorta all-inclusive. That must mean my money too. I want to give everything to Jesus, but I don't want to be car-less, poor, homeless and hungry in a few years.

If you have been in church, you've probably heard the story of the widow who came to the temple and gave Jesus just a teeny bit of money, but it was all she had. Literally, all she had. Jesus praised her for that in front of all the people there. And He sorta rebuked the rich people for making a big deal of their tithing when they had so much to give from.

I've always thought, "Well, thank you Miss Nameless Widow. Now, I've got some pretty high stakes to come against." By giving all she had, that widow really set a precedent. You know what I'm saying? So, since hearing that story, I've felt like I needed to give every drop of everything I have to charities, God, other people or whatever...

But then, I would be moneyless and that would kinda be stupid if I left myself with literally NO resources whatsoever. God helps those who help themselves, right? Some people might give everything everything they have. If they do, I'm sure they live a very exciting life. And God calls some people to this...I'm not saying that it should never happen. It does and there are awesome testimonies about those things. But, not every person is called to live that type of life.

 After thinking about it, I realized I've had the wrong attitude about giving all along. Everything I possess is already God's. He owns it. I'm just His forgetful, prideful steward who thinks she owns everything. I believe that giving God all my finances requires a few things - it's a little more complex than just setting it all in the offering plate.

a). A willingness to part.

The first thing you need to love God with your finances is a willingness to part with it. I mean, it's not really yours anyway. Christ gave it to you and if He asks for it back, you need to give it with a cheerful heart.

b). A routine tithe.
The Bible tells us to tithe and I think it's a good practice to not hoard what we make for ourselves, but to give routinely. This demonstrates obedience to God's Word and a flexibility with your possessions.

c). Saving as habit.
I thought this was an interesting verse. Proverbs 21:20 "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." We are good stewards with what God has given us if we set some aside for the winter and difficult times. God provides, but we need to be responsible and not just blow all the money we earn. Notice the Bible says, "the FOOLISH man." And we know how God feels about fools.

d). Choosing to spend wisely.
There are ways to spend wisely. I think it's a totally dumb decision to go buy a new car just because you want to. There are other things that God can use your money with. Just because you have money doesn't mean you should blow it.

So, obviously this isn't an extensive list, but I'm just trying to point out how we can love God with our finances. We don't have to drop it all in a plate, but we do have to "give it" to God. Through a commitment to not be enslaved by debt, a commitment to give because you love Christ and the church, and a commitment to manage your budget for the glory of God.

Giving all to God doesn't necessarily mean you have to be poor and eat soaked bread crusts. I know that the Lord is pleased when families can say, "God, we have an emergency fund, our house is paid for, we aren't in debt to anyone, we pay our bills, we are responsible spenders, and we give tithe regularly." And people who have that type of lets-please-God-with-our-money attitude are going to be led by the Spirit to give of what they have.

Loving God with our money means being responsible and giving. Honestly, I feel like you too much of either is bad, but you have to sit right in the middle. :)

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