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In Part 1 of this series, Tim Bell poured the foundation with a message titled, God Wants You Wealthy. This is something you’ve got to believe if you want to reach your financial potential in this life.
If you think that God wants you poor, I encourage you to go listen to Tim’s message. And then set yourself on a journey to get in the Bible and find the truth. And keep studying it until you get it.
Because the truth is, God wants you wealthy. And I can prove it to you.
2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT – God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
It’s worth noting here that this scripture immediately follows a teaching about giving. God’s promise of abundance is contingent on you managing money God’s way, which is what we are talking about shortly.
In Part 2, Tim Bell shared with us The Key to Godly Wealth, which all leads back to giving. If you want to be wealthy God’s way, then you must be a giver.
If you struggle with giving, go listen to Part 2 because Tim explained it in the most non-threatening way I’ve ever heard.
Alright, now let’s get into Part 3 of this series.
Money Without Stress
Have you found money to be a little stressful? Ok, maybe really stressful, especially at certain times?
Maybe you don’t have enough to pay your bills. Or maybe you are nervous that one of your investments might actually lose you money. Whatever it is, money has stressed us out at one time or another.
But, what if I told you that money doesn’t have to be stressful?
The truth is, when we see money the way that God sees money, it loses its power and becomes just one of those things that’s just part of life. It’s not really any different than using the restroom.
Chances are, money holds a much higher place in your life than using the restroom. Actually, for the typical American, money runs their life. It’s in charge. It decides what they do and when they do it.
For most of us, money is our boss. It is the manager of our life. On the other side are people who have found some success and take the position of ownership over money.
In other words, either money owns you or you own money.
But, there is a third option that few people find. Yet, it’s the one that God wants us to operate in. And it’s when we take the position of a manager of money.
We are not meant to be slaves of money. We are not meant to be owners of money. We are meant to be managers of money.
So, let’s talk about each category so you can figure out where you are and make a change if needed.
Slave to Money
If we track the life of an average American, it usually goes like this:
You go to school, graduate, find a job, and finally have money to spend. As a young adult you can afford an apartment, buy electronics, new clothes, some furniture, and of course, a car. Soon, the bills start to come in.
One day, you meet the love of your life and get married. For awhile, life is blissful because now you only have one rent to pay yet you have two incomes. So, you set some money aside for the ultimate dream – your own home.
You find a house, pull money out of savings for a down payment, and now you have not only a house, but a mortgage.
But wait – the house is empty! So you head down to the furniture store that says, “No money down. Easy monthly payments.”
Life is wonderful so you throw a party to show you friends the new house, new car, new furniture and new toys. But, what you don’t show them is all your new debt. For some reason, it’s not as cool as the car.
Then, your first child arrives. Because you need both incomes to pay for all your new stuff, you send your kiddo to daycare and head out to work your tail off. Every day. Wake up, go to work, pick up the kids, go to bed, rinse and repeat.
You get trapped in the facade of job security, hoping that if you give the best part of your life away, the company you work for will always keep you around. After all, you can’t afford to quit. You have bills to pay!
As a kid, you dreamed about the freedom you’d have after leaving your parent’s house. But turns out, all you found was a new master: money. Adult life isn’t as fun as you thought it would be.
The problem is, we put our trust in the wrong place.
1 Timothy 6:17 NLT – Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
We look to money, most of the times disguised as our job, to bring us security. We put our hope in the fact that one day, when we have more money, we will finally live the life we’ve always dreamed of.
But, when our income increases, we tend to increase our debt at the same rate because we “need” a new car, a bigger house, or nicer clothes. So the bottom lines stays the same. No money left over.
But we keep hoping for the next raise, trusting it will fix everything. But again, nothing changes. More comes in, but the same amount (or more) goes out.
This is why Timothy says not to put your trust in money. It’s unreliable and it will lead you astray. It tricks you into thinking it is the answer but you just end up running after the carrot but never catching it.
But, when we put our trust in God, He richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
Let that soak in for a minute. Put your trust in money and you will chase it until you die. Put your trust in God and your not only going to have what you need, but you are going to enjoy life.
If you are a slave to money, don’t beat yourself up. Our school system is actually responsible for this epidemic in America. They teach us how to get good grades so we can get a good job, but they don’t teach us how to manage money.
By osmosis, money becomes our manager and we spend our lives working for something that was meant to work for us.
Some people catch on and are determined to get out of slavery to money. So they decide the need to own a lot of money to fix the problem.
But, it doesn’t fix the problem because we are meant to be managers of money, not owners of money. The two may sound like the same thing, but they are very different.
Owner of Money
In 1 Chronicles 29, King David is wrapping up his final days as king by leading a last ditch fundraising effort so the next king, Solomon, would have what he needed to build a new temple.
They’d been raising money for quite some time, but king David wanted to go out with a bang. So, he donated all his private treasure of gold and silver and then asked others to follow his example.
Together, they raised 300 tons of gold and 637 tons of silver, not to mention the other valuables that were given on top of this.
In today’s money, one ton of gold is worth about $64.3 million dollars and one ton of silver is worth about $1 million dollars.
So what happened here is they raised almost $20 billion dollars worth of silver and gold and this doesn’t even include everything they had raised up to this point.
I’d imagine King David would be pretty proud of his accomplishment. But, look at what he has to say:
1 Chronicles 29:14-15 NKJV – But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You.
In America, we obsess over ownership. We love to brag about how many cars we own or that we have the latest and greatest phone. But the thing is, God created everything and everything belongs to Him.
Psalms 50:10-12 NLT – For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.’
I mean, come on. How do we even allow ourselves to think that what we have really belongs to us. We were born into a world created by God.
The car that you drove to church today; If God wouldn’t have supplied the earth with the raw materials needed to create it, you wouldn’t have it!
The knowledge you use at work to earn a paycheck; you wouldn’t have it if God wouldn’t have created you in your mother’s womb.
Although it’s hard to admit, I think we can all agree that God owns everything. So, when the church has a need, why doesn’t God just pull that money right out of your pocket and drop it in the church bank account?
Genesis 1:28 NLT – Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”
Psalms 115:16 NLT – The heavens belong to the Lord , but he has given the earth to all humanity.
The earth belongs to God, but He has given it over to us to manage. We have the freedom to decide what to do with its resources.
Managers of Money
I don’t know about you, but it is a relief to know that I am not the owner. You see, it’s the owner that takes on all the risk if something goes wrong.
To help you understand, let’s look at this in the context of business. If you own a business and one of your managers makes a mistake, guess who it ultimately comes back on? The owner.
Sure, the manager may get fired and lose his salary. But if the manager’s mistake cost the company millions of dollars, guess who takes the loss. The owner.
But when it comes to life and our money, we are not the owner. We are the manager. And God handles our mistakes a little differently than a business owner would. Let me tell you a story to illustrate.
John was promoted to a high-level management position and tasked with approaching a current customer with an idea that would not only help the customer, but increase income for the company.
In the process, John not only failed to convince the customer to upgrade, but he actually caused the customer to pull out altogether – resulting in a huge loss for his company.
Hesitant to take the issue to his boss, the conversation was inevitable. After a load of worry and staying up all night, he went into his boss’s office and told him what happened.
The boss just smiled and said, “It’s okay, John. Everyone makes a mistakes, especially when trying something new. I was already working on something on my end to replace the income should this happen. So, let’s just learn from it and keep moving forward.”
This is how God treats His managers. But to get this kind of freedom, you first have to recognize Him as the owner.
Understanding that God is the owner frees you from having to protect your money and assets. If you lose anything or something gets stolen, it is not your loss. It is God’s.
And last I checked, you can’t bankrupt God. He owns everything and definitely has what it takes to cover your mistake.
Does this mean we’ve escaped responsibility and can do what we want and just trust that God will cover it? Of course not.
Luke 12:47-48 NLT – Jesus said, “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly.”
When you do something you know you shouldn’t, go ahead and brace yourself for the consequences because they’re coming. And this definitely applies to what you do with money.
But if you didn’t know any better, your mistake still might have some negative consequences, but just enough for you to learn from it. In other words, it will actually propel you forward because you now know what not to do.
If there was no negative consequence, you might make the same mistake twice. So, it’s really to our advantage that we are “punished lightly” even when we didn’t know any better.
Now that we know we are supposed to be managers of money, what does it look like to manage money God’s way?
Managing Money God’s Way
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a story of a man going on a long trip. While he was gone, he entrusted three of his servants to manage his money.
He divided it up in proportion to their abilities. The first guy received approximately $150k in today’s money, the second received $90k and the third $30k.
The one who received $150k invested it and turned it into $300k. The one with $90k went to work and doubled it as well. But the servant who received $30k hid the money by burying it.
When the master returned, the first two servants were given a well done and pat on the back and we can all understand why.
The last servant dug up the money and gave back the master exactly what he had given him. This doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, I am sure there are some of us in this room who have loaned out money and would love to have it back exactly as we loaned it.
Yet, the master was furious and called the servant wicked and lazy. He took the money away and gave it to the servant with $300k.
The moral of the story?
Matthew 25:29 NLT -To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
Use your money well and you will have an abundance. Do nothing with it, like storing it away in your savings account, and it will be taken away.
Often, we think that God wants us to be frugal. This is our warped idea of what a ‘good steward’ is. But this is not God’s desire at all. He wants us to use money to make more.
Ecclesiastes 5:13-14 NLT – Hoarding riches harms the saver. Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.
When we hoard money, we lose the ability to hear from God about investing smart. So, we end up investing dumb and lose it all.
In Proverbs 13, we are told that a good man leaves an inheritance not only to their children but to their grandchildren. This seems to contradict God’s mandate not to hoard money, yet somehow, when we manage money God’s way by using it for good, there is a guarantee that not only our children, but our grandchildren will enjoy an inheritance.
Handling money according to the Bible doesn’t always make sense at first. Actually, it usually doesn’t because it’s counter-cultural.
Our culture tells us to do one thing with our money and the Bible tells us to do the exact opposite. Which do you think is right?
The book that was inspired by God and has survived thousands of years, or the American culture that has been around for about 200 years and seems to be falling apart.
The more money used for good, the more money comes your way.
We all understand that money given to your church, to charitable organizations or to others in need are all ways to do good with your money. But even giving to those who don’t have a need is a good use of money.
Money you spend on others is not an expense, it’s an investment.
In other words, giving a great tip to your waiter, giving something valuable to a friend, buying someone’s lunch and even paying someone well who has done work for you are all ways to handle money God’s way.
When you do these things, prosperity will follow you around.
Proverbs 11:24-25 NKJV – 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.
When you hold on to money, your fists are closed and you can’t receive. But when you give, your hands are open and ready to receive.
God wants us to use money for good. He wants us to invest to make more. He wants us to invest it in our church. He wants us to invest it in others. And He wants us to use it to create a life of enjoyment for our family.
My question to you is, what relationship do you have with money? Are you a slave to money? Are you an owner of money? Or are you a manager of money?
Before you came to church today, you probably already knew that God didn’t want you to be a slave to money. But now you also know that you are not the owner – God is.
He has taken on the responsibility of the owner so you don’t have to stress about money. If you make a mistake, He’s got it. Trust me, you can’t bankrupt the one who created the entire world.
For this to work though, you have to put your trust in God, not in money.
When money goes short, the first place you should go is to God. Pray and ask for wisdom. Get into His word. And get online and listen to messages about handling money God’s way.
To do this, you are going to have to break some old habits.
Your default response to money problems may be to sit down, think it to death, and get yourself all stressed out. Or maybe you respond by working harder and longer, or getting a second job.
The thing is, God may lead you to sit down and think through a creative solution. Or, He may lead you to a better job. The problem is, we don’t seek Him first for guidance. We just try to do it ourselves.
But, if our trust is in God instead of money, we will always go to Him for the answer. And we wait until we find it instead of jumping into our own solutions.
Don’t get stuck.
Regardless of where you are, God doesn’t want His managers to get stuck. He wants to continue to promote you. He’s just waiting on you to learn how to handle money His way.
God only gives His managers what they can handle. And He does this because He loves you.
So, never stop learning how to handle money God’s way and acting on what you learn, because God wants to accomplish infinitely more than you might ask or think in your life.
It’s time to take the limits off.