Many of you may be familiar with these words:
Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you're okay.
Money, it's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream, Think I'll buy me a football team.
Money, get back.
I'm all right jack keep your hands off of my stack.
- Pink Floyd "Money" from The Dark Side of the Moon
Sadly, the foolish words of a '70s rock song are more familiar to most people than the wisdom of God's Word. What's really foolish is that many Christians can probably recall the Pink Floyd's lyrics to Money easier than they can recall God's wisdom from the Proverbs about money. Scripture, the Proverbs in particular, has a lot to say about money: how to gain it, how to value it, and how to use it. Sixteen of Christ's 38 parables speak about money or possessions. The Bible contains more than two thousand references to wealth and poverty. What we do with the things and the money with which God has blessed us is important to Him.
Yet many people are extremely confused when it comes to money. Money is the chief cause for the break-up of marriages, the splintering of churches, and the ruin of families. It is not that the actual paper and coins wreak all this havoc, but the love of and misuse of the paper and coins leads to destruction. Concerning money, we need to "get wisdom and to get understanding."
Money has the potential to destroy an individual. Many people, famous, infamous, or otherwise, have had millions of dollars but were still miserable and led destructive lives. Consider these statements from rich men:
- W.H. Vanderbilt – "The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it."
- John Jacob Astor – "I am the most miserable man on earth."
- John D. Rockefeller – "I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness."
- Henry Ford – "I was happier when doing a mechanic's job."
The following statement was taken from a 1978 People magazine interview:
I sit in my house in Buffalo and sometimes get so lonely it's unbelievable. Life has been so good to me. I've got a great wife, good kids, lots of money, health, but I'm lonely and bored. I've often wondered why so many rich people commit suicide. Money sure isn't a cure all.
The man who made this statement in 1978 was Orenthal James Simpson.
From these quote, but especially from God's Word, we learn that money which is not honestly earned, accurately esteemed, and generously shared will destroy you.
Does money have the capacity to destroy an individual? Absolutely! Money that is earned through dishonest means, like gambling and cheating will destroy a person. Money that is esteemed inaccurately (loving money) often becomes the god of a person's life. Money that is not generously shared is often selfishly hoarded or indulgently spent on one's self.
Consider this: the average American consumer has four credit cards. Credit card debt has reached $1.2 trillion! And this plastic craze is not fueled by people who are just trying to make ends meet. 49% of all credit card debt is held by people with incomes greater than $50,000. You have heard of the haves and the have-nots, but now our society has a third group: the have not paid for what they haves!
Wise up about your money from the Proverbs:Proverbs 22:7 – If borrowing leads to bondage our society is in a deep pit, and so are many Christian families.
Proverbs 15:6 – What kind of trouble? The trouble that comes to people with money but no righteous plan to use it. Christians are in this category! They should not be.
Proverbs 11:4 – No amount of money can purchase escape from God's judgment and wrath on sin. Having a lot of money and being a Godly Christian is possible. Many of us will not have to worry about having a lot of money; however, we should all be worried about the destruction that the love of money brings. Not being destroyed by money is possible you honestly earn it, accurately esteem it, and generously share it.
Earn it Honestly!
"Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase."Generally speaking, what is honestly earned is wisely spent, and what is gained dishonestly is unwisely spent (lottery, gambling, crime). To gain money honestly is not just to follow honest business practices. Earn money honestly in the sense that you live for the Lord and not for wealth.
"Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich."You may sometimes be faced with a tough decision: be honest and lose your job/account or be dishonest and keep your job/account. This verse leaves no doubt as how to make that tough decision.
Money needs to be honestly earned and honestly used. This lesson needs to be transmitted to our kids as well. It's been said that "Money isn't everything, but it's one way to keep in touch with your children!"
That is painfully true in some families. Parents should not think that showering their kids with more money and more things than they could have imagined at their age will benefit their kids eternally or presently. It is natural for a parent to desire more for their children than they had as children, but parents must invest themselves in their kids. Help them to learn that money will destroy them if they do not earn it honestly, and being subsidized by mom and dad is not honestly earning money.
Esteem it Accurately!
"The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit."It is easy to view money as your protection, as your security blanket – "I'm not sure what the future holds, but we'll be okay because we've got a lot of money in the bank…we have a diversified portfolio…my parents left me a big piece of property." Boxing great Joe Louis said this, "It's not that I like money, but it quiets my nerves." Proverbs 18:11 describes Joe Louis, and it describes many people; even many people who call Christ Lord!
Who is the Christian's strong tower? Proverbs 18:10,
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."The Lord is the believer's security and protection, not money! (Psalm 18:2; 61:3; 144:2)
"Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven."Instead of killing yourself in pursuit of money and wealth; wholeheartedly pursue the wisdom of God. Instead of giving yourself to gaining money, give yourself to glorify God, and He will bless you as He chooses.
To esteem money accurately, first rid yourself of the wrong estimations of money.
Five Wrong Estimations of Money
- Money will make me happy. Consider again the quotes that introduced this lesson.
- Money will make me content. "When I get ________, then I'll be content." That blank will never stay filled for long!
- Money will make me appreciated. People do not appreciate you for your money; they use you for your money.
- Money will make me feel better about myself.
- Money will make me accepted by others. See number three.
Share it Generously!
"He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor." A generous person has a desire to give instead of a loathing sense of duty to give (2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:7-9; Proverbs 3:9-10). A Biblical view of money and possessions demands using them to honor God.
God has gone on record as saying that if we are generous in sharing what He has entrusted to us then He will give back to us and bless us (Luke 6:38). Generous giving is not an Old Testament relic but a Bible principle. Generously bring your tithes and offerings into the storehouse (which is your local church, not your favorite parachurch ministry) (Malachi 3:10). Break the bondage of money by sharing continuously and generously. Here is how:
- Trust God – Proverbs 3:5
- Give God the FIRSTFRUITS – Exodus 22:29; 23:19; Deuteronomy 18:4
- Be Generous – Proverbs 3:27-28; 11:25
Money has the potential to destroy you if you do not gain it honestly, esteem it accurately, and share it generously.