Wisdom and Finance
Proverbs 21.5,20,21 Luke 15.11-16
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Proverbs 8:22-23, 30-31: 22 says of Wisdom: “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, 31 Rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in humankind.
It is said that the two greatest days of a person’s life are the day he/she was born, and the day he/she finds out what their purpose is, but if we don’t know what our purpose is, then, we don’t know why we are here, and it can be hard to keep going.
So, we hear that Wisdom was delighting in His whole world and delighting in humanity. Then why were we created? What is our purpose? Why do we exist? We don’t have to look far, just start with the wisdom from scripture. Micah 6:8, says “What does the Lord require? to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.
Jesus says, focus on loving God and loving our neighbors like we love ourselves. Her is what Matthew 22:37-40 says;
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
We find in the Gospels that LOVE is an action word! We are created to carry out the love of God in the world.
(1) We do that through the ministry of the church,
(2) We do it by reaching out into the world/ community in love, (acts of help and kindness)
(3) We do it in our daily lives at home and work.
We are afforded the opportunity, yet, the human condition has a tendency to focus on self and what we can have today rather than plan for tomorrow. When we live toward having as much pleasure as we can in the moment, the things we do and the things we buy becomes less and less satisfying until finally we come to a place where we’re entirely dissatisfied—and often broke.
Part of God’s treasure is the resources God has blessed us with. If we squander them—then we can’t be of much help to God. Proverbs 21: 20 Precious treasure remains in the house of the wise, but the fool devours it. 5: The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
Whether we’re using our treasure well or being wasteful, it will be helpful to us all to review these ideas and further find joy through simplicity and generosity. Hopefully we’ll be encouraged to look at our relationship to money and possessions and become better stewards of all of the gifts of God.
Also, it can help us realize that the money we waste without thinking about it, can be used to make a difference in a lasting way.
Luke 12:48 (NIV) “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
In the world of economics, giving means losing something you own. But in the heavenly realm, giving means gaining something you never had. Giving oftentimes benefits the giver more than the receiver. I find my identity as a Christian in giving toward the needs of the church and others. Gen. 12 God promises to make his name great, his descendants will multiply and become a blessing to others.
We, Abraham’s descendants are blessed to be a blessing to others.
Let us reflect back on the parable The prodigal son in the story from the Gospel of Luke. The Prodigal son was very good at spending, using up his resources. In fact, the word prodigal means someone who wastes money, a squanderer. The son wanted his inheritance immediately—the, “I want it now” attitude. We struggle with that problem too.
Advertisers constantly encourage us to “Get it today!” Statistics reveal that the two primary ways we waste money are impulse buying and eating out. Doesn’t sound like the most responsible way to use our money. We can start to take steps that will lead us far away from falling into the prodigal’s type trap.
The basic message that I have gotten from the Bible about being a good steward is that God has entrusted each of us with things down here on earth and it is each our responsibility to do something good with them. we can manage our treasure/resources and truly experience that God is Enough? Let’s look at some basic money management principles. You’ll recognize many of them.
- Create a budget and make a list of it to track your expenses.Which is simply developing a plan in which you tell your money what you want it do.
Tracking your expenses is like getting on the scales: It allows you to see how you are doing and motivates you to keep it up.
- Pay your tithe and offering first. Put God first in your living and your giving.Give your tithe and offering from the “top” of your paycheck, and then live on whatever remains. long ago when I began to tithe, giving 10% and more of income to God’s work I had a deeper peace in our life. I encourage each of us to take a step toward greater peace.
- Simplify your lifestyle (live below your mean cultivate contentment with less. Less is more). Since this discipline is critical to the success of any financial plan, next Sunday’s sermon will be devoted to this topic. Invite someone you know who is having difficulty living within their means to come with you to church.
- Establish an emergency fund. An emergency fund is separate from checking or long-term savings, and set aside specifically for emergencies. When you have this amount, you won’t need to use your credit cards anymore.
- As you build your emergency fund, begin to pay off your credit card debt and start using cash or debit cards for purchases.If you have to use a credit card be sure to pay off the debt monthly. If you can’t do this, then it’s better for you to cut up your cards, so you’re not tempted like the prodigal son to trap yourself again.
- Practice long-term savings and investing habits. Saving money is the number one wise money management principle everyone should practice. Saving is done for a purpose. We should have three types of savings: 1) emergency savings, 2) savings for wants and goals, and 3) retirement savings.
Stewardship is about a way of life that helps us appreciate, manage, and to share the resources God gives us. Whether our time, talents, and treasures are great or small we are given the responsibility to use them to bring life and hope, not just to ourselves, but others as well.
Paul says Philippians 4:11-13New International Version (NIV) 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Next weeks sermon: Cultivating contentment.—