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Overcoming the Challenges of All Things Financial – Part III


For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to the fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant.” Deuteronomy 31:20 (cf. 32:15)

 

There is something in our fallen nature that doesn’t handle prosperity and times of ease well. A revival generation must turn this around. We must become increasingly like the apostle Paul who said to the church in Phillipi, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12, 13

 

It is absolutely true that “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil….” (I Timothy 6:10). The love of money causes people to do awful things to others, even those close to them. But it is equally true that money and lots of it is vital to expand God’s kingdom purposes on the earth, which includes meeting the needs of your family and extended family. We just have to learn to steward it better and not become attached to it when He blesses us with abundance.

 

Someday I hope to write about Paul’s letter to Titus in detail. But for now I just want to share a thought re: money. So Paul was very up front with Titus that Crete, where Paul left Titus to help establish Christ’s church, was a very corrupt and godless place. Quoting one of Crete’s own prophets Paul affirmed, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” If this was true I can imagine what their political/government leaders were like. But a significant part of Paul’s strategy revealed in this letter for the church there was to abound in good works or good deeds in their neighborhoods and cities. He mentions this five times in this short 3 chapter letter (see 2:7&14, 3:1,8,14). This wasn’t original with Paul. Jesus said to His disciples as He sought to explain the kingdom way of doing life and bringing transformation to the world, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify you Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5;16). And most if not all of those good deeds/works I’m sure will require finances. Or they will at least require that your personal financial needs are met so you can give time and energy to whatever good deeds He leads you to do.

 

So in this post I want to alert us to a few more challenges that our Master Jesus wants to help us overcome so we can be more useable in His hands and more pleasing to Him.

 

The first one is Impatience/Seeking one’s inheritance too fast/Not waiting on God. For those of you whose parents are still alive, and from whom you might receive an inheritance, may you increasingly know God not your parents as your provider. “An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning, Will not be blessed in the end.” Prov. 20:21   The younger son in the prodigal son story would be exhibit A of the negative consequences of seeking one’s inheritance too fast.  Interestingly there is not one instructive verse in the New Testament about parents leaving inheritances for their children or children receiving their inheritances other than this statement by Paul, “for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” II Cor. 12:14  And the context of this verse is how apostles should lay their lives down for the sheep not family inheritances. Though it does give some support to the idea.

There is also not one verse in the N.T. that appears to do away with the concept of leaving a financial/material inheritance for your children. Most of the passages in the N.T. with the word inheritance in them have to do with our spiritual inheritance in Christ, which ultimately is of far greater value than any financial inheritance. The same is true with the word “inherit” btw. So in general parents should strive to leave a financial/material inheritance to their children. And it may very well be that part of God’s plan to provide for you is an inheritance from your parents. But beware of putting your hope in that and trying to speed that up.

 

Seeking one’s inheritance too fast or taking things into one’s own hands re: obtaining provision and wealth in many ways comes from not learning to wait on the Lord and His timing and His way, which I’ve observed over the years is different with everyone (that is – His way in providing for us).

The Psalmist exhorts us, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.”  Psalm 37:7-9 

Later in the Psalm he exhorts, “Wait for the Lord and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.” Psalm 37:34  Both of these passages end with a promise of God coming through for those who learn to wait upon Him and who live according to His ways. Please note that He might choose to use an inheritance from your parents to fulfill these promises. But He certainly has many ways to do it outside of that.

 

If you struggle with impatience and fear of lack, you might want to do a deeper study on the concept of waiting on the Lord in the scriptures.

 

Another challenge is not paying off Debt or not paying bills on time and in full.

The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives.”  Psalm 37:21 This is one of the characteristics of wicked people. They are quick to borrow, whether via credit cards or bank loans or loans from friends or family, but are terrible at paying off those loans. Sometimes they never even intend to pay them off.

For we disciples of Jesus, it is best to keep borrowing to a minimum. If we do borrow we must be sure and count the cost and make sure we have a solid plan to pay the loan back in good time.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you.”  Prov. 3:27,28

 

Oh that we can all overcome this challenge - Lack of bed-rock confidence in God’s promises for our wealth/well-being.

Moses makes it very clear that God is the One who provides for His people and even gives them the ability to make wealth. Deut. 8:17,18 “Otherwise you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

We need to know and walk with Him as such.

His promises are great for those who fear and walk with Him. Psalm 112:1-3 “Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.

 

Sometimes memorizing passages like the ones above or these shorter proverbs can be an aid to developing the confidence and trust in God we are meant to have.

Proverbs 14:11 “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, But the tent of the upright will flourish.”

Proverbs 15:6 “Much wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked.”

 

The final challenge our great Savior wants to help us overcome is a Lack of thanksgiving for His provision and commitment to providing for us – even when very real needs are temporarily unmet.

  God says in Psalm 50:12 “If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains.

Based on that reality He then exhorts in Psalm 50:14 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most High;

Then He explains the connection between our practice of giving thanks to Him and our intimacy with Him and experience of Him in Psalm 50:23  “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

The apostle Paul makes clear this is the way of life for a disciple of Jesus in I Thess. 5:18 “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 

Jesus in a discussion about stewarding the money and material things He entrusts to us gave this very helpful principle, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Luke 16:10-13

 

You can serve and please God and be wealthy. You cannot serve and please God and be most passionate and most concerned and most focused on obtaining wealth. There are no exceptions to this. Sadly in my 45 years of ministry around the world, I’ve seen many believers end their lives badly by not overcoming in this arena of stewarding and managing God’s money. My last post on this subject (for now) will be a prayer tool to help us all end well and overcome in all things financial for His glory and for His kingdom’s sake. God bless you for wanting to please Him in this arena. He will complete what He has begun in you!

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