WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

My father used to tell me when I was just a kid on that farm that there are two kinds of people regarding money: (1) some like to hoard it up; (2) some like to spend it. He add to that those who like to hoard it up seem to always have it and those who like to spend it don’t ever seem to have very much. Like a lot of young people back then and even today, I must not have listened to my father. I devoted many years of my life to the second group: spenders.

  

A well-known voice in the proper management of money is Dave Ramsey. I would recommend his books and conferences to anyone seeking a better path to money management. When Dave Ramsey amassed wealth the first time, he wasn’t a man of faith, and he didn’t apply biblical principles to his finances. Without that solid foundation, he lost everything.

  

The second time was much different.  As a Christian, Dave began to learn God’s ways of handling money and what the Bible has to say about the subject. And it has a lot to say. In fact, the Bible mentions money more than any other single topic. In his five-part sermon series, Life, Money, Legacy, Dave talks about a variety of wealth-related topics from a biblical perspective: the process of financial maturity; debt; attitudes of pride, poverty and gratitude; money myths; and legacy-building.

  

Another Dave, Dave Willis of Stevens Creek Church, also has an excellent perspective on money management. His strategy is biblically sound. I would recommend the Stevens Creek website. www.stevenscreekchurch.com Dave explains that early in his marriage, he and his wife were deep in debt with a heavy dependence on credit cards. Even though they did wake up to the potential crisis in their marriage due to unsound money management, he understands why so many couples get a divorce over money and financial issues. I can say, “Amen,” to that as a heavy percentage of my counseling over the years involved poor financial decisions.

  

He lists 7 principles that I would like to briefly discuss here.

True wealth is measured by relationships; not by money. Faith and relationships are far more valuable than that paycheck. Of course we need money but the key is, “Control the money instead of letting it control you.” Another way to put it is, “Own the money instead of letting it own you.” We know the Apostle Paul told his son in the ministry that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10.

  

Of course the Book of Proverbs mentions money quite a bit. Proverbs 23:4-5 Don't wear yourself out to get rich; because you know better, stop! 5  As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky. Since money doesn’t hang around very long, doesn’t it make sense to value what lasts?” Yes, that would be faith and relationships.

  

Debt is a form of slavery, so get rid of it as fast as you can. Debt is described as the “golden handcuffs” of slavery. Most handcuffs have keys to remove them. As Dave Ramsey likes to say, “Those handcuffs might be taken off with a little plastic surgery—cut up those credit cards.”  Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.

  

Lasting wealth comes from consistent discipline, not “get-rich-quick” schemes. God used Solomon, known as the wisest man in the world, to put this is plain and simple terms. Proverbs 13:11 Wealth obtained by fraud [get rich quick schemes] will dwindle, but whoever earns it through labor will multiply it. We live in an instant culture. The micro wave has taught us to expect it in just a matter of seconds or minutes. A financial company even has a series of tv commercials based on the song, “It’s my money and I want it NOW!” Many states have come up with a tool that takes advantage of our desire to get rich quick. It’s called the Lottery. Working for our money day by day, week by week, month by month, teaches us to be disciplined in how we use it.

  

It’s ALL God’s money. We’re just managers of it. This is where I might lose a lot of you. Sorry if the thought of God owning everything offends you, but that’s the way it is.  Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. We actually do not own the money or the stuff it buys. What we do own is the responsibility to be good stewards or managers of what God chooses to give us. When we come to that realization, we should begin to pay attention to how we are handling our finances.

  

Money is NOT evil, but greed is. This goes back to the verse I mentioned earlier. 1Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. It isn’t the money that is evil, but the LOVE of money is. All energy and effort to acquire more money at the expense of minimizing our love and devotion to our Lord puts money first and reduces God to second class. That is the description of idol worship. Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our heart be. Letting money be our god puts us in the position that God condemns: With their lips they praise Me, but their heart is far from Me.

  

Generosity blesses both the giver and the recipient. Proverbs 11:24-25 One person gives freely, yet gains more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor. 25  A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water. Over the years I have noticed that generous people seem to be the happiest while stingy people are miserable. Maybe that’s why we like the movie, The Christmas Story. Old Ebenezer Scrooge was miserable until he learned his lesson. Christianity has been called the Upside Down religion. Maybe that’s true because our Savior taught us that it is more blessed to give than receive.

  

You can’t take it with you, but you can shape eternity with it. Most of us have heard the joke about, “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer.” That means, we can’t take it with us. What awaits us in Heaven will be more glorious and grand than we can even imagine. 1 Corinthians 2:9  But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Also Jesus gave quite a little bit of time to the subject of wealth and possessions. It has been said that the Bible has more verses about money than any other topic. Expanding a little bit on the verse mentioned earlier about where our treasure is, let’s look at what Jesus said.

  

Matthew 6:19-21 "Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.