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God's Money and You: Part One
By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted August 16, 2012
RELIGION – Finishing up the series on how
to get the most out of church, there is one last topic to hit: giving
financially to support your church. I realized while writing, that this
topic of God and your money, or more correctly put God’s money, may
need more than just one week. So for the next few weeks we are going to
be looking at money. Not just money and your church, but how it is that
you can obtain financial health and what the Bible has to say about how
you handle God’s money.
I read this week an interesting story about debt, something we all
probably know too well. Here is the article from World Magazine “The
U.S. national debt stands at about $16 trillion. Some say the German
capital of Berlin owes about six times that much—to one tiny German
town. Back in the 16th century, the small town of Mittenwalde in what
is today eastern Germany loaned 400 Rhenish guilders, a popular
currency of the time, to Berlin to help the growing town meet its
According to the terms of the loan, Germany would someday pay back the
400 guilder note with a 6 percent interest rate tacked on. But when
authorities in Berlin failed to repay the note in a timely fashion, the
debt slipped from the minds of Mittenwalde's inhabitants, only to be
found hundreds of years later by a town clerk. Today, with the debt
still collecting interest and with a Rhenish guilder still fetching .88
euros, the German capital owes the town of fewer than 9,000 residents
more than $106 trillion. And just as they have in the decades since the
note was uncovered, Berlin officials recently disavowed the debt.”
Now you have to love being a government, you can just default on loans
with no problems at all. This is not reality for you and I. But the
reality is, money matters. New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg calls
stewardship of material possessions “the most important test-case of
one’s profession of discipleship,” He further names materialism as “the
single biggest competitor with authentic Christianity for the hearts
and souls of millions in our world today.” As a pastor, I want to
see our church—and all churches—filled with people devoted to Jesus,
I know some of you are thinking, great a preacher begging for
money. If you want to think that fine, I do like getting paid and I do
like being able to use money in church for the service and blessing of
people in our community. But what I want most of all is for people to
be joyful! Men and women, rich and poor, young and old—everybody has
something that they treasure, and “where your treasure is, there will
your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) If your heart finds ultimate
satisfaction in anything other than Christ, it is a false God and an
David Powlison writes that “We are meant to long supremely for the Lord
Himself, for the Giver, not His gifts. In our idolatry we make gifts
out to be supreme goods, and make the Giver into the errand boy of our
desires.” I want to point your heart, your treasure, and your life to
the source of all joy, goodness, and love: Jesus. I sit with many
couples in marriage counseling and most share common issues with money.
A husband works too much, wife spends too much, and they both give the
kids too much. Now maybe you are in good financial health, debt
free and enjoying the fruit of your labor. But you still may be guilty
of loving money more than God. Alistair Begg says that we are guilty of
loving money when:
1. Thoughts of money consume your day.
2. Others’ success makes you jealous.
3. You define success in terms of what you have
rather than what you are in Christ.
4. Your family is neglected in your pursuit of money.
5. You close your eyes to the genuine needs of others.
6. You are living in the paralyzing fear of losing it.
7. You are prepared to borrow yourself into bondage.
8. You are content to give God your leftovers, rather
than your first fruits.
So over the next few weeks, I implore you to be willing to make hard
decisions about your money. There are no quick fixes, but you don’t
want to live your life is a financial hell and work and worry yourself
into an early grave! Remember as the old Puritan Thomas Fuller wrote
“Riches may leave us while we live, we must leave them when we
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