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God's Money and You: Part Four - Rules For Spending
By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted September 5, 2012
RELIGION –Warning: the following article,
if taken seriously, has the potential to seriously ruin your current
use of money. Changing the way we use money would be a good thing for
the vast majority of us, since we are stewards, entrusted to use money
that ultimately belongs to God. Last week we saw how angry we would be
if our stock broker took money that we gave him to make us money and
instead blew it all on himself. So we are going to keep looking at the
implication of how we manage and handle God’s money He has entrusted to
We begin this week by looking at some wisdom of an amazing man of
faith, John Wesley. It is written that a distraught man frantically
rode his horse up to John Wesley one day and was shouting, “Mr. Wesley,
Mr. Wesley, something terrible has happened! Your house has burned to
the ground!” The total loss of a home to fire is so hard for me to even
imagine, and I know some of you have endured this. But is said
that that Wesley slowly weighed the news for the moment, and then
replied, “No. The Lord’s house burned to the ground. That means one
less responsibility for me.”
Now before I tell you to have the same attitude, let me be honest and
say that when I read that my first thought was “come on now let’s get
real!” But in reading more of Wesley, his reaction didn’t stem from a
denial of reality or some pie in the sky by and by theology, it was
solidly grounded in the truth that all of his resources are
It was this reality that also lead him to do another noteworthy act
that we would do well to emulate. John Wesley refused to grow his
spending as his income increased. He records that one year his
income was 30 pounds and his living expenses 28 pounds, so he had 2
pounds to give away. The next year his income doubled, but he still
managed to live on 28 pounds, so he had 32 pounds to give to the poor.
In the third year, his income jumped to 90 pounds. Instead of letting
his expenses rise with his income, he kept them to 28 pounds and gave
away 62 pounds. In the fourth year, he received 120 pounds. As before,
his expenses were 28 pounds, so his giving rose to 92 pounds. This
practice continued throughout his life. Even when his income rose into
the thousands of pounds sterling, he lived simply and he quickly gave
away his surplus money. One year his income was a little over 1400
pounds. He lived on 30 pounds and gave away nearly 1400 pounds this is
the equivalent of earning 1.2 million dollars from his preaching and
giving 98% of it away.
Now it needs to be noted that he had no family to care for. God may
lead you to such a lifestyle, but being prepared and saving money is
not wrong at all. I commend to you the attitude behind the actions. He
found his joy in Christ. More or less money in no way affected this. We
said early on in our studies that money can easily become of the
strongest pulls in our lives away from God.
Paul expressed this frighteningly 1 Timothy 6:6-10 “Now there is great
gain in godliness with contentment, (7) for we brought nothing into the
world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. (8)
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
(9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a
snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into
ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root
of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have
wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Wesley, coming from a heart satisfied in Christ, came up with following
four rules in regards to spending. Warning, these are rough and if you
follow them, you will buy a lot less, but prayerfully also find deeper
satisfaction in Christ.
The first rule he gives us is “In spending this money, am I acting as
if I owned it, or am I acting as the Lord’s trustee?” In order to
answer this question the purchase has to be evaluated and asked will
Jesus like and approve of what I am buying? This will make you think
about everything from a gluttonous buffet to a new DVD.
The second rule is the one that really gets me the most “What Scripture
passage requires me to spend this money in this way?”Understand that my
temptation to spend money is on expensive goatskin Bibles (notice
plural, I have too many!), so I can easily say that Jesus likes Bibles
and nail the first one. But, I can’t find anywhere in Scripture that
can commend me to own multiple expensive copies of God’s word? I can’t,
if you can great please share it with me!
The third rule is “Can I offer up this purchase as a sacrifice to the
Lord?” How tightly do you cling to what you buy? Do you refuse to
share it or let it define you as a person? If God called you to give it
away could you do so joyfully?
The fourth rule is “Will God reward me for this expenditure at the
resurrection of the just?” In other words, is what I am going to buy
going to merit me the approval of Jesus when I stand before Him? This
is a rough one as well, I see Jesus slapping me in the back of head and
saying “Really, you actually bought 35 dollar titanium collapsible
travel chopsticks!” In my defense, I was going on a mission trip
to China and needed to be prepared!
The point is, is the way you are handling God’s money pleasing Him?
Furthermore, is the way you are handling your money working out for
you? If we really believe God is the owner of all that has been
entrusted to us, shouldn’t we be regularly asking him, “What do you
want me to do with your money and your possessions?” And
shouldn’t we be open to the possibility that he may want us to share
large portions of his assets with those whose needs are greater than
ours? (Wesley information collected from Randy Alcorn, Money)
Seeking to find greater joy in Jesus than the sweet aroma of a new
highland goatskin Bible from Scotland!
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