Too many of us are living in a prison of financial debt and stress. The good news is we can learn how to get out of financial bondage. Let’s get smart with our money and learn practical and Biblical principles to free ourselves from being STRAPPED.
One of the most overwhelming things about money, is that everyone wants a piece of it. Our desire for this series is to help you in this season of life as we head into the end of the year and start a new year. Let’s learn how to manage our money in a way that we won’t be so strapped.
Week 1 As Christians, we don’t want to serve money. We serve God! Money serves us, as we serve God.
Week 2 There are Godly values that we can to apply to our finances and some practical tools for how to attack debt. Why attack debt? Because debt is attacking us!
God wants to bless you. Not in a prosperity gospel kind of way, but in the way that God wants good things for you! God does not want you to live as the servant of the lender. God wants you to live free and and leave a wake of generosity in your life.
Your Father is the King of the universe and owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He created everything out of nothing and has already given us an inheritance in heaven with Him. The best of our blessings are not dollars and cents or land and property. The best of our blessings are the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Your Father wants you to live free. Let that idea take root in your life.
Here’s the normal way people think about the flow of their finances:
We start most equations with ME, and what will advance me. What I want to do, what I want to accomplish, what I want to accumulate, what I want to experience. A lot of people don’t have something bigger to live for than ME.
The number one priority in this way of thinking is for me is to live. Where you want to live, how you want to live, with what you want to live with…
Second is save, when you can and if you can. You want to save, but that’s not the first priority. First priority is living, and if after living well, if there’s something you can save of course you want to do that.
Third is to give your money. You want to be generous. Who doesn’t? After you live and if you can save, any money after all of that, you want to give away.
God wants to flip this equation. God came to flip the script. When Jesus came from Heaven to Earth to live a perfect life in the face of temptation, to die our death on a cross and rise from the dead conquering the grave, it wasn’t so he could simply be another thing on the list of our life.
Jesus came so He could redeem our life and restore the relationship with Him that was lost. That only comes when we make Him number one in our lives.
He came so that everything in our life is ultimately about God, not about us. Here’s a new perspective that leads us to invert this order.
The first priority is giving now. When God gives to us, the very first thing we think is “I’m going to GIVE back to God.” When God blesses us, the very first thought we have is I want to bless God. I want to bless others.
The second thing on this list is saving. There are things coming around the corner that you don’t know about. If you’re not saving, you won’t be in a position to do anything that is of you own free will, because you do whatever the bills say you need to do.
The third thing in the inverted way of thinking about this is living. We still have to live, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to eat, you need a home to live in and you need to get around town. We’re not removing living from the list. This is not a poverty gospel that says, “I need to be miserable to truly have put God first.”
What we want is to live on what’s left after we prioritize giving and saving. We have to adjust our lifestyle to live on what we can afford after giving and saving. Instead of basing our saving and giving on our lifestyle.
The difference between these two models is the difference between whether you’re going to be the tail or the head. We invert this list, because it leads to blessing. With a lifestyle like the first diagram there is no blessing. With a lifestyle of the second one, there is a blessing.
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.” Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Here the script is being flipped. It’s being inverted so you are able to help others. Jesus says you cannot serve both God and money. You will be the servant of one or the other but not to both. The New Testament tells us that the love of money will be a root to all kinds of evil in our life. So we know, that most likely, the false god in our life is called money.
God wants to help us change from a lifestyle that tries to keep us as the tail of the equation. When you’re the tail, you’re wagged by the economy, wagged and controlled by interest rates, controlled by circumstances or by the accumulation of the bills that come.
God wants to make you the head. A child of promise. This equation begins by saying, “God, I want to follow your ways. I want to follow what you say is the right way.”
Think about the diagrams from above like a funnel. If this is how your funnel looks, your catch-point is you. Then the catch-point for the blessing of God is very small. That makes the back door for all your money very big. In this scenario, you look around after years of working hard and wonder where all your savings went and why you still have debt.
But when we invert the principle we start using the funnel correctly. Our catch-point for the blessing of God is really big. If God were to pour out a blessing, we can catch so much more than if we were holding the funnel upside-down.
Let’s take a deeper look at this order of things.
Giving. Saving. Living.
We recognize that everything we have comes from God and we want to return to God part of everything He gives us. The Bible calls it a tithe, a tenth. The Bible calls the first of every paycheck a first fruit.
When we come to know God, we trust Jesus for our eternity, but what can happen is we live our lives without trusting Him here and now. Most people who love church do not give first. Most people feel they can trust Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life, but they will not trust him with their money.
But how can you really know that you trust God with all things, if you’re not regularly trusting Him with something that cost you something. Where do you start?
If 10% is not even an option right now, start with a percentage. Be a first fruit, percentage giver. Start with 3% and give that first to get the catch-point for the blessing of God to be the right way and then, work up to 10% and beyond.
God is calling us to steward our money well, manage it well and save it well. Here are three things to save for:
The point of saving money is:
Money + Time + Consistency = Wealth
Don’t try to get rich, quick or put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand. This formula creates margin, it creates freedom.
If you give and save, the money left over will be enough. If you follow God and do what he calls you to do, there will be enough. It may mean rethinking what our living and expenses really look like. It may not live up to what all the pretenders are doing, but it will lead to life to the full.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NIV)
It takes a season to have a harvest that produces more seed that can be planted again. Our church loves to do this. Collectively as a church body, with what is given, we do this too. We give, we bless others. We save, we don’t operate from offering to offering. We save for emergencies and purchases and the future. We’re not running this series because funds are low. This series is here because God wants you to be the head, not the tail. Then, we live. We pay the bills and operate the ministry.
One of our favorite things is at the end of the year, we do what we call a celebration offering. It’s a thanksgiving offering for what God has done this year. We’ll take the first part of this offering and give several missionaries and amazing organizations we support an extra month of support. Then we’ll save some of it and then further the ministry here. Join us this year for our Night of Worship and participate in our Celebration Offering to begin to turn the funnel the right direction to receive all God has for you.
Celebration Offering Kick-Off
Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on the three financial values? (Self-control, sacrifice and planning.) How about attacking debt?
Hear the Word
Read Deuteronomy 28 and 2 Corinthians 9.
How we handle our finances is an outward expression of an inward spiritual condition. Finances centered on ME will put the priority on living, then saving, then giving. Finances centered on GOD will be prioritized to give, then save, then live on the rest. This enables us to be the head, not the tail. Meaning we are not controlled by circumstances, but we are led by God. Like a funnel pointed in the right direction, this enables us to capture the blessings of God and live a focused life.
- Are you a spender or a saver?
- Which do you enjoy more? getting or giving gifts.
- What’s your vision for your financial life?
- Which way is the funnel pointed in your finances?
- How are you investing for the future?
- Is your life focused? Are your finances focused? How could focusing your finances lead to a more focused life?
- Whose life do you need to invest in? What steps will you take to invest in them?
Tell Someone Else
Who do you need to share this message with? Is there someone you’re better equipped to have a conversation with because of this message?
Mark your calendar for the Night of Worship November 16th at 7:00