“Financial Principles for Oulasters”

Pt. 2 of the Series: “Outlasters”

February 17, 2019

 

1 Timothy 6:6-11

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 

 

We are in week 2 of a series with a peculiar name; “Outlasters.”  For those of you who weren’t here last week, the idea behind “Outlasters” is to see how we can outlast our lives, how we can live on beyond our lives, how our lives can impact the next generation, our kids or grandkids or the Cub Scouts we work with of the younger folks at the office.  And, this goes beyond money that we designate in a will.  This has to do with the important things of life, those things that make up who we are, things like our faith and our values.  If I can pass my faith down to Matthew and to Audrey and Anthony, that will impact them for eternity.  And, if I can pass down my values, my Godly values to them, that will last well beyond my life.  In a couple of generations, I will be forgotten but my faith and my values will not.  When you pass down your faith and your values, you will be an “Outlaster.”  That is what we are addressing in this series.

 

I wanted to address this topic because people today are so busy doing life, they are so busy just going to work and getting the kids to the next activity that they don’t take the time to sit down and decide what is really important in their lives.  They don’t take the time to identify what their values really are.  So, I gave you a little homework assignment to do just that, to take some time last week and identify your values, your Godly values, values you want to pass down to the next generation.  I asked you to identify those important values because if you do that now, no matter how old you are, if you do that now, if you begin with the end in mind, then you will be able to adjust your life to make sure that faith and those values are getting through.  Then, you can be an outlaster.

 

Now, today, I want to talk about a topic that can hogtie you in your efforts to be an outlaster.  I want to talk about a topic that can really get in the way of passing down your values.  I want to talk about a topic that can consume your time and your energy, and does consume the time and energy of a majority of people in our country, I want to talk about a topic that can utterly consume you right here and now so that you have no time to think about your values and no time to deliver those values to the next generation.  If you can’t get this topic straight, it will be very difficult to impact the next generation.  The subject today is finances.

 

  1.  Many People are Consumed by Finances

 

  1.  Some evidence

 

Wouldn’t you agree that people in our culture are, for the most part, consumed with money.  They are consumed with making money, keeping money, getting enough money to buy the next toy.  And, here is the thing; they are not doing a very good job of it.  People in our country owe $845 million in credit card debt.  The average credit card debt of families in America is $5700.  That is for all families.  The figure jumps over $9300 when polling just those families who are in debt.  They are paying $1350 interest on that debt every year.  Seventeen percent of families in America do not have enough money to be able to go just 7 days without a paycheck.  Students in America owe some $1.1 trillion in student loan debt.  But, we don’t have very good examples when our federal government deficit is $22 trillion and the state of New York’s deficit is $2.3 billion.  Many people are like the 3 year old boy who, when his father told him that he couldn’t have a toy he wanted, the little guy said, “Daddy, just go to the bank and they will give you money.”  I suppose when our kids see money popping out of an ATM, when our government has no concept of living within its means, people might be justified in thinking that money grows on trees, or at least in an ATM, or from the government’s pockets.  But, let’s not talk about other people.   

 

  1.  How’s the money thing going with you? 

 

Without a show of hands--don’t put your hands up, just answer in your mind--was there ever a time when you had money difficulties?  Was there ever a time when you racked up credit card debt?  Was there ever a time when you bought beyond your means, when you saw something and just had to have it even if it meant paying credit card interest?  If you are like me, the answer is yes.  The next question is; are you dealing with that now?  Do you have way too much on a credit card?  And, even if you don’t, do you find yourself consumed with money, putting in long hours at work to get more, trying to maintain a certain lifestyle?  Have you ever felt that other important things had to wait, to be put on hold, because you had to make more money?  Do you think you have a Godly view of money?  Or, do you have a ways to go to get to where God wants you to be regarding money? 

 

  1.  The Bible speaks

 

When God wrote the Bible, He knew many people would be consumed with money.  That is why the Bible contains more than 2000 verses regarding the use of money.  Our Scripture for today is one of them.  Notice what Paul says about money in these verses.  In verse 9, he says that people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap.  They are trapped by their need for money.  He says that these people are ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires and that these desires “plunge people into ruin and destruction.”  Then, Paul says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Money is not the root of all kinds of evil.  Money in itself is neither good nor bad.  But, the love of money, the desire to have more, when money consumes you, that is the root of all kinds of evil.  When money becomes more important than time with your kids, when it becomes more important than passing on your faith and values, then that love has become evil.  Here is the worst, in the second part of verse 10; “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”       

 

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  1 Timothy 6:9-10      

 

Some people have become so engrossed in their love of money, that it impacted their relationship with Jesus.  Little wonder Jesus said,

 

“…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19:24

 

And, what does Paul say?  He says to the person of God, “Flee this.”  Flee the love of money.  Get money under control in your life so you do have time to pass down the most important things. 

 

  1.  Dave Ramsey- A modern day example

 

Maybe you know the name, Dave Ramsey.  Dave Ramsey is a Christian, has written numerous books about managing finances including 5 New York Times best sellers.  He has established Financial Peace University and offers many financial courses from a Christian perspective.  He has a syndicated radio program and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, and The Early Show.   His newest book is, “Smart Money, Smart Kids.”  What might surprise you is that Dave Ramsey was one of those people we talked about earlier.  He is one of the ones who had gotten himself in serious financial problems.  He tells how he started out buying and selling real estate and by the time he was 26, had $4 million worth of real estate.  But, he borrowed too much, his bank got sold and the new bank called his notes.  He was, as he tells it, sued, foreclosed on, had the electricity and the water turned off, and his house was in foreclosure.  His marriage was hanging on by a thread because the #1 cause of divorce in America is over money fights.  On September 23, 1988, he filed for bankruptcy. 

 

Yet, God worked in his life in an amazing way.  Dave and his wife realized that their view of money was getting in the way of their marriage, their family, and their relationship with Jesus.  Here’s what God led them to do.  God led them to draw a line in the sand and to say, “Enough is enough.  We will only do what Scripture says with our money.”  He and his wife decided to do money God’s way and that changed everything for them.  Now, he spends a great portion of his life telling others what God’s way about money is all about.  He spends his time helping people put money in its proper place so they can have more time for the most important things in life.  Now, he helps people get the money thing straight so they can be outlasters.  Now, what I want to do for the remainder of this sermon is to talk about some of the things Dave Ramsey says about a Godly view of money.  I want to give you three Godly principles about money and some practices that go along with those principles that will get your money head on straight and allow you to be an outlaster.

 

  1.  Godly Principles and Practices Regarding Money

 

There are only 3 principles I want to get to and here’s the first;

 

  1. Principle #1--God owns it all

 

You see the thing about these principles is that in order to pass them down to the next generation, you need to believe them yourself.  That goes to that thing I said last week that the values we pass down need to be taught, we need to tell our kids these values, but they also need to be caught.  So, if you are going to pass down these principles, you need to believe them, too.  The first is, God owns it all. 

 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…”  Psalm 24:1

 

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”  Deuteronomy 8:18 

 

Who does it all belong to?  Say it with me.  “The earth is the Lord’s.  You might go out and make money but who gives you the ability to make money?  God does.  God owns it all.  He owns it all.  There is not one thing, not one dollar, that God doesn’t own.  God owns it all.  I like the way one older gent put it.  He said, “All money is tainted.  It taint yours and it taint mine.”  The book of Romans tells us that when we become Christians we make a confession that Jesus is our Savior and our Lord.  To call Jesus our Lord means we give Him authority over everything.  That means that everything you have in your wallet belongs to Jesus.  You give some of that money to Him every Sunday but it is all His. 

 

  1.  We live in a kid-centric culture

 

Our kids are precious to us.  We would do anything for them.  We want to give them the best of everything.  But, kids are by nature pretty selfish.  How many times have they been watching TV, especially around Christmas, when they see a bright and shiny toy being advertised and they yell to mom, “Mom, I want that.”  How many times have your kids been at Wegman’s and you go through the checkout line and your kid wants candy.  They want it and they scream bloody murder if you don’t get it for them.  As I said earlier, they see the money popping out of the ATM and they figure there is an inexhaustive amount of money available.  They see their parents purchase this, that, or the other without any money at all, with this little card and they figure they can get mom or dad to give them whatever they please.  They figure they are the center of the universe and they can have whatever they want.  Elisa Morgan, the president of MOPS International wrote this piece called, “The Toddler’s Creed.”  This speaks volumes.  It goes like this; “If I want it, it’s mine.  If I gave it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.  If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.  If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.  If it’s mine, it will never belong to you or anyone else, no matter what.  If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.  If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.” [1]  Can you hear a toddler say that?  I don’t know about you but I could hear a lot of adults say these things, too.

 

  1.  What’s the difference?

 

What difference would it make in your life, in your view of money, if you believed deep down that all of your money belongs to God?  We seem to spend other people’s money more carefully than we spend our own.  If someone gave you a wad of cash to take care of for them, you might be very careful about how you spent that money on their behalf.  You might want to keep a running total of how you spent every last cent.  You would be more careful with their money than how you spend your own.  What difference would it make if it is someone’s money that you love, that you adore, that you worship?  You see, what this change in attitude is doing is teaching us humility.  It is teaching us that we aren’t the center of the universe, God is. 

 

And, that is what we need to teach the next generation.  How many of you parents or grandparents have watched when one of your kids is playing with a toy and the other child goes over and grabs that toy from them.  They have a whole room full of toys and yet they have to have the toy their sibling is playing with.  Have you seen that?  We never did with Matthew.  Maybe it was because he was an only child.  What that selfish kid is saying is, “I am the center of the universe.  I am God.”  And, as parents, we lovingly, or maybe not so livingly, help them to see that they aren’t God, that, as Dave Ramsey puts it “the axis of the world does not run through the top of your little head,” that they need to share, that they need to care for other people too.  What we are doing is teaching them the value of humility.  We are teaching them that they don’t own it all.  Then, we need to make the next connection, not only that they don’t own it all, but God owns it all and that they need to take care of what God owns.  So, the first principle is, God owns it all.  Here’s the second principle;     

  

  1. Principle #2--There is great value in work

 

Over the last week or so, we’ve heard a lot on the news about the Green New Deal.  It is a deal to address the environment with some far reaching aspects including doing away with plane travel, all fossil fuels and cow flatulence.  There is one aspect of this that is actually unbiblical.  It is the part that says that all people will be guaranteed a fair wage—here it comes—even those unwilling to work.  It is one thing if you are unable to work.  It is quite another to expect wages if you are simply unwilling to work.  That is actually unbiblical. 

 

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”  Proverbs 10:4

 

Guess who said this next quote; “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” No, that wasn’t Bernie Sanders and for sure it wasn’t Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  That sounds like the opposite of what they are saying.  That was the apostle Paul.  What the next generation needs to hear is that money comes from work not from the ATM or mom and dad’s back pockets.

 

Dave Ramsey says that, to enforce this principle in his family, he and his wife chose not to give his children allowances.  He says that an allowance tells a child that they are not able to succeed on their own, that mom and dad will give it to them.  Instead, he says that his children were always on commission.  They attached money to work.  They provided money as a wage for doing certain tasks around the house.  These tasks were not the usual daily stuff that all the members of the family were expected to chip in and do.  This was a bit more of the special stuff.  It was age appropriate but it provided money for a job completed and done well.  So, if a child washed the car, they could receive a commission.  If a 4 year old picked up their room, they could receive a commission.  What this taught their kids was that money doesn’t grow on trees.  Mom and dad couldn’t just go and print more money if they needed more.  (No, only the Federal government can do that.  Ooh, I am really getting myself in trouble today.)  It also taught that mom and dad have to work for their money and therefore the kids have to work for theirs.  The next step is to

 

  1.  Teach them what to do with the money they earn (or receive)—the 3 jar system

 

Dave Ramsey set up a 3 jar system, one was for spending, one was for savings and one was for giving away.  He uses a jar method so that the kids can see how their money is being used.  So the first jar was for

 

  1.  Jar #1- Money to give to God

 

They were learning that all of the money is God’s anyhow so what went into this jar was only giving God a portion back.  After all, God is the biggest Giver of all.  Not only does God give us our food and clothes, our very lives, but He has given us Jesus, who died to take away our sins.  That is the greatest gift we could ever receive.  Into that first jar, Dave Ramsey’s kids were to put 10% of the money they earned or received.  If they earned $10 washing the car, they put $1 into that jar.  If they got a a $25 check as a Christmas gift from Grandma, they put $2.50 into that first jar.  By doing this, not only did his kids learn about tithing, but they also learned about what it means to be an outlaster.  They would be reminded that each week when they took the money from that jar and put it into the offering plate, their money would be used to teach children about Jesus.  It would be used to impact someone for eternity.  Their money would outlast themselves.  Next, in Jar #2, they would put money for savings.

 

  1.   Jar #2- Money for savings

 

They could save for bigger things, even putting some money away for college.  Dave Ramsey told the story of how he made a deal with his first daughter that he would match anything she saved in order to buy a car for herself.  Unlike other parents, Dave was not about to give his daughter a car when she turned 16.  But, if she saved for a car, Dave would match whatever she saved.  His daughter became a saving machine.  She managed to save $8000 toward a car and Dave matched that when she turned 16.  She was able to pay cash for a good used car at the age of 16.  This taught the children a work ethic.  It taught them patience and the value of money.  It also taught them how to drive for they would drive a whole lot more safely when they knew it was their hard earned cash that paid for what they were driving.  The kids were to put 20% of their earnings and what they received into Jar #2.  Then, Jar #3 was for spending     

 

  1. Jar #3- Money for spending

 

The kids needed to be able to spend some of their money.  They could spend 70% of what they earned or received.  They needed to have the freedom to spend their money on whatever they pleased.  One of Dave’s kids decided to use all of the money in Jar #3 on a video game.  However, that next weekend, a friend asked them to go to the movies and Dave’s child had to decline because they already spent all of their spending money.  Mom and dad didn’t bail him out either.  Their son had to learn that money is finite and that he needed to think ahead and make wise choices.  So, the first principle is that God owns it all.  The second is that there is value in work.  Here is the third;

 

  1. Principle #3—Center on Contentment        

 

I don’t know about you but one of the most annoying things I come into contact with are pop-ups.  You know, you are looking at a page on the internet and those annoying advertisements for this that or the other pop up, enticing you to buy whatever it is they are selling.  Every one of those pop-ups is saying, you shouldn’t be content with what you have.  You need more.  Our teens are bombarded with this stuff.  They might be zipping around on social media and those pesky pop-ups pop up—that’s what pop-ups do, they pop up—or a teen hears what is going on with their friends and suddenly parents hear things like, “Dad, Mark’s parents bought him a brand new car for his 16th birthday.  How come I have to drive this 1993 Subaru?”  Or, “Mom, this girl at school got to spend $10,000 on her Sweet 16 Party.  I want that too.”  That is about the same as the 7 year old seeing a commercial for a Power Ranger and yelling to mom, “I want that.”  It is also about the same as the adult seeing the commercial for the newest Mercedes Benz, or the brightest necklace, or the just-on-the-market cell phone and those things suddenly become got-to-haves.  That’s when the next principle comes into play—contentment.

 

Most people are not content with what they have.  Now, it is not wrong to want nice things.  The problem comes when those wish lists become got-to-haves.  The problem comes when poor decisions are made in order to get them.  The problem is they never have enough.  There’s that word again, enough.  People who are not content might say, “If only I had $200,000, I’d be content,” that is, until they get $200,000 and then they want $300,000.  So, Paul says;

 

But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  1 Timothy 6  

 

Godliness, doing what is pleasing to God, with contentment is great gain.  Contentment is defined as “the state of being mentally and emotionally satisfied with things as they are.”  “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.”  People who are content don’t always have the best of everything.  They make the best of everything.  People who are content are grateful people.  People are not grateful if they think they are owed.  They are not grateful if they think they are entitled.  Entitled people are arrogant.  “I’m owed this just because I walk on this earth.”      

 

Contentment is a spiritual issue.  People who are not content think that God owes them.  God owes me a great job, lots of money, as much stuff as I want.  People who are content start with zero and anything and everything God gives them is a blessing.  They look over their lives and they thank God for every dollar they have, every material blessing, every relationship.  People who are content know that God has given them Jesus who died on the cross to procure eternity for them.  How does any of the stuff of this world compare to that?  People who are content are able to put their finances into perspective.  Finances are far from the most important things in life.  Again, it is not that they can’t have a new car or a nice house.  But, if they don’t get those things, they will live.  It doesn’t dominate their lives because in Jesus, they have so much more. 

 

  1.  How can you pass contentment down to the next generation

 

How can you pass down contentment?  Here is how; get the priorities straight in your own life first.  We say it again and again; God first, spouse second, family third, and then all of the rest.  Finances are in the number 4 slot, maybe even lower than that.  Put God first.  Show the next generation that Jesus is the most important thing in your life.  How will you get that through to the next generation if you are not setting the example by coming to church every Sunday.  I mean, what should you allow to get in the way of the most important thing in your life?  And, teach by example in your giving.  Notice in our example of the 3 jars, the first jar to be filled is what we give to God.  And, notice the amount to put into that jar is 10%.  To teach contentment to the next generation, be an example of contentment yourself.  Be content that God gave you the very best and that is enough.  Then, every other thing you do have will be icing on the cake.

 

So, let me wind this on down.  Here’s the bottom line; if you want to leave a legacy to the next generation, don’t mess this money thing up.  God knows that so many people do.  He knows that so many Christians mess this up and their lives get consumed with finances.  Instead, know that God owns it all, that God values work and that Contentment is great gain.  Then, you will be able to be an, “Outlaster.”

 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen       

 

 

[1] Found in the sermon, “Does Your Money Own You?” by Jeff Strite, found at SermonCentral.com.