Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Enough - Week 2

Finances are a hard thing to talk about - particularly in the Church. For whatever reason we don't have much of a problem teaching what the Bible says on other issues - adultery (or other sexual immorality), cheating, lying, coveting, gossip, etc...but we seem to have a really hard time discussing the role of money in God's creative order. The one time a year we usually do hear about finances from the pulpit is when pledge cards are due - and then the pastor REALLY doesn't want to talk about money because all he/she is doing is standing up to ask for it.

Instead of making an annual ask to the congregation for money, wouldn't it be so much better if church was a place where we regularly learned how God wants us to use the money he has given into our care? Wouldn't it be better to learn how we can order our lives to be able to do what He wants us to do with it rather than do just what we want to do with it?

Live Oak Church is in the middle of a 4 week series on finances and this past week Caz spoke a lot on how God views money. The Bible is full of teachings on the subject of money and many of them can be boiled down to this: money is a useful tool if you control it but it can quickly come to control you.

I think it is safe to say that every culture in the history of Earth has developed some form of currency and along with that development came hierarchy and division. Those who had the most wanted to keep what they had and gain more and those without it, wanted to get it. It is a part of the human condition that we want to accumulate goods. Left to our own devices we will tend to store up as much material wealth as is possible. And for what - to have it written on our gravestone that in life we had more than anyone else? (We certainly aren't going to take it with us after we die.) - To build a great legacy to pass down to our children? (Maybe - but has anything strong and wise ever come from a life of ease?)

If we are not very, very careful, the more wealth we accumulate, the less we rely on God and the more we think we are the ones in control. Even if we do not consider ourselves to be weathy but are on the quest to gain wealth for the sake of being wealthy, we have missed the point. God does not want us to be focused on material gain. He wants us to be focused on spiritual gain.

We cannot chase after God and wealth at the same time. They are both all-consuming and we will either do both poorly or have to make a choice. The choice in the end is really very simple - are you going to choose things of the world, which will pass away, or are you going to choose God, who is eternal?


"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Matthew 6:24