October 2 ,2016 Reading
- Ezra 5-6
- Psalm 138
- Luke 16
“I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:9-13 NIV
I am the oldest of five kids with a 14-year age span. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, but I was always interested in money management. When I was about nine years old I developed a little program called “Money Management”. Looking back, I have no idea what it was about, other than I remember I had an idea we should all pool our money and save for a trip to Hawaii. After we got about $11 saved we shut down that plan. Instead we bought my mom some clearance clothes from JCPennys.
Fast-forward to college I wasn’t so interested in the concept of managing money or being a good steward, I wanted to make money. I wanted to make lots of money to be able to buy nice things. I never wanted to worry about making ends meet. I saw money as an escape and if I just had enough income, I wouldn’t have any problems. I’d have the life I wanted.
But the more I’ve lived – with money and without – I’ve seen the truth of this passage in so many ways. If my faith is in money, not God, I’ll never have enough.
- “Use worldly wealth to gain friends” – this is a very interested verse to me. What is Jesus saying? In the passage before he was talking about a shrewd (but dishonest) business manager who manipulated people with money. Knowing the character of God, I know Jesus isn’t telling us to be dishonest, but I think the point is that worldly wealth is just that – money on earth. We can’t take it with us when we die, but if we are good stewards it can have eternal benefits.
- I cannot serve both God and money. My faith and security needs to be in God, not money.
Going back to the little “Money Management” program I designed as a kid, I still have a love for systems, especially systems for stewardship of money. I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan and love his baby step program. But ultimately I know that this isn’t MY money. And its purpose isn’t just to provide for my family . . . but also as a tool to help me to demonstrate and build faith in God.
Our household income has changed quite a bit in the last six months. As we are adjusting to the change my husband and I are needing to have quite a few more “budgeting” discussion. Which can be stressful. Things we could easily afford before are now items that require discussion and decisions. Ultimately I think will be a good thing, but I need to enter those discussions with prayer. Also, I need to enter discussions with my daughters – about things we can’t afford – with some thought and preparation. I don’t want them to become stressed about money or to think that money is the most important thing. I need to demonstrate that I’m trusting in God and that we need to be asking God how we should be spending money.
Jesus, thank you for the parables and stories you gave us about handling money. Thank you for clearly telling us that we can’t serve both God and money. Money is probably – at least for me – the easiest idol to create. Please help me to trust in you with my finances. Help me to be respectful and loving with my husband, even during disagreements about money. Please help me to set a good example for my girls when it comes to finances– both in my actions and what I say. And please show me how you want me to steward the resources you have given me. And give me the strength to follow wherever you lead. In your name, Amen.