I married a bank inspector. When my bank account gets in a mess, I find the best thing to do is to open another account! So you can just imagine how interesting our marriage has been. Well, they do say opposites attract.
Having come from a home where I had money for everything I wanted as well as everything I needed, I found myself serving a youth mission and living with everything I needed, but no money for anything I wanted - a new experience for me!
Of course, I had already observed that in the affluent arena where I lived and moved and had my being that money “doesn’t do it”! However, I reckoned, if I just got more money there would be a level where I would have enough and find myself content. As Lee Iacocca, a famous wealthy man, once said when asked just how much was enough, “Just a little bit more than what you’ve got.” Another “doesn’t do it” philosophy.
The problem with our Western society is that the American hero tends to be the poor man that makes a bundle, rather than the rich man who voluntarily becomes poor for God or humanity’s sake. The greed need reigns. It is fed by advertising and lifestyles of the rich and famous. Most Christians may not be addicted to drink, drugs, or pornography, but we can be addicted to things - good things, nice things, expensive or cheap things. Jesus said that, “No man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Lk. 16:13). We will find greed an unrelenting deity. There are no lasting returns. We will end up craving things we neither need nor enjoy once we have obtained them. Are we hooked on having?
Arthur Gish comments in Beyond the Rat Race, “We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.” As Christians we have an added incentive to handle money well. Three of the things that can bring us down are money, sex, and power, and the devil tries to use one or all these devices to destroy ministries, marriages, and families. So be on your guard! The incentive we have is the honoring of our Lord Jesus Christ in all these areas.
I have found that the antidote to greed is generosity. We first practice generosity by giving ourselves away - our time, our energy, and our passion. Here are some ways that can help you breed generosity in your life:
Get involved with relief and development work or a missions project from your church. Try to go on a family missions trip to expose your children to poverty and how the developing world lives.
Study what the Bible says about helping the poor and relieving the oppressed. You can then make a list from the Scriptures about the warnings to those who allow things to have them instead of them having things.
Attend a lot of funerals. That’s a huge help. You can’t take it with you, you know. As Solomon said, “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath.” Proverbs 11:4 says, “In the end the most valuable thing each of us possesses is the one life we have to live on earth.”
Read Philippians 2 once a week. That will keep your mind on the right track and on Him who was rich and yet for our sakes became poor that we through His poverty might become rich. We can follow His example by becoming more like Christ and serving Him who already purchased everything for us that has eternal value.
Money can’t buy all the things that last forever! Yet money can help people know about Jesus, who we know gives spiritual wealth beyond our wildest dreams. Must go and deal with my checkbook and be a good steward myself. I have decided I will be responsible for Jesus’ sake, and I won’t open another account!
Just Between Us