My pastor’s recent sermon centered on three things: God, money and me. I was impacted by the unusual clarity of this message and want to share it with you.
If you are seeking a closer walk with God, money is one of the biggest issues that can block you from growing nearer to Him.
Money, in and of itself, is not the problem. The problem is your relationship with money. God is also not the problem. If your relationship with God is genuine and valuable, giving back to Him a very small portion of what is His to begin with should flow naturally out of a heart of love and devotion. If you are sold out to the almighty dollar, more times than not, you’ll want to keep getting more and more of it rather than giving away even a little. There have been times when people experienced an increased heart rate in response to just the suggestion of giving away some of their hard earned cash. Creative excuses to avoid letting go of it abound. The bottom line struggle with money centers around how tight its hold is on you!
Pastor mentioned that often those in the pews carry a mindset that screams, “The church just wants my money!” When the offering basket is passed or you’re reminded to give online, arms fly to a crossed position, ears become dull of hearing, and people appear tense and defiant.
But wait. What about the restaurant you ate in last night? What about the babysitter? What about that popular department store you shopped in last week? Don’t they want your money? Did you shut down and refuse to “pay the money” they demanded you pay? Did you carry your items out anyway? I hope not, that would be stealing!
Are you stealing from God? God’s stance is the same as the store owner’s when we refuse to give the tithe, the ten percent, He asks from us. (Malachi 3:8) And He asks, He doesn’t demand. We have a choice. It will result in benefits or consequences – depending. But unlike the restaurant, babysitter, and department store, God has no need for your money. He is simply and lovingly protecting you from falling in love with those greenbacks and plastic cards. Your love for money will ultimately lead you away from Him. At that point, our jealous God reaches out to protect you from a bad relationship and an idol.
“Idol!” you say? Yes. Money can become an idol–a false God. The almighty dollar makes promises it can’t keep. It perpetuates lies like “money can make you popular”. That popularity usually ebbs away when the money runs out. Ever noticed that? Another lie says, “money will bring friends flocking around you”. How long do you think those friendships will last?
Money is a counterfeit God. But our almighty, true God offers you a quality, dependable, eternal relationship with permanent rewards when you put Him first.
Relationships with money usually follow a predictable pattern says Pastor Rob: First we spend it then use it to pay debts. Next we pay taxes and invest it or save it. Lastly, we think about giving it. But God’s best plan is opposite of that pattern: Give first – to Him! (Proverbs 3: 9-10)
As we give God the first fruits of all that He has made available to us, that alignment has the power to bless all the rest of all our stuff. God, you, and money. That is the right order. “Keeping first things first,” says Pastor Rob, “will bless the rest!” (Luke 6:8)
Take this little test. What kind of internal response do you get when you declare with conviction: “Today I am going to out-give God?” Now, who is in control of your relationship with money?