Faith that works when the Pressure’s on: A faith that handles wealth wisely
During a crisis, how do you handle your money wisely? God cares about every area of your life, including your finances. This message continues our study through the Book of James by offering three biblical ways to make, save, and use money wisely.
Something To Talk About:
- In accumulating wealth, don’t hoard it foolishly: James 5:3 says, “…You have hoarded wealth in the last days.” Money is not good or bad, it is a tool. Money is a tool to be used, not a thing to be piled up. In other words, God doesn’t want you just piling it all up. He wants His money in circulation. In Luke chapter 12 we read the story of a successful farmer. He was so successful he didn’t know what to do with all of his wealth. And instead of using it wisely, what did he do? He just stockpiles it. And he says to himself, I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And God says, You fool. Tonight, you’re going to die. And somebody else is going to get all that you worked so hard for. God says, instead of hoarding money foolishly, or wealth foolishly, he says, save it wisely. Proverbs 21:20 (TLB) “The wise man saves for the future. But the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Saving is a good thing. But when does a healthy interest in saving become something less — something that is cancerous to the soul? I can’t tell you. It’s a very personal decision. It’s a matter of heart and prayer. At some point, a healthy interest in saving turning into hoarding is an excuse for not trusting in God’s ability to supply all our needs.
- In acquiring wealth, don’t make it dishonestly: In accumulating, He said, don’t pile it up. And in acquiring it, He says, don’t make it dishonestly. Now, of course, there are plenty of ways to make money dishonestly. But James points out a common mistake. And it’s one that we may or may not think is being unfair, but it’s not paying your employees a fair wage. Yeah, God has something to say about that in the Bible. He says that’s dishonest. Now, I tell you what, that’s a scary verse for any business owner. But here’s the larger principle, Proverbs 10:2 (GNT) says “Wealth you get by dishonesty will do you no good, but honesty will save your life.” The wealth you get from dishonesty will do you no good, but honesty will save your life. Instead, treat others fairly in the way you use your money. Proverbs 16:11 (TLB) says “The Lord demands fairness in every business deal.” He sets the standard. The Lord demands fairness in every business deal. If you want God’s blessing on your work, you got to be fair with your employees and with everybody else. Proverbs 13:11 says this in the New Living Translation, “Wealth from get rich quick schemes quickly disappears, but wealth from hard work grows.” Shortcuts are often just a temptation and you need to make money the old-fashioned way. What dishonesty does to you personally is never worth the gain in profit. God says, just don’t do it. Make money honestly.
- In allocating wealth, don’t waste in selfishly: James 5:5 (ESV) says, ”You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.” He’s saying don’t confuse your net worth with your self-worth. They’re not the same. Your self-worth is not based on your net worth and never confuse your value as a person with your valuables. You don’t need valuables to prove you’re valuable. In other words, you don’t need bling. You don’t need status symbols. What does that mean? Well, if I’m piling up luxuries, while other people are starving to death when I could be helping them, then I am responsible. And if people are dying without food and I’ve got so much food that I’m getting fatter and fatter, there’s a problem here. What am I supposed to do? James tells us to share it generously. God is testing you to see how much He can trust you with it? And He says, if you’re faithful in little things, you’ll be faithful in much. But God is testing you to see what you’re doing with what you’ve been given. What are you doing with what you’ve been given? If God sees you faithful, he will give you more of what you’ve been given.
- God calls believers to be wise stewards of money; what does being wise stewards of our money mean to you?
- On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest level: What level of importance does money have in your life? Do you think that the way you currently view money is how God would want you to view it?
- The differences between hoarding and saving are that hoarding is selfish stockpiling and saving is strategic stewardship. What is the motivation behind each? What are the risks of hoarding and the possible reasons people do not save?
- Summarize in your own words what the Bible tells us about saving, according to the verses we have looked at so far?
- Notice that in James 5:4, it is the unfair wages that you have paid your employees crying out against you, being heard by God, and not necessarily the cries of the employees themselves that are reaching the ears of the Lord. What does this tell you about how God views unfairness and dishonesty? What does it tell you about how God views all oppression against the marginalized in our society?
- Emergencies and setbacks will happen. Having a savings account can give us margin and the peace of mind that we can pay for unexpected bills. Also, saving for items we need to replace in the future, like a home, a car or a laptop will help us to pay cash and keep us out of debt. Agree or disagree and why?
- What should you think about first before choosing to upgrade a possession that you already own?
- The Lord says in Proverbs 11:24 that “It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything”, which seems to be the opposite way of thinking. How do we change our definition of true prosperity? How can you begin to show more generosity in your day to day life?
- What from this message did you learn for the first time?
- What from the message was surprising or unexpected?
Take one thing home with you:
Let’s look at God’s promises on this subject. Here’s one, Proverbs 11:24, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.” There are givers and there are takers in life. If my whole life is about taking and hoarding and saving for me, He says, you’re going to lose it all. He says you’ll lose everything. Proverbs 11:25. says, “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 10:22 sums it up: “The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.”
This message was on three lessons God wants you to learn with your money. It’s not your money. You don’t really own anything. Everything you think you own is on loan and it’s God’s money and He’s loaned it to you. And He could take it away in an instant, or He could double it or triple it. He just wants you to learn to be generous and put Him first in everything.