|Written by Patrick Morley|
|Monday, June 06 2011 00:00|
Excerpted from Pastoring Men, Moody Publishers.
44. Money and Possessions
Ironically, most men think money will do what it can't and that God can't do what He will. A man cannot love both God and money (Matthew 6:24). A man cannot love both God and the world (1 John 2:15). Teach your men that money is God's chief competitor, and they must choose between the two.
Teach your men that money is a hand of providence. Not the only hand, but by money God directs the affairs of men. By giving it to us or taking it away, God directs us into His best plan and purpose for our lives. Men must feed their families, so He uses their need for money to direct them into work that "tends the culture."
Beyond exhorting us to share with the church and the poor, and to not make money a god, the Bible gives us great freedom over money and possessions. While all things are permissible, however, not all things will leave us happy. Here are three ideas to help your men think through their own "theology of money and possessions."
First, don't own things you do not use on a regular basis. For seven years we owned a weekend lake house just outside of town. Virtually every Friday afternoon we would "kidnap" our children and spend the weekend doing country things. When our daughter turned eleven, though, her in-town friends became very important to her. We only went to the lake house once that year, so we decided to sell the property. There was nothing wrong with owning the property; there was no requirement to sell the property; there was no special virtue to own or not own the property. It did, however, keep us lean and responsive to God's leading in our lives.
This idea is not for everyone. Nor does it make one man more spiritual than another. However, it may free a man up tremendously. Why? Everything you and I own requires maintenance, worry, insurance, money, and represents an opportunity cost.
Second, don't own things just because you can. A neighbor about a mile down the shore owned a completely restored mahogany 1957 Chris Craft Sportsman inboard boat. I mentioned that I would be interested if he ever wanted to sell. Six months later he did, and we agreed upon what I considered a fair price. But a test drive revealed the boat needed several maintenance items.
It took nearly a month to have the repairs made. During that time I continued to pray about selling our boat to buy the antique Chris Craft. One day the question came to mind, "Why not deny yourself this boat?" Since I had been thinking about this boat for three years, that thought came as quite a jolt. However, I had also been wondering if I should buy it just because I could. Over several days I came to the conclusion that, for me, it would be a good lesson in self-restraint and personal discipline to forego the purchase. On the other hand, there were other financial purchases I was considering at the time with which I went ahead and felt just fine.
Third, the more you give away the happier you will be. Because Man in the Mirror is a 501(c3) charitable organization, we receive financial gifts from donors. Over the years I have developed beautiful friendships with many of these donors and have been able to observe their lives. Here is an iron law: The greater proportion of a man's income he gives, the happier he is. I believe this is well borne out by Scripture.
Ironically, for some men, it's almost as though the more money they have, the more afraid they are that it's going to run out. If that has been the concern of one or more of your men, teach them the Bible makes it clear that if they are generous toward others, God will be generous toward them. Tell your men, "You are not going to run out of money."
For More: (1) See topic 60, Stewardship; and (2) read chapter 6, "Do What You Don't Want to Do and Become What You Want to Be," in Ten Secrets for the Man in the Mirror (Zondervan) from which this page is excerpted. Also go to www.pastoringmen.com and click on "44. Money and Possessions" and (3) watch or hear "Money Trouble" in the A Man's Guide to Inevitable Events series; and (4) watch or hear "Money: A Biblical Point of View" and "The Four Pillars of Financial Strength" in The Man in the Mirror Remix series; (5) read the two articles "Money and Possessions" and "How to Get Out of Debt."
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, PhD
#425 © 2011. Patrick Morley. All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced