You know, as you read through the book of Proverbs, and as you, really, even read through the entire Bible, what you’ll notice is that there are three questions that the Bible asks us about money. And the first question is, “How did you get it?”
I mean, was it through deception? Was it through dishonesty? Now, I’m going to just assume that everybody in this room makes a good honest living. So, we’re not gonna spend much time on that. But you do know how deception can creep into your work life. And usually it’s driven by the love of money or the desire for more money.
The second question is, “What is money doing to us?” In other words, how is it impacting us, particularly, our hearts and our souls? And we had really looked at that last week. You remember, we talked about the deceptiveness of money. And that comes from Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds. Do you remember the one seed that falls into the ground? It grows, and then the weeds come up and choke it out, and it bears no fruit. And when Jesus gives the explanation, He says, “This is the one, this is the person where the worries of this world,” and then He doesn’t say the riches of life. He says, “the deceitfulness of riches enter in and choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful.”
So, these are Jesus’ own words. He talks about the deceptiveness of riches, and last week we talked about how that happens. It can happen in four ways. One, it can impact our identity as men. And, that so many men get their identity, their sense of manhood, based on how much they have, how successful they are in their work, which, usually, ends up leading to financial well-being. Second, we talked about it becomes our source of security. And we realized, just that, we talked about the foolishness of that. That it provides no security at all, because, ultimately, we’re not in control of much of anything. A third, we talked about blinding us to judgement day issues. And then, finally, we said we look to money and financial wealth to satisfy us, with the kind of the belief that more is always better. We always have to have more, because we’re never satisfied with what we have.
And I ended with this illustration. I don’t know how many of you can see it. This word right here says fulfillment. It’s called the Fulfillment Curve, and this is your income or the amount of wealth that you have. And that we said that most people naturally believe that this is a linear line. And so, if you make this amount of money, you’ll have this much fulfillment. If you make this amount of money, you may have this much of it. You see how your fulfillment goes up? But I got this from a wonderful book. It’s not written by Christians that did this study. This isn’t the way the linear line, does not go the way life really works, that what happens at some point, it flattens out. And they say, when it flattens out, that’s when you have enough. But then, as you keep going, it starts going down. Your fulfillment starts going down, and the implication is, you get more and more stuck, more and more wealth, you get more and more stuff, and you’re basically, your wealth becomes a burden.
And I shared about the man that I had, a wealthy man that I’d shared this illustration with, and he says, “Well, my life’s probably about right there.” I said, “What’s the problem?” He said, “I got all these houses. They’re a burden in my life. I’ve got to go to them all the time. I got to keep, I gotta fix them all up!”
And then we ended by saying, “Does that mean that once you get here, that’s about all the amount of fulfillment you can expect to get?” And what they say, “No, that when you get here, when you have enough, that if you want to increase your fulfillment, you need to give more, as your income or your wealth increases.” And I can’t tell you the number of men that have said that illustration is spot on. I think it speaks the truth about money and possessions. And so, what do you do when you get to this point? It’s becoming more of a burden. Well, the answer is pretty easy. Simplify your life!
There’s a great book by Richard Foster. In fact, I pulled it back out. I’m getting ready to go back and read it again. It’s called, The Freedom of Simplicity. And the bottom line, he says, is “The simpler your life is,” in other words, the less clutter you have in your life, “the happier and freer you are.” In fact, that is the teaching. If you’ve read Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, he teaches about the hedgehog versus the fox. Are you familiar with that? That’s what that’s about. He talks about the simplicity of the hedgehog.
Now, where we’re going to go now, I want to focus for a few minutes on this line right here, the giving aspect, because, when it gets right down to it, the final question, the third question, remember? The first question is “How did you get your money?” Two, “What is it doing to you?” The third question the Bible asks is, “What are you doing with what you have?” And we’re going to consider that today, along with several other things.
Proverbs 11:24 says, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more. Another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” But, that word, give, “One man gives freely”. That word, give, the Hebrew, it’s the word Pazar, P-A-Z-A-R, which means, interesting, it means to scatter. To give, means to scatter. The apostle Paul says something similar in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11. He says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can become generous on every occasion.”
Tim Keller says that, “As Christians, we need to see and understand that wealth is like seeds.” I don’t think we think about it in those terms. And, that the Bible speaks of what’s called a Scattering Principle, and it’s very counter-intuitive. I mean, in fact, it’s somewhat of a paradox, because the idea of scattering means you break up something that’s yours. You distribute it, and when you do that, logically, it would seem, “I’m decreasing what I have.” And in our world, I think it’s very logical. People believe that, we need about gathering, and getting, and increasing, and hoarding, so that we’ll have enough.
But this teaching is somewhat paradoxical, because when you increase your scattering, you’re gathering increases. That is, scattering comes from agriculture. It’s the scattering of seeds. The more you scatter, the more you gather. The more you sow, the more you reap. And I’m not talking to, as I get into this, you’ll see, this is not a prosperity Gospel. If I give a lot away, then God’s going to give me that much more money. I’m not talking about that, but I will get to it in a minute. But think about a farmer. Think about a farmer. If he holds onto his seed, he’s got all this seed, but he just says, “I’m gonna hold on to it. I’m gonna hoard it.” You’ll never have any crop. But this is teaching, when you scatter your seeds, it comes back to you in a better form. The Scattering Principle says, “we are blind to the purpose of money unless we see it as seed that can be scattered.” And I truly believe that giving it was a way to, if any person has struggles with money, and it has a power over him, the best way to deal with it is, learn to be able to give. Be generous, particularly when you realize that your financial resources are like seeds. Some people call the Scattering Principle, The Law of Reciprocity. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that term, and it comes from Jesus. His own words, in Luke 6:30, Jesus says this, “Give and it will be given to you. They will pour it into your lap, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return.” And you know, guys, this seems to be a Scripture, or this seems to be a principle that’s found throughout the Scripture, and it’s not just financial. In Proverbs 11:25, this is a verse that’s meant a great deal to me personally. It says, “A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” In other words, when you give to others in some form or fashion, it impacts you. It’s like Stephen Covey says, “If you really want to and learn, you have to teach others.” He says that’s the best way to do it. Pour into others.
A number of years ago, I heard a man share this, that “The Christian life, we should be like a river; a healthy river, a healthy stream.” Where does a river get its resources? From the mountains on high, and it comes down, and it flows down into the river, into the stream, and then it goes out into the valley and feeds the valley below. He says, “That’s the way our lives should be. We should receive our resources, our strength, our power, our wisdom from on high.” And it flows into our lives, and we should figure out, how can I give it out to others? Because, the illustration goes on to say, ”If all you do is get input into your life, and there’s no output, you end up being a stagnant pond.” And nobody wants to be a stagnant pond.”
But, going back to financial giving, I believe this is true. God will bless your giving. It might not necessarily be financial. It might, but it might not. It might be your marriage, your family, your children. It might be a sense of joy. They say the human heart was made to give. We were designed to give, in all kinds of ways. And basically, when we give, the natural outcome is joy. There’s a joyfulness. There’s a satisfaction that comes from giving, not only financially, but any way that you invest in somebody else.
But I’ll just close this part by saying, Jesus says it. “Give and it’ll be given unto you.” And if He says it, then it’s, it’s true. Now, Proverbs has other interesting teaching on managing your money. I mean, think about this ancient book, as you’re gonna see, teaches us a lot about what we’re confronted with today. There’s some basic principles, and I mean, this is not rocket science. But this first one is pretty interesting. When I was studying the book of Proverbs, I encounter this commentary about it. It says, “One of the great ironies in the book of Proverbs is that if you love money too much, it leads to overwork, over competence, ethical shortcuts, over-consumption, and a loss of compassion for the less fortunate. In the process,” listen to this, “you will find yourself making more and more foolish investments and economic decisions.” You ever done that? You’ll do it over the long run. The irony is, that the more you can break the power of money in your life, the more likely you are to make wise investment and economic decisions in the long run. Isn’t that interesting?
Listen to some of these verses from Proverbs. Proverbs 12:11, “He who works, his land will have abundant food. He follows worthless pursuits, lacks judgment.” Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who makes haste comes to poverty.” Make haste means to spit, basically, to get, the idea of a get rich quick investment. You ever done one of those? Proverbs 28:19-20, “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he follows empty pursuits will have poverty and plenty.” Verse 20, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.” Verse 22 in that same chapter, “A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.” And then Proverbs 14:15, “The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.
Let me ask you a question. Has anybody in here ever made a dumb investment? I’m not talking about, I see two realtors raise their hands. I’m not talking about buying a stock that goes down. I’m talking about, just a dumb investment. I mean, I can think back of two that I’ve made. I lost every dime. I will attribute it to being in my younger days, when I was, probably, a lot more foolish than I am now. But there’s something very appealing to people about making a quick buck. There is! I don’t know what, and usually, you fall for it because this is what you’re told. Has anybody ever told you this? This is a sure thing. This is a sure thing, make you some easy, quick money. As I look back on these two investments that I lost money on, I should have, thinking back, taken into account who is offering the investment. I won’t say anymore. I think, what ends up happening, with the possibility to make a killing real fast, is hard for some people to resist. I’m sure that’s what it was with me.
Let’s move in a different direction. This Scripture right here is, is taught a lot, as it relates to saving and investing. And it’s Proverbs 6:6-8. “Go to the ant,” A-N-T. “Go to the ant, oh sluggard. Observe her ways and be wise. Which having no chief, overseer, or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.” And most people believe this is the Biblical teaching on saving and investing for the future. But this is what’s clear in that Scripture right there. Ants instinctively look ahead, and in certain favorable seasons, they put aside provision for more difficult days ahead. And what Solomon seems to be saying to us, is that what an ant does by instinct, people ought to do as a matter of simple, common sense. Because it says in Verse 6: “Observe the ways of the ant and be wise about your life.”
Now, also noticed about the ant, if you’ve ever watched ants, I’m always amazed. I don’t know if you have any problems with ant beds in your yards. From time-to-time, I do. It’s amazing how they can build an ant bed so fast. But what you learn about ants, if you know anything about them, is that they are plotters. They plot along. I mean, this is the way that, basically, God is saying we should approach finance. Because back over here, where we just read a minute ago, “He makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.” So, it’s almost like he’s saying, “You need to be a plotter, starting when you’re young, year-in and year-out. Be like the ant. Plot along. Save money. Invest it wisely. Do it every year, with the power of compounding. You should be in a position to take good care of you and your family when you’re no longer in a position to earn a living. And guys, that day will come.
You know, this is wisdom. This is being forward-thinking. I’m amazed how so many people lack the ability to think, have a kind of a forward-thinking mentality. Now, over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to counsel people on their finances. And one of the reasons, I think, is because I have operated on a budget for 40 something years. And I have people come to me and say, “How do you, tell us, teach me how to do it?” And over these years, one of the things that I’ve recognized is that there are three things that I’ve learned that cause people to get into financial trouble. Three things, and they’re all in Proverbs. All of them! First, most people don’t have a financial plan of any kind. And this is so crucial guys, and this isn’t in just finance. This is in any area of your life where you want to see growth. You have to be intentional about it. You have to plan for it. And, then, once you planned for it, this is the hard part. Then, you have to execute the plan.
I remember helping a guy form a, a guy that made a really good living, help him make a really good budget. And then the key, and he was excited about it! Then I said, “All right, you can go execute it.” The problem was the execution never happened, because the budget got in the way of his lifestyle. And, so, he chucked the budget. Then, what I find, is most people don’t have any kind of plan. So, if you don’t, I encourage you to start thinking in these terms. I don’t care how little or how much you make.
Now, the second one is really not rocket science at all, but I’m amazed at how many people, it’s like they don’t know this. The second reason people get into financial trouble is, they don’t realize, you have to spend less than you earn, in order to save. Did you know that? You know other, seriously guys. And Proverbs is very clear about, other than building a business, and some of you have done that and done a fabulous job of that. Other than building a business, but, like me, some of you are like me. You work for a company. But other than building a business or an inheriting a big sum of money, the only way that, Proverbs is very clear, the only way to create wealth is to spend less than you earn and save as the years go by.
You know, when you read Proverbs, whenever you see that word wealth, it means to have an abundance. That’s what it means. Wealth means to have an abundance. And it means to earn enough to meet all of your needs, and then have a surplus over and above that. And the greater your surplus, the greater your wealth. But interestingly, hear this. In our culture today, when people think of the word wealth, you know what they think of? They don’t think of a net worth. They think of a certain lifestyle that goes with it. You’ve heard the term The Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous? The problem is, and this is what I’ve learned again in my counseling people, is that so many people try to flaunt a certain lifestyle, so that people will think they’re wealthy, when, in reality, they’re not. This happens often. Listen to Proverbs 13:7, “There’s one who pretends to be rich, but it has nothing. Another man considers himself to be poor but has great wealth.” And Max Anders, in his commentary on Proverbs, in referring to this verse, he says, “This reminds us that appearances are deceiving. Conceit will motivate a person to adopt a lavish lifestyle, even though he actually has nothing. And, in Proverbs 13:7, the word pretending probably refers, not to play acting the part of a rich person, but, actually, to adopting a rich man’s pattern of life.” And he says, “You would not be able to do this,” tt was very hard to do this before credit card came along. “But once you had easy credit,” he says, “then it’s easy to do this.”
Has anybody read this book? If you haven’t, I recommend it. It’s a great book. But it was written about 25 years ago. It’s called, The Millionaire Next Door. Any of you read it? I highly recommend it. My son’s read it twice. He loves it. These two guys did this extensive research. And they said, “What most people don’t realize,” and realize this is 25 years ago, but, “the largest percentage of millionaires, most people have no idea that they have any wealth at all because of their modest lifestyle. And it’s their modest lifestyle that enabled them to create the wealth that they created.” They said, “but a large percentage,” not all, “a large percentage of people who live lavish lifestyles, and would appear to have great wealth, have little or no net worth.” You know, I don’t think we realize how many people will spend their entire income, and go into great debt, to maintain their lifestyle. And you know what the biggest, do you know the number one creditor is in the United States? The IRS. Now, what that means is people have an income, they owe tax, but they spent all of their income on their lifestyle, and then they ended up owing the IRS money. And I promise you, it happens all the time.
So, people struggle financially because they have no plan. They spend more than they earn. And the final reason, and the final reason is the main reason people have to declare bankruptcy. You know what that is? It’s one word. Debt. It’s debt. I had a wise old country gentleman once tell me, he said, “You know, Richard, if you don’t have any debt, you’ll never go broke.” In other words, if you have no debt, you’ll never have to declare bankruptcy. Let’s look at a couple of verses here real quick. Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” Proverbs 22:26-27, “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for someone’s debt.” Then listen to this. “If you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.” I guess back then, if you if you owed somebody and you didn’t, they just take your bed!
Now, let me say that the Bible is not saying that going into debt is wrong or sinful. In fact, I know a lot of you are in industries that, where debt is very commonplace. But what it’s saying is how, and you know, everybody knows this. Debt can be dangerous. It can be. Because the lender does always have power over the borrower. And, almost everybody I know that’s gotten into financial trouble, it’s not because they didn’t earn enough money. It’s because they chose a lifestyle where they incurred excessive debt and couldn’t service it. There’s a guy by the name of Greg Brenneman. He’s one of the world’s leading business turnaround executives and he wrote a book right away, and all at once, and he shared some really wise words about debt. He says, “We should always match our debts with the life of our asset.” He says, “There is a reason that your credit card bills come due every 30 days, your car loan in five years, and most home mortgages in 30 years. These loans have been set up to match the life of the underlying asset. Groceries and a tank of gasoline last less than a month. Automobiles, five years or more. Homes, obviously much longer. But where people get in trouble,” he says, “is when they borrow to support lavish lifestyles through items such as jewelry, designer clothes and vacations. This is generally done with credit card debt, and when this happens, it’s the beginning of digging a hole.” You know Psalms 7:5 talks about the problem of digging a hole. When you dig a hole, usually, it says, you fall into it and you can’t get out of it. Michael Kidwell and Steve Rohde, authors of Get Out of Debt, Smart Solutions to Your Money Problems, shares this. “Debt is one of the leading causes of divorce, lack of sleep, and poor work performance. It is truly one of a deep, dark secrets that people have. It robs them of their self- worth and keeps them from achieving their dreams.”
Now guys, the Bible does not have many suggested financial goals or financial objectives, but it does appear to teach that being debt free is very wise. Even to, one day, get your mortgage paid off. Because, think about when you’re completely out of debt, you discover that your possessions and your lifestyle really no longer possess you. Now, I want to close by sharing some Scripture from the New Testament. These are words from Jesus that some people find to be very disturbing. And usually those who have any degree of wealth, it disturbs them. But I want to walk through this and, and make sure we understand it. And it’s when Jesus encounters the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, you’re familiar with that.
In Verse 16 it says, “Behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good things shall I do that I may obtain eternal life? And he said to him, why are you asking me about what is good? There is only one who is good, but if you wish to enter into life,” he says, “do this. Keep all the commandments.” Now, Jesus was kind of messing with the guy, and I don’t mean that sarcastically. I mean he understood this man and understood what was in his heart. And he said, “I tell you, keep all the commandments.” And the man said, “Well, which ones?” And Jesus starts quoting the 10 Commandments, but notice he leaves out the first two, and says, “You shall not commit murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” He leaves the last one out too, now as I’m sitting here reading it. And the young man said to him, “I’ve done all these things. I’ve kept all those commandments.” He’s feeling good about himself. And then, Jesus threw him the ultimate curve ball. He said, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give them to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come with us and follow me. But when the young man heard this statement, he went away, grieved for, he was one who owned much property.
Now, I have people say, “Well, is that what Jesus wants us to do?” Dallas Willard offers some really good insight on this. I don’t know. Dallas Willard, if you’re familiar with him, he died a couple of years ago. A brilliant man and a Godly man. He taught philosophy at the University of Southern California. He was head of the department for a number of years and he says, “When you read the Bible, you need to realize, in Scripture you see certain principles.” And he says, “These principles are fundamental. They’re absolute. And, they show up with stunning clarity in the entirety of Scripture.” He says, “But then you have incidental words and encounters and teachings.” And incidental means to accompany, but not be a major or fundamental part of it. And Willard says, “This encounter and these words to this rich young ruler are incidental to people, in general.” But if you’ve noticed, if you read the the Gospels, Jesus did not ask this of everyone he met. Take Zacchaeus, the tax collector. Nobody liked the tax collectors. They worked for the Romans and they also, they cheated people. That’s why they were so wealthy. And Jesus goes into Zacchaeus’ home. At one point, Zacchaeus, you remember what he says? “I’m going to give half of what I have to the poor.”
Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Well, what about the other half?” In fact, Jesus rejoices, commends him. Then, take another wealthy man that he has an encounter with. Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. You read the Scriptures. The Pharisees were wealthy. Jesus didn’t say a word about his money. He hones in on his real need. “Nicodemus, you need to be born again.” Then you’ve got so many others. I think of the woman at the well. She had been married five times. She was living with a guy. Jesus really, he doesn’t talk anything about money. He hones in on her real need. “You need living water.” And so, it seems that Christ, whenever he encountered someone, would laser in on the issue that captivated that person’s heart. Because you see, Christ makes it clear. “Whatever you treasure most in life, that’s where your heart will be also.” And so, what is it that really captivates our hearts? Like a good question. As Jesus stood before us today, what is the issue in your life, in my life, that He might laser in on?
Now, just to kind of take this one step further, if you go to 1 Timothy 6, it’s kind of interesting. Paul, initially in the first part, says, “If you want to get rich,” in other words, if you’re out there working and accumulating, he says, “you need to beware of this.” And he warns people. If you’re trying, if you’re in the process of seeking to create wealth, you need to beware of this. But then he goes to 2:17 and says, “But if you are rich, you need to do these three things. First, don’t be arrogant and conceited over your wealth.” He says, I think he’s, basically he’s saying, that’s what happens to so many wealthy people. They become arrogant. The second thing he says, “And don’t fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches. And then the third thing he says, “Be generous. Be generous. But Paul says nothing about giving all your money away to the poor.
You know, in the last month or so, I’ve had three men come to me and ask me about the verses that come after Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler, he’s saddened, and he goes away. And Jesus is left talking to his disciples. And by the way, Christ, I think if you read it, I think it’s in Luke. Jesus had real compassion. He really loved this young guy, and he was speaking truth into his life. And I’m sure spoke what the man needed to hear, that his heart was truly captivated by his wealth. But then he turns to his disciples and says, this. What I was saying is I’ve had three men come to me and said, “This disturbs me.” These are three men with, they have means. Matthew 19:23-24, “It’s hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Those words shake people up. But think about, I ask you to think through what he’s saying. The real issue that stirs people is, not so much that they have their wealth, but the fact that he’s saying rich people have a hard time getting into heaven. How do you get into heaven? That’s the issue. You get into heaven, there’s one huge issue of getting into heaven. You have to have your sins forgiven. You have to have your sins forgiven. And how does that come? By grace, through faith in Christ. And, clearly what Jesus is saying, well, very often blinds us to see our need for Christ, and our need for the forgiveness of our sins. It’s like I’m self-sufficient.
I had a man tell me, he shared this with me a number of years ago. His father was a self-made man, had built this huge business, had great wealth. And the son, his son who was a Christian, was just concerned because his father was, just kind of, was godless. And he went and he talked to his dad about it one day. And listen to do what his dad told him. It’s an incredible admission, but I think this is what happens. What I’m going to share with you is what happens so often. His father said, “What do I need God for? I have everything I want, and everything I need.” And he kind of brushed him off. I mean, that’s an incredible admission, but I think that’s what happens in the heart, easily happens in the heart of people. They don’t come out and say that, but that’s what happens. Money becomes our God, and it blinds us to judgment day issues and what Jesus, I think, is really saying, is that wealth can be a great hindrance in seeing our need for God and Salvation. Conversely, he says in James 2:5, “It is the poor of the world that are generally rich in faith.” And the reason is, they don’t have the same hindrances to their faith and walking with God do that he wealthy do.
So, I would just close with these thoughts, guys. If you have any degree of wealth, or as I roll, we got younger guys here. If one day you become wealthy, of course we can have a discussion on what is wealth. We all have a lot more than most people in the world. But, if you have wealth, I think, these are the three things, and it goes back to what Paul says. I’ll put it, first, be humble. Recognize, every day, that all you have comes from the Hand of God. He gave you your abilities, your opportunities. Give him the credit. It’ll stay on. That is a key. I really believe, if you going to have a good relationship with your wealth, be humble. And what you do, is give God thanks every day. Lord, I realize all that I have comes from your hand, and I am so grateful. I give you thanks. That’s the heart of humility. Second thing, recognize every day that He is your ultimate security, that you’re grateful that He is your source of Salvation, and that He is the ultimate security in life. Because, nothing can take us away from the love of God. “Neither life nor death nor any principality nor anything can separate us from the love of God. That’s in Christ Jesus.” And, as Paul says in, the third thing he says is 1Timothy 6:18, these are his words, exact words. He says, “Instruct the rich to do good, to be rich in good works and to be generous.” Paul is saying to the wealthy, “You have the opportunity to do great good in the world.”
I think that’s one of the main instructions we should get from this. As is kind of where we started last week. Wealth can be used for such good or it can corrupt your life. And, that’s why we have to be on guard. Be aware. Be humble. Be generous. Do good.
Let me close. Father, we realize what a serious issue this is, because there’s so much instruction on it. It appears that the Bible teaches more on money and wealth and wealth and poverty than, really, any other issue in the Bible. So, it’s important. I pray that You’d give us wisdom. Lord. I pray that we would walk wisely through this life, and then we would recognize everything comes from You. That You are our ultimate security. And, Father, that You might show us how You want to use the resources that have been given us, that You just lead and guide us in that area of our lives. And we thank You and pray all of this in Christ’s name. Amen.