God created the heart of man to be filled with the Creator not the creation. When sin entered into the perfect creation, a thousand candidates now entered the race for the throne of man’s life.
The very “things” that God gave us as gifts,
now threaten to become more important to us than the Giver.
Eventually, when the Lord returns and sin makes its exit for all eternity, we will once again enjoy not only the perfect fellowship and service for which we were created… we will also for the first time truly begin to enjoy the “things” God has created for us in a sinless, guilt-free manner. The gifts will no longer threaten the supremacy of the Giver for man’s affection and desire.
I want to wrap up our mini-series on money by giving you a list of bullet points that summarize what we have already learned, plus few more thoughts; then conclude with a list of verses about money for you to read and study.
- No amount of money will ever make an unhappy person happy; or a discontented person content.
Ecclesiastes 2.10-11 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.
If you are discontent right this moment, you are a discontented person, period.
- The pursuit of money never brings satisfaction and can consume your life
Ecclesiastes 4:8 There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. (NKJV)
The writer of Ecclesiastes declares this to be a waste of time and a very sad tragedy.
Wealth does not bring security
Ecclesiastes 5:13-14a There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune; (NKJV)
Wealth doesn’t secure you from injustice, pestilence, wars, disease or adversaries. “Things” don’t give you security. Being in God’s will does.
Wealth never brings peace of mind
Ecclesiastes 5:· 12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep. (NKJV)
The more you have, the harder it is to ever relax from the endless needs to maintain, organize, insure, protect, maintain and care for it all. The more you have, the more people will be trying to get you to give it up to them. Someone or something will always be trying to relieve you of your wealth.
Prosperity never decreases need
Ecclesiastes 5:11 When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes? (NKJV)
The more money you have, the more needs there will be, the more hands that will be held out for it; the more someone will be trying to take it from you. It seems to be completely contrary to logic, but it’s almost universally true. The more you have, the more you need to take care of what you have and the cycle just keeps feeding on itself.
The richest & wisest man who ever lived hated life because his wealth was powerless to bring happiness
Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. (NKJV)
Money is a blessing you can use in three ways: Lose it, spend it, or send it
Life is risky and uncertain; invest your blessings and time wisel on things that matter eternally
Galatians 6:7 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)
- Prosperity causes you to “need” what you never needed before.
Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NKJV)
Increased prosperity causes us to “need” things we never needed before, whether individually or as a society.
- Prosperity causes us to believe that what we have we deserve.
Deuteronomy 8:18 – “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (NKJV)
Job 41:11 – Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. (NKJV)
One of the most common advertising slogans now is “you deserve”. This idea of “you deserve” appeals to the lowest common denominator of man: pride and greed; which explains why it is such a successful marketing tool. We don’t deserve anything. Everything we have is God’s, and not only that, the very ability to earn wealth in the first place is a gift from God.
Prosperity actually decreases true wealth for most people because we buy more than we need or can afford primarily due to advertising.
Proverbs 13:7 – There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. (NKJV)
The more things we have, the more things we have to have. Prosperity feeds itself and advertising is like pouring gas on a fire. Advertising has one purpose alone… to make you discontent with what you have, who you are and what others think of you.
Prosperity brings the freedom and power to pursue idleness, pleasure, recreation and multitudinous choices rather than being focused on a few primary pursuits.
Proverbs 13:7 – There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. (NKJV)
Wealth brings CHOICE OVERLOAD in every area of our life: clothing, vacations, entertainment, pleasure, recreation, etc. The important things in life quickly become “boring”: God, family, work & ministry. The freedom and power that money brings can be every bit as addicting and intoxicating as drugs or sex. Don’t underestimate its effects.
- Prosperity brings stimulation and sensation, but at a price
Proverbs 13:7 – The leech has two daughters – Give and Give! (NKJV)
The more things we have, the more we can enjoy the sensations and stimulation of worldly pleasures and luxury. The problem is there is always more pleasure, more sensation, more money and more luxury. God wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to experience the wonders of His creation. But not at the cost of our fellowship and longing for him.
Prosperity can cause our material possessions to become “statements” instead of tools or simply blessings.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 …that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you… (NKJV)
As prosperity increases, our possessions become statements of our so-called success. It’ no longer a blessing simply to have “things”… we must now have nice things, new things and stylish things that tell people how successful we are. Prosperity moves us from functionality and adequacy to image and status.
Prosperity solves some problems while creating others.
Material prosperity brings a mixed bag of blessings. Many things in life are made easier, cured, fixed or solved… but often times it creates a new problem unknown before that time such as stress, depression, boredom, covetousness, etc. Material possessions, wealth, technology and progress are all gifts from God when view in Godly perspective. We must be aware of the “price” that comes attached and counter it appropriately with spiritual safeguards.
Other hidden, potential dangers of prosperity that we should be on guard against:
- Prosperity can cause you to feel like what you do have is somehow less because of what you can see that you don’t have
- Prosperity can cause us to be stressed or bitter about being denied continued prosperous growth
- Prosperity decreases deprivation and physical need but exponentially increases covetousness
- Prosperity increases our lifestyle and comfort but decreases our ability to empathize or care about the truly poor
- Prosperity can increase addictions of all sorts
- Prosperity can cause an increase in human conflict in families, businesses, communities & nations
- Prosperity can cause a society to cheat and distrust
- Prosperity rampantly increases impulsiveness and the short-term gratification mentality
- Prosperity can cause you to trust in, and find contentment in the blessings rather than the One who blesses
- Prosperity can cause us to begin to believe that what we have is ours not God’s
- Prosperity endears us to this world and makes the glory of heaven diminish
- Prosperity can cause us to lose any cushion or reserves in our time, emotions and money to deal with life; and we become overloaded trying to maintain a lifestyle
- Ask God for just the right amount – not too much, not too little
Proverbs 30:7-9 – Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. (NKJV)
Or in other words, “Lord, give me just the right amount of money to live a Godly life and do Your will; but not so much that material possessions hinder my need and love for You”.
- Material blessings are a gift from God to be enjoyed as long as God remains on the Throne of our lives
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 – I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. (NKJV)
There is nothing wrong with having money or having “things”. It’s when “things” have you that the problems begin. Never forget the Giver, and never allow the gifts to recieve the adoration, desire and love that belongs only to God.
- Examine your life and be honest about what your real treasure is
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NKJV)
It’s easy to figure out where our “treasures” are in life. Look at a person’s schedule and checkbook and the answer will be clear what is important to them. It is profitable for us to do a self examination occasionally to see if our “treasure” is where it should be: in eternity.
- We love what we pay for or invest in
Luke 12:34 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NKJV)
You are attracted to, and interested in, what you spend your time and money on. Don’t believe me? Show me your checkbook or schedule and I will tell you exactly what you are most interested in. You will begin to be attracted to and more interested in the God’s work when you start investing in it.
- Get your mind off money, and on to God
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. (NKJV)
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (NKJV)
God did not create us to be consumed with His creation. Get your mind off money, and on to God, and see how quickly “things” fall in to their proper place.
God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but to raise our standard of good works and giving
1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (NKJV)
You will give an account for what you did with your material blessings and it will effect you for all eternity. If you are rich, then God expects you to be rich in good works. And remember the Biblical definition of rich: having more than you need for one day. We will have no excuse for not having laid up much treasure in heaven!
Everything we have is God’s
Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. (NKJV)
God can decide what to do with His stuff quite nicely without me, thank you very much. Everything we have is God’s; not 10%, not what’s left over, not what you decide to give Him; Even the power to earn money in the first place comes from God! God doesn’t owe us anything; He owns it all We have no right to think we deserve anything; we should simply be thankful for what we do have!
More on money:
- CHARGING INTEREST: Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25: 35-38; Deuteronomy 23:19-20; Proverbs 28:8; Nehemiah 5:7-11; Psalms 15:5; Ezekial 18: 1-19; 22:12
- GOD’S THOUGHTS ABOUT RICHES: Genesis 24:34-35; Deuteronomy 8:17-18; 1 Samuel 2:7-8; 1 Kings 3:10-13; 2 Chronicles 1:11-12; 17:5; Job 31: 24-28; 34:18-19; Psalms 17:14-25; 37:13; 112:1-3; Proverbs 8:18-21; 10:22; 11:16; 13:22; 15:16; 22:1; 22:4; 28:6; 28:20; Ecclesiastes 3 2:26; 5:10; 4:7-8; Isaiah 3:14-255: 8-10; 5:14-17; 10:1-4; 53:9; 55:1-2; Jeremiah 5:26-29; 7:5-7; 9:23-24; 17:11; 48:7; 49:4-5; 51:13; Ezekiel 16:49-50; Hosea 12:7-11; Amos 2:7; 4:1; 5:10-15; 6:1-7
- LENDING: Deuteronomy 24:6; 24:10-13; 24:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9-10
- UNTRUSTWORTHINESS OF WEALTH: Psalms 39:6; 49:1-20; 52:6-7; Proverbs 3:13-16; 8:17-19; 11:4; 11:28; 13:8; 22:16; 23:4-5; 28:22; 30:7-9; Ecclesiastes 5:10-1210:6; Ezekiel 28:4-10
- WEALTH HINDERS FELLOWSHIP: Genesis 13:5-7; 26:12-15; 31:1-21
- GODLY USE OF RICHES: Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Proverbs 3:9; 19:17; 22:9; Luke 3:10-14; 12:13-34; 16:1-15
- THE POOR, WIDOWS & ORPHANS: Exodus 6:5-7; 22:21-24; 23:6; 23:10-11; Leviticus 14:19-22; 19:9-10; 25:1-55; 27:8; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:22-28; 15:1-18; 24:10-15; 24:17-22; 25:5-10; 25:19-21 26:5-8; 26:12-13; 27:19; 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalm 14:6; 22:24-25; 34:6; 35:10; 68:5; 68:10; 69:32; 74:21; 82:3-4; 94:5-6 107:4-9 107:35-36; 112:9; 113:7; 132:15; 140:12; 146:8-9; Proverbs 14:31; 15:25; 17:5; 19:17; 21:13; 22:9; 22:16; 22:22-23; 25:21 28:8; 28:27; 29:7; 29:14; 30:11-14; 31:8-9; 31:20; Isaiah 1:11-17; 3:14-26; 10:1-4; 11:1-4; 14:30; 25:3-4; 32:7; 41:7; 58:6-7; 61:1-3; Jeremiah 5:26-29; 7:5-7; 22:3; Ezekiel 16:49-51; 18:11-13; 22:1-12; Amos 2: 6-7; 4:1-3 5:11-13; 8:4-8; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5; Matthew 8:20; Mark 10:21; Luke 1:53; 6:20-25; 6:33-36; 14:12-14; 14:15-24; 18:22; Acts 2:44-45; 4:32; 5:1-11; 2 Corinthians 8:12-15; Philippians 4:10-14; James 2:5-8; Revelation 7:14-18; Romans 12:13; James 2:1-71; John 3:17-18
- DANGERS OF WEALTH: Matthew 6:19-34; 13:22; 19:16-30; 21:12-13; Mark 4:19; 10:17-27; Luke: 6:20-26; 8:14; 12:13-21;15: 11-31; 16:1-31; 18:18-30; John 6:1-8; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 6:17-19; Titus 3:3; James 4:1-7;5:1-5
- GREED: Romans 1:29; Ephesians 5:3; 5:5; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Timothy 3:3; 3:8; 2 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1:10-11; 1 Peter 5:2; 2 Peter 2:3; 2:14
- CHRISTIAN PROSPERITY: 2 Corinthians 3:3-10; Hebrews 10:32-36
- GIVING: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15; Galatians 2:10; Philippians 4:18-20; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; 1 John 3:17
Let me close this series with the disclaimer I started with. This is not a “money-bashing” series of lessons. The AMOUNT of money and possessions is not the issue. God is the giver of all good things. The real issue is the degree to which “things” have dethroned God in your heart.
There are very rich, very Godly people. There are very poor, very ungodly people. A LACK of wealth is no guarantee of holiness. The ABUNDANCE of material possession is not a measurement of faith. There are very real blessings, and very real dangers that come with increased prosperity.
It is to our benefit to know the enemy and be prepared for the dangers of the battle.
O God, You have given us the gift of created things for our enjoyment, to do Your will, and to glorify You. Help us to learn Your perspective on money and possessions so that we may honor You with all we have. In Jesus Name, amen.
Contemplation: What have you learned about money that shows your current life to be out of line with God’s word? What changes have you made?
Application: The danger with lessons on money is that everyone gives a good hearty “amen” but nothing ever changes. We’re all guilty of that, it’s just a matter of degrees. Learn to think with eternity in mind. If you can truly grasp the brevity of this life, perhaps that will spur some real change in the area of “things”.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?