This week at church we concluded a series called “Breathing Space” – looking at how the busyness and pressures of the world inhibit us from finding true rest and contentment in God. The last service was titled, “I have no Breathing Space because I need the money” – you can watch it here.
But there was something extra special about this sermon – everyone, especially my husband and myself, were impacted heavily by it. The Holy Spirit worked through the preaching and brought truths to light that many of us know but just don’t think about. There isn’t a transcript for the sermon, but here are some of the notes that I took from it:
You do not own your money
This one should be obvious – but more often than not, we think about and use our money as if it were ours, completely disregarding the One who gave it to us; God, who owns the universe and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). Although I do try to be prudent with my money, at other times I am the best at coming up with reasons why I have to buy something that isn’t a necessity (just ask my husband!), and in this attitude I am doing two things: Firstly, I am placing the value of the thing I want over the value of what God wants. Money is given to us for many purposes: to provide food, shelter, clothing – necessities of life. The secondary purpose for which God blesses us financially is to use it to serve others (Deuteronomy 16:17), not ourselves. The second thing I am doing when I act on an ungodly attitude toward money, is I am valuing the thing I want more than God. This is the definition of idolatry; desiring something more than, or apart from, God. It seems a silly venture from the outside – wanting something created, finite and flimsy more than wanting an intimate, great relationship with an everlasting God – but it’s something we do all too commonly and all too well.
If excess and indulgence is your pursuit, you’re a fool
The parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12 details the endeavours of a rich man to build up much larger barns than the ones he has, so that he may store up his crops and possessions; only to find that that very night, his life was demanded of him. Money in excess is a trivial endeavour, and although the rewards may seem pleasing, they are temporal, and will be of no use when we come to the end of our life. What will you do with all of your ‘stuff’ at the end of your life? You cannot take it to heaven, where our hearts should yearn to be instead (Matthew 6:21). Our thoughts and desires should be of things above, not of things below; this is a path worth our diligence and desperation. This will lead to true peace and godliness.
God is the ultimate pursuit
Of the whole sermon, this was my favourite quote: “Jesus didn’t die so that you could have heaps of stuff. Jesus died so that you can have Jesus”. God is a far greater treasure than money can ever afford, and we should pursue Him with a relentless heart. For “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7). True peace and rest comes when we find contentment in what we have – not when it’s abundant, or when we have just enough – but because the foundation of our peace is unchanging, eternal, and will never waste away: Christ. He is the ultimate giver. And by giving us Himself, He has made a way for us to experience unbelievable joy and contentment.
I encourage you to pray over your attitude toward money, and to think of ways that you can glorify God more with prudence and generosity; remembering that every man should give as he is able, with a cheerful heart and assurance that his reward is the peace and joy of God.