BE: Be Generous. Be Free.
Proverbs 11:24-25 TLB “It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself.”
I am not an economist.
I am not an expert in finances.
I cannot tell you the best stocks to buy or how you should diversify your retirement portfolio. You should find someone reputable to help you with that.
But it doesn’t take an expert in money to tell you that we are living in challenging times.
Everything that we bought not too long ago now costs us more.
It costs more to buy gas.
It costs more for utilities.
It costs more to buy groceries.
It costs more to eat out.
It costs more to travel.
It costs more to be a homeowner.
Life just costs more today than it did just a short time ago.
Look what Paul told the church at Corinth in challenging times…
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 TLB “Now I want to tell you what God in his grace has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others.”
What doesn’t help is that most Americans have spent more than they make and have made a hard situation even more difficult because of poor financial decisions.
According to Ramsey Solutions, the average American adult’s debt is $58,604 and 77% of American households have at least some type of debt.
Average debt per household:
- Credit Card – $14,321
- Student Loans – $58,112
- Auto Loans – $31,142 (The average monthly car payment is $577 for new vehicles and $413 for used)
- Mortgage Loan – $202,454
This is NOT how God intended us to live.
Proverbs 22:7 “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Debt makes us SLAVES TO THE LENDER.
What happens when we are a slave to the lender?
That makes us slaves to our work, not for provision, but to satisfy the master of our debt.
I want this church to be as generous as we can be to God and to others.
But that cannot happen if we are in bondage to debt.
Every time we spend money we do not have, we are placing shackles on our feet and hands.
Look what Jesus said in Mark 4 about the parable of the Sower.
We see in this chapter that there are four different soils that the Word of God can fall on:
- Good Ground – The Word is planted and brings forth fruit. “…. hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
- Way Side – The Word is heard, but quickly taken away by Satan.
- Stony Ground – The Word is received with gladness but has no roots and allows affliction and persecution to grow into offense, therefore the seed is lost.
- Among Thorns – The Word is received and starts to grow but gets choked out.
Mark 4:18-19, “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
Guzik commented, “We might say this ground is too fertile. The word of God grows there, but so does everything else. And everything else soon begins to crowd out the word of God.”
Question for today – what “things” are crowding out the Word of God in your life?
The Word of God cannot grow in our lives if we have other things that are crowding it out.
I think it is time to look at our gardens and remove what is crowding out God’s Word.
Some things might need to be cut back and some things might to be pulled out by their roots.
Whatever it takes to ensure that the Word does not get choked out of our lives, we must be willing to do it!
Gardening is not for the faint of heart. It takes daily work of watering, pulling weeds, pruning, and much more.You can’t plant a garden and just walk away and think it is going to be ok.
You also can’t ignore if you are part of the 77% of Americans that are in debt, and think you are going to be just fine.
You can change!!!! You don’t have to live like this anymore!!! You can be not only free from this servanthood to the lender…. but you can also live a life of generosity to God and others.
Proverbs 11:24-25 TLB, “It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself.”
This proverb is telling us that there is a way to have more, and it is exactly the opposite of what we think.
We think because prices are up, we should cling onto everything we have and not be a giver. The Word of God is telling us the exact opposite.
I want to speak hope into someone’s life today.
If you have made some mistakes with money in the past, you can get it right today.
If you have debt up so high that you cannot even see if there is way out, there is hope for you today.
If you have any debt, there is hope!
I think this has been unintentional, but many of us have focused more on covenants with men (through loan contracts) and we have lost our covenant with God.
There is HOPE!
Crystal and I want to help every single person at Faith be debt free.
As Dave Ramsey puts it, we want to help you be weird.
Why weird? Because this world’s “normal” is killing America financially.
If you added all your minimum payments up, and you didn’t have them anymore, how would your life be different? Just think about that for a moment!
Does that make you feel free?
You can have that freedom. Start by aligning your finances with God’s Word. Give Him the first 10% of all gross income. Give God your first and your best, not your leftovers.
Malachi 3:10-12, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Once you’ve taken that initial step, take the Faith Giving Challenge or sign up to take a Financial Peace University class.
It is possible to change your financial future! Be Generous. Be Free.