Wrong Attitudes about Money (09/18/19)1
Has your financial condition ever caused you to lose hope? Have you been in a situation where most aspects of your life seem to be OK, but money problems were overwhelming you? I must admit this has happened to me.
The next few weeks I’m going to share some things I’ve found helpful whenever money is tight. You see, life is not about the size of your bank account. It’s about the size of your faith! Money plays a role in relationships, but it’s certainly not the center. Or it shouldn’t be.
Money in itself is not bad. But our motives for getting and keeping it can be. To remain spiritually strong, we need to view money from the proper perspective. Take a look at what Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
– 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV)
Interestingly, The Message translates that word “love” as “lust.” I think that’s accurate. Lust is a ruthless, out of control desire.
When it comes to personal finances, this love (lust) is often less about the acquisition of money, and more about getting “things.” If you’ve ever had new car payments that strained your budget, you know what I mean.
Many times in life, what you don’t do is equally as important at what you do. This week I’m sharing four things you must avoid when dealing with money:
First, don’t resent those who have more than you.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I wish I had what they had!” Every word drips with jealousy. Occasionally they continue by saying, “Of course, I’d never do what they did,” implying the speaker has made more righteous choices.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
– Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)
When envy strikes, stamp it out! Lingering jealousy can literally make you sick! Instead, be glad when people prosper! Forget resentment and look honestly at their lives. If they’re following God, perhaps you can learn a few things by the way they view wealth.
Next, resist the temptation to feel entitled.
The Bible is very clear…God expects us to share our abilities through work, and live off the fruits of our labor:
“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
– 2 Thessalonians 3:10b (NIV)
It’s easy to adopt an “I deserve it” attitude, especially given the vast array of “entitlement” programs now available in our country.
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I’m glad organizations are in place to help disabled persons, the unemployed, etc. But we should be thankful for assistance when it’s received, and not think assistance is something we’re owed. Adopting an “entitlement mindset” prevents us from developing a grateful spirit. It can also tempt us to scam the system in an attempt to get more and more stuff.
Third, refuse to blame others for your financial situation.
If you’ve been wronged financially, determine to forget the past and move forward. Just like you can’t drive forward by staring into the rearview mirror, you can’t get on with life by focusing on the money Uncle Joe or Cousin Sally still owes you. Consider that money a gift, cut your losses, and move along. The Bible says…
And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
- Luke 6:34 (NLT)
Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great…
- Luke 6:35b (NLT)
Finally, don’t fight over money.
There’s nothing quite like money to distort our sense of judgment. It’s so easy to get caught up in defending our position over a very small amount!
Some years ago I sold a house that had a window with a broken seal. By contract, it was an “as is” sale, but the customer insisted that I pay for repairs. I refused because that wasn’t part of our agreement.
My wife brought wisdom into the situation by saying, “You’re willing to lose the sale of a house over $150 repair? That’s not real smart.” Of course, she was right! I would have been better off to remember what the Bible says:
The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts.
– Proverbs 17:14 (MSG)
It’s impossible to enjoy the things God’s has already given without first adopting the proper perspective about money and resources.
This week, I encourage you to consider how you view money, and pray about the place it has in your life. God is working hard to bless you, but your attitude could be limiting his efforts. Let’s align ourselves with God’s Word and see the fullness of God's blessing in our finances.