Cashing In

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Most of us in the USA grew up being taught to invest our monetary resources wisely and to plan for the future. These budgetary lessons came mostly from our parents; but we also learned them at school, and sometimes even our employers offered advice on financial planning. And then there are the motivational speakers who have made billions over the years rallying people to invest wisely; often promising we could get rich quickly. With all this financial advice, we should all be rolling in the money by now, and by worldwide standards, we pretty much are.

Most of this teaching that we received, at least when it came from our parents, schools, and employers, was well-intentioned. Motivated by genuine concern for our future well-being, they shared the kind of advice that has been learned and shared for generations. And surely we should be wise with our financial resources, saving money for emergencies and retirement. To this end, our parents’ and elder family members were right.

But there is a darker side to how we manage our finances. One that initially shines on the surface, but it extends beyond good financial planning and often leads us into fiscal darkness and discontent. That is our seemingly insatiable desire for the latest technological device, car model, fashionable clothing, or shiny new house; or perhaps our urge to take that exotic vacation to some distant place. These types of desires frequently lead to rationalization in our thought process so that we start to view these things as needs rather than “wants”.

And it is here that we can begin to stray from God’s plan. Rather than be content with having our basic needs met, we long for luxuries that we know are inessential for life. Let’s be honest here, were you to find yourself in a position where you could no longer have a cell phone or Internet connection, would you not feel like a basic need was going unmet? We all know people survived for thousands of years without such things but they seem so indispensable now, don’t they? The fact is, God promises to meet the needs of those who trust in Him, but He doesn’t promise anyone a smart phone.

The Bible has much to say about our financial well-being. Both Paul and Jesus shared some very notable teaching with us. We’ll start with Paul, who instructs us that Godliness with contentment is great gain.  Let’s take a glimpse into Paul’s thoughts as he counsels Timothy, his young protégé: “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”   (1 Timothy 6:6-10 NLT)

And Jesus teaches: “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be…..“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.  “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24-33 NLT)

Isn’t it amazing that God promises that if we seek His kingdom above all else, He will give us what we need. And if we can learn to be content with having our needs met, that is great wealth in itself. It may help to have a little perspective on your situation. Try this on – if you make just $10.00 an hour, working full time, you are among the richest 3.28% of people in the world. (Check it out for yourself at www.globalrichlist.com.) But if you place your trust in God, and seek to place Him first in your life, while your home and shiny new car and all the other things you have purchased with your wealth slowly deteriorate before your very eyes, you will be storing up treasures for yourself in heaven where everything is new and there is no decay. Now that’s what I call cashing in!

So let me encourage you to seek the best financial advice you will ever receive by reading your Bible today and discovering God’s way!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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