*The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled Financial Peace.
First, let me assure you that lessons on giving are not about God raising money. Lessons on giving are about the Christian reaching maturity. When we hear sermons on the topic of giving, we can sometimes become anxious. A commitment to giving can be scary when our budgets are tight. Rest assured that worrying about money is nothing new. Even in Biblical times, people worried about money. People have sought financial peace from the beginning of time, but the only way to reach financial peace is to become a giving Christian. Let's look at Matthew 6:19-24.
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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
How to Have Financial Peace
In order to reach financial peace, let's ask ourselves a few questions.
Who do I love?
Do I love Jesus or do I love money?
Who am I serving?
Who is my master? I must serve the right Master.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. - Matthew 6:24
When money rules us, it ruins us. We must not let money become our idol. The god of money will never give us the security we want.
Have I been fooled?
Let's read Matthew 20:1-16
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and to those he said, ‘You go into the vineyard also, and whatever is right, I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
The workers who had been in the field all day long got the same pay as those who had been there only an hour. Now, when I first read this, I felt the same way the all day workers felt. In my fleshly attitude, I thought the workers who had been there all day long should have received more or at least the one hour workers should have received less pay. However, Jesus told this story to make a very important point concerning greed.
First of all, all the workers received the payment agreed on between them and the wealthy farmer.
Second, the workers who had been there all day should have been grateful to have been hired and gotten paid anything at all. They could have spent the entire day waiting to be hired only to have gone to bed that night without work or pay.
Thirdly, when the all day workers saw the one hour workers getting paid, greed settled into their hearts. They wanted more. The amount they had agreed on was no longer enough to satisfy them. The enemy fooled them into thinking they deserved more than what they had originally agreed was enough. A financial breakthrough is a blessing, not something we deserve.
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth;
May I always see the goodness of God in my life so that I will never be fooled into thinking I deserve more. May the desire of my heart be to give more.
Where is my treasure?
Money is a great tool, but a terrible master. Nothing in this life is secure. Let us not be fooled by false securities. May we never sell our souls for treasures that will never last. If we always want more and more, then our love for money has already robbed us of financial peace.
Sometimes material things are nothing more than gift-wrapped garbage. There is a story about a man who had trouble getting his trash picked up. I don't know if it is a true story or not, but the story is that this man was frustrated that his garbage wasn't getting picked up, so one day he decided to put all of his trash into boxes and wrap them up like gifts. The man wrapped all the packages in pretty paper and bows. Then, he set them out where he usually placed his garbage. When he did that, his garbage was picked up. Let's be careful to not treasure things that look like pretty gifts, but inside are nothing more than garbage to be thrown out.
Whatever has our hearts has our money.
Money flows effortlessly to that which is its god. - Tim Keller
If God has my heart, then I will treasure what He treasures. When we treasure what God treasures, then we have peace.
May I have eyes to see God's grace and may I turn my gratefulness into giving.
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