"Equipping God's People to Reap the Harvest"
Where do material blessings come from? It's in the Bible, Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV "But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth."
Can money get in the way of more important things? Wealth can become the center of our life and take God's place. It's in the Bible, Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV "This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord."
Wealth can give us wrong attitudes about material things. It's in the Bible, Luke 12:15 NIV "Then [Jesus] said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
It is unwise to make financial success a priority. It's in the Bible, Matthew 6:24, NIV "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." I Timothy 6:9, NIV "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction."
While it is not impossible, it is difficult for the rich to become citizens of God's kingdom. It's in the Bible, Mark 10:23-25, NIV. "Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!' The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"
The love of money leads to evil. It's in the Bible, I Timothy 6:10, NIV. "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."
Greed often accompanies prosperity and can lead to crime. It's in the Bible, James 4:1-2, TLB "What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn't it because there is a whole army of evil desires within you? You want what you don't have, so you kill to get it. You long for what others have, and can't afford it, so you start a fight to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it."
It's true, the more you give, the greater will be your reward. It's in the Bible, Luke 12:33-34, NIV "Sell your possessions and give to the poor: Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
What investment strategy does God recommend? It's in the Bible, I Timothy 6:17-19, NIV. "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
A valuable reminder for property owners. It's in the Bible, Leviticus 25:23, TLB "And remember, the land is Mine, so you may not sell it permanently. You are merely My tenants and sharecroppers!"
Contentment is not related to amount of money or possessions. It's in the Bible, Philippians 4:12-13, TLB. "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power."
God asks us to return tithe [10%] and offerings to Him and in return He promises unlimited blessings. It's in the Bible, Malachi 3:8-10, NIV. "Will a man rob God?" Yet you rob Me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob You?' "In tithes and offerings." Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Christ endorsed tithing. It's in the Bible, Matthew 23:23, NIV. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spicesmint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the lawjustice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."
How may all, rich and poor, honor God? It's in the Bible, Proverbs 3:9, NIV. "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."
If we put God first, He will take care of all our needs. It's in the Bible, Matthew 6:33, NIV. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
What is the financial counsel of Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived? It's in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, TLB. "He who loves money shall never have enough. The foolishness of thinking that wealth brings happiness! The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income, so what is the advantage of wealth—except perhaps to watch it as it runs through your fingers! The man who works hard sleeps well whether he eats little or much, but the rich must worry and suffer insomnia. There is another serious problem I have seen everywhere—savings are put into risky investments that turn sour, and soon there is nothing left to pass on to one's son. The man who speculates is soon back to where he began—with nothing. This, as I said, is a very serious problem, for all his hard work has been for nothing; he has been working for the wind. It is all swept away. All the rest of his life he is under a cloud—gloomy, discouraged, frustrated, and angry… . To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy."
What does the Scripture say about my monthly bills? It's in the Bible, Romans 13:7-8, NIV. "Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."
Be cautious about countersigning loan notes. It's in the Bible, Proverbs 22:26-27, TLB. "Unless you have extra cash on hand, don't countersign a note. Why risk everything you own? They'll even take your bed!"
What reminder are we given about borrowing money? It's in the Bible, Proverbs 22:7, NIV. "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
God expects fairness in business dealings. It's in the Bible, Proverbs 16:11, TLB. "The Lord demands fairness in every business deal. He established this principle."
Honesty and fairness are always expected of those who wish to please God. It's in the Bible, Isaiah 33:15, TLB. "I will tell you who can live here: All who are honest and fair, who reject making profit by fraud, who hold back their hands from taking bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong."
It is important to work to earn a living. It's in the Bible, II Thessalonians 3:11-12, TLB. "Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we appeal to such people—we command them—to quiet down, get to work, and earn their own living."