Sunday, October 19, 2008

When the Market Crashes

“I’m glad you’re here today,” Pastor Brad Shannon said as he welcomed us this morning. As has been his custom he briefly summarized the message he would be sharing this morning. “We’re going to talk about money.” In particular, some of the perils of money.

Announcements included an invitation to all to have a pork loin dinner at the Swamp Sisters on November 2 after the service. The free will offering will go toward the church building fund. Also, on Wednesday November 5 everyone is invited to the church for Operation Christmas Child, in which shoe boxes will be decorated and assembled for needy children. In addition, on November 16 the conference superintendent will be joining us.

Darlene played a loving, delicate interpretation of Fairest Lord Jesus to begin the service. After a time of worship, Pastor Brad gave a children’s talk about money noting that our worth as people is not based on how much money we have.

The Scripture readings were from Psalm 99 and Matthew 22:15-22, which was followed by a time of prayer, a hymn and our practical pointed message.

When the Market Crashes

The way we handle our money is a spiritual issue, Pastor Brad began. To a large degree our lives revolve around money to some extent. Money plays a key role in our lives, and the Bible is realistic about it.

Half of Jesus’ parables deal with money. And there are nearly 2000 verses in Scripture that deal with every facet of money, from how to earn it and spend it to how we can abuse it, or share it.

Many people look for money to save them from pain, but no amount of money can insulate you from trouble. This message today was about the perils of money, drawn from I Timothy 6:6-10.

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People 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. 10For 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.

The first peril is lack of contentment. “But godliness with contentment is great gain,” wrote Paul to Timothy. Contentment is an inward disposition unrelated to external circumstances. You don’t need anything outside of your self to make you happy.

Columnist John Rosemond once wrote about boredom amongst affluent suburban kids. He stated that the typical kid these days has 250 toys by age five, an average of nearly one a week.

Does contentment for you come from having more “toys” and more clothes, etc. Seeking contentment in that manner can never be achieved, because how many or how much is enough? Contentment comes from within.

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, noted that he had found the secret of contentment. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

In other words, trust Jesus with your life as Savior and Lord, that is forgiver and leader.

For Paul, contentment was a learned disposition. He had learned the habit of gratitude.

It is also important to stop teasing yourself by going to malls, paging through catalogs. The world will always push your to need more, bigger or newer things.

A second peril of money, Brad noted, is the serious issue of loving money. The love of money is a root of evil. If our favorite indoor sport is shopping, we’re in trouble.

Money loving leads to sin, he said, including lying for money, shading the truth for personal advantage on our taxes, coveting (One of the Big Ten, as in Commandments), becoming angry or hateful due to money, spending too much, working too hard to have more things. Many sins can be traced to love for money.

Paul pointed out that many sins can be traced to love for money. As verse nine puts it, “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.” And in verse ten he warns, “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.”

The story of the rich young ruler is a case in point. In Mark 10 a rich young ruler came to Jesus, and Jesus knew what ruled this man’s heart. He was told to choose, money or Jesus. In this tragic instance, the man turned his back on the freedom and joy set before him, and chose instead his designer clothes.

In another passage Jesus pointed out to His disciples that you can gain the whole world and lose your own soul.

In Paul’s admonition money is a sword of sadness that pierces us through with many griefs. Actually the word “pierced” that Paul uses is akin to a spike or spit upon which a pig is roasted over a fire. It’s a graphic image.

Debt, workaholism, foolish investments and get rich quick schemes, gambling are just a few of the troubles we are roasted by when we pursue our love for money.

Years ago Brad saw a list of ten reasons why Christians don’t give. Number two was that they can’t. Too much debt.

What can we do? There are two things Brad cited. First, get serious about it. It’s a serious matter. Second, get help from others if you need help with financial management and money related matters.

Don’t let the perils of money put you on the spit and roast you. Ask yourself the question, “How can I do things God’s way?”

It is a practical message. God cares about our practical needs.

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