Friday, August 27, 2010

Hosea 13:4-6 - Sermon - Money

Hosea 13:4-6
There’s An App for That
Monday: He Brought the Pie

I decided to kick this sermon series off with a hot topic people usually don’t want to hear from the pulpit. Most people don’t want to hear sermons about money because it usually means the church is asking for more of it. But this is not a stewardship sermon, although one cannot really talk about money without talking about stewardship in some form or fashion. Today I’ll be talking more about perspective. How do we view money in our daily lives and what does the Bible say about it.

Did you know that 7% of the Bible talks about money? There are over 2,300 verses that tell us to be generous and good stewards of our resources. One out of every seven verses in the Gospel of Luke is about money. 11 out of the 39 parables of Jesus are about money. Jesus talks about money more than he does about heaven and hell combined. The Kingdom of God is the only thing he talks about more than money. Like I said, this is an uncomfortable topic to preach and for many of us to hear because it is something that we hold so personal and intimate. But according to the Bible, according to the life of Jesus, this is a topic we should be discussing, a topic I should be preaching on, and we should be making a priority in our lives. Money is important in life but it is not the sole reason for living.
Money in and of itself is not bad. 1Timothy says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Many people leave out the word love and state the money is the root of all evil but it is the love of money. And we love money all the time. We live in a society that loves money and tells us we should love money too.

We can tell there is a rate of inflation going on all around us. When I was growing up, oh so many years ago in a decade call the 80s; there was a group of people who were called yuppies. These ‘young urban professionals’ were concerned about earning as much money as they can and their social status. That is still around today and many people, especially young people, are concerned with the same thing. In the 80s, yuppies had made it if they were making a million dollars but now a million doesn’t seem like much. Today you can make a million if you can flip a quarter into a water jug on a TV game show. Today we dream about billion instead of million. As Travie McCoy says, “Oh every time I close my eyes / I see my name in shining lights / A different city every night oh / I swear the world better prepare / for when I’m a billionaire / oh oooh oh oooh for when I’m a Billionaire /oh oooh oh oooh for when I’m a Billionaire.”

But what would we do if we had billions. Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have in order to impress people we don’t like.” That is the life style many of us live. We can tell this because as a congregation we have a total of non-mortgage debt of __________________. That is just with the people here and with the people who have debt. It is painful to write this number down, and this is just a rounded estimate. I hate putting my debt in writing because I feel guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed because of it. If together our minimum payment on this debt is only 1% a month, that means as a congregation we pay the __________ a month and most of that doesn’t pay off our debt, it just goes towards the interest. Do you know what is funny, we need around $11,000 a month to make our budget as church and currently we are $17,000 behind. You do the math on that one.

But this is the disease that we live in. The reason we are offering Financial Peace University again is because the tools that are taught in that class help reorder your life and give you another perspective. I know personally, Alycia and I look at our money differently now. Our money is spent when our paychecks hit our bank accounts. We no longer have “too much month left at the end of the money.” Now we tell our money to go and since doing that life has gotten easier. There is less stress and anxiety. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and now I can tell it’s not a train. But that is just the start of it. We have to continue to train our brains to get a different perspective on money.

Every time the Young and Restless gather at Lolfins for breakfast, Gwen is always kind enough to bring us some words of wisdom or funny stories. This past week she brought some advice about perspective and I thought it fit nicely in with this sermon. Here is some of the wisdom she shared.
“Be thankful for…
• for the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.
• for the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
• for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means I’m alive.
• for the taxes I pay because it means I am employed.
• for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
• for my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
• for the clothes that fit a little snug because it means I have enough to eat.
Perspective can change everything.

That is what Hosea is saying today. In this 13th chapter Hosea we hear God crying out about all he has done for the people and how they have now forgotten him. God brought them out of Egypt, cared for them in the desert, fed them and now that they are satisfied they are proud and have forgotten everything God has done for them. When it comes to our money we do this all the time. There is a little video that helps bring this idea home.

I don’t know if you caught what the German car guy said, but he said, “He brought the pie.” When we look at our wallets, our bank accounts, our paychecks we need to see that as a gift because it came from God. If you look at it differently you can see that we make nothing, it is all a gift from God. If you think you have worked hard to earn your money, your wrong, because it is the gift of air to breathe and the ability for your body to work that made that all possible, and that gift came from God. Sure we are all given a pie to divide up every month but we didn’t bring the pie, God brought the pie.

In the Solomon’s Porch Sunday School class we got in a good discussion about tithing and how God asks for the first fruits, the first 10%. Some people were a little angry about that because what if giving that away caused you to go into poverty. If you are burning up on God’s altar what good does that do. That is our perspective, the usual human perspective. We look at what we give back to God, our tithe, our offerings, our gifts, and we see what we are giving up but what if you looked at it differently.

If you remember back a couple of years ago I talked about this topic using ten apples. I got this from Adam Hamilton and we saw it again when we did his study on money called Enough. I laid out ten apples and I said that God is asking for one of them, leaving 9 still up there for us to use and enjoy. If we ate nine apples, we would be full and satisfied. We wouldn’t really miss the tenth one. But many of us are sad to give away that apple because we look at it and we think about what we could do with it. We get attached to it because we think we made it. And so we eat it anyway, we eat our piece of the pie trying not to look at the one who brought it.

But we didn’t make the apples. We didn’t bring the pie. We didn’t make the paycheck. John Wesley said, “When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” If we don’t see money as a gift from God we will be spoiled and forget about the one who gave it. We will turn into the people that God is talking about in Hosea. God provides so much for us and we are blessed, truly blessed. It is all from God. So maybe the best way of looking at it isn’t that God wants us to give up 10% of that gift. Maybe we should thank God he lets us keep 90%.

And all God’s people said…Amen.


Rebecca Of Tomorrow said...

That was great today, and very sobering. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Thank you. You might hear more about what I learned today in a future post. I learned I was a little off with the debt calculation.

Rebecca Of Tomorrow said...

Yeah, I figured it would be higher.