Wealth Greater than Money ~ April 2009

April 29, 2009

In the past eighteen months, 40 percent of the value of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange as well as a significant portion of the value of the homes and real estate in our nation has been lost. This has distressed me, both because I love our country and also because our personal situation has followed the fortunes of our country. We were also trying to raise money to purchase our new church facility in the worst economic environment of our lifetime. I felt like I was being squeezed until all the anxiety in me was drained out. I had to let go of my concerns and learn to trust the Lord on a deeper level. Though we have had financial losses, God’s kingdom has not lost a bit of value. In light of our situation, the wisdom of Jesus is more clear to me than ever. Jesus told us to put our treasure in God’s kingdom where moth and rust cannot corrode it and thieves cannot steal it (Mat.6:20). For many generations if people had wealth, they had to bury or hide it because it could be stolen if it wasn’t continually guarded. The banking system that allowed safe keeping of wealth enabled people a new level of freedom and prosperity. Jesus asked a profound question, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11) Worldly wealth is money and possessions. The way we handle money determines whether or not the Lord will give us gifts more valuable than money. Wisdom is more valuable than gold (Prov.3:13-14). A good name is better than great riches (Prov. 22:1). A good marriage, freedom from fear, love and peace in your heart all have value greater than money. Kristina and I lived in rental houses for the first six years of our marriage. One day Kristina went to the nursery and bought flowers. I was upset when I saw what she had done. “Why did you spend money on flowers for the yard of a home we don’t even own?” I asked her. “I believe in treating a home we rent just like it was our own. Maybe if we take good care of this house, someday we will own a home that somebody has taken good care of,” she replied. A few years later, a group of friends from the Open Door Church helped us buy our first home. The house had beautiful trees and plants in the yard which I knew were God’s gift to Kristina. Every time we tithe and give offerings to the Lord, we are investing in God’s kingdom. Those investments never drop in value. They connect our hearts to a treasure of peace and joy. When we pay our bills on time and keep our financial commitments we are being trustworthy with worldly wealth. When we share our possessions with friends and help those who are poor, we are demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord who provides us with everything we need. He has our destiny in His hands. The apostle Paul said, “Godliness with contentment has great value.” (I Timothy 6:6) Contentment is the capacity to enjoy each day and every experience. While spending responsibly and giving generously does not guarantee that we will have more money in the bank, it does enable us to have more satisfaction in our lives and peace in our hearts. A man recently said to me, “The Lord wants you to model faith in the face of uncertainty.” I believed him. Following Jesus is not just knowing scriptures. It is also trusting God and staying faithful in trials. Unstable times give us an opportunity to show that we believe our Father in Heaven is loving and faithful. He wants us to be free from fear about our future. Ultimately, it is not what we own that makes us secure, it is the One who owns us.

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