“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money, and be satisfied with the present, for He Himself has said, I will not in any way fail nor give you up nor leave you without support.” Hebrews 13:5
Money is not a fruit of God — it’s a product of our modern society. Yet we get up every morning to hustle a thing that was not produced by God. We live in an expensive world and we believe it is necessary to labor in it; however, we don’t realize that we don’t have to entertain this unreasonable world. Especially not at the expense of forfeiting God’s plan for us.
Peter grants us the privilege of truth in scripture. He says he was “as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10. When we learn to give up ourselves and serve others, a rich experience nurtures our bodies. And when we don’t garner possessions, we learn to have joy in everything else — and everything else is free.
I served the homeless population this weekend in Oakland. I have served many times before, but I noticed something different. There was a sense of freedom in the quiet, still, crispy air. The tents rippled in the wind as we walked down the street searching for a cry for help. The only weep we could hear was the pleading in our own souls desperate for a charge to the heart. Some of the tent occupants did not need much and when we wanted to give them more, they refused. They did not want more than they can handle and they were content with the little they had. I thought to myself, they are on to something. Freedom. Self-government. Prerogative. No enslavement to a mortgage, a car payment or a school tuition. They are free to go where they want, when they please. They look after each other. They are not dictated by debt and bills and overstretched by credit card limits. There was no boss to report to at 8 am or a customer they had to attend to with a forged, dispirited smile. There was a sense of simplicity, community, independence, love, respect and TRUTH circulating in the breeze.
I know this perspective overlooks a-lot of the daily trials, but there is immunity at night when the rest of the world is asleep. And most of the trials they face are society imposed. We were out there from 9pm to midnight and there were no distractions. It was as if they were in charge of the night fall. The gospel was easier to share because the homeless population was more open to receive. They were not prideful. For the most part they knew who Jesus was and they learned to depend on Him every day for their needs. When you try to penetrate an already established community there is a strong resistance. Intellect and skill lacks intimacy. Academic dependency overlooks the significance of real life experience. And people in those communities are closed up, leading their own lives without dependency and tend to think they know it all already.
Our culture neglects biblical scripture. The thought of having strength in weakness is un-welcomed in our society. Yet scripture says, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10. So what if I told you that the homeless population is stronger than we are because of their exposed weaknesses? Scripture further says that “ones life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15. And “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:24-25. Why is that? Because the more money we have, the more problems we get. Wealth is dictated by man and with it brings risks to a broken soul. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Timothy 6:9-10
Why do you think we observe so much brokenness and unhappiness in the celebrity population? People are not really searching for wealth, they are searching for happiness. And this world tells people that happiness comes from the abundance of wealth. Unfortunately, people chase it and the majority don’t reach the top, but the ones that do, they are very disappointed by what they find. Not to mention they are surrounded by artificial people who potentially love them for their money. Others chase their dream for their entire life and never reach the top, but die trying. Chasing money is no different than an addict chasing drugs.
In Chris Tiegreen’s One Year Devotional, he describes this best. He says, we get attached to the love of this world. “With many of our loves — whether they be possessions, people, places, or positions — we would almost rather lose God than lose them. We live with a sense of permanence in this world, and when that permanence is shaken, our security is shattered . . . It’s hard to maintain such an attitude. We have our agendas. We are filled with dreams and goals.” But scripture provides an example of how we should behave in a world of dangling desires. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.” Job 1:21
When you pursue your purpose or calling in life, you have made a conscious decision to follow God. To put Him first place in your heart. To have Faith it will all work out, and to take a step back and let Him lead. To utilize the gifts and talents He has given you. To live out the calling to love your neighbors as yourself.
The first 2 things you have to embrace in this transition, is “Letting go” and “Surrendering”.
1. Letting go of your idols
2. Surrendering your money and possessions to Him
And if you are not yet pursuing your calling, ask yourself why? Why aren’t you following your dreams? What are you waiting for? If you are a Christian and you believe in Jesus, you love God and have Faith in Him, then why don’t you believe in His truths? Why do you deem yourself and your own needs more important than others?
Jesus was born in a manger. He did not even have an outfit to wear when he was born. He was clothed in cloths. He did not store things while he was on earth and he was always on the move. He did not stay long enough in one place to call his home. And his priority was loving others. So then why do we insist we should have more than Jesus ever had? Why do we claim we follow Him? In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul says, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”. This is our basic necessities. Any more than that is beyond what God promises to provide.
When our earthly joys fail us, and IT WILL over and over again, we turn to God and ask why. And we ask for His help to get out of the thing that is causing us grief. But God is trying to teach us that “that thing” we have in our heart is not good for us, and it won’t produce any fruit. When we have the pressures of those idols wrapped around our hearts, it distracts us from who we were created to be.
“We are trapped by buying stuff we don’t really need, with the money we don’t really have, to impress people we don’t really like.” Dave Ramsey
Here are truths that you should consider:
- Man is not your boss
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
2. There is so much to do and a greater mission to serve
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” Mathew 9:37-38
3. Don’t be a fool to the rich man, your rest is needed to bear fruit
“Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5:12
4. Don’t be a slave to the lender by garnishing ahead of His provision
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
5. Align your work with Him and go Walk
“So that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on one.” 1 Thessalonians 4:12
Every day I am getting closer and closer to the truth. My Faith is growing stronger and my desire for earthly gain is lessening. I am starting to have a risky — “I’m all in” mentality. And I’m preparing my family to accept the “new”. Every Christmas we do it big. We have five kids in our house and they get at the very minimum 10 presents each. We spend over $1,000 easily on just our home. This Christmas is different. It’s December 18 and we have not one Christmas present under the tree. And every day we remind our kids that it is better to give than to receive.
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 (change to NIV version)
We remind them that we are in a transition in our lives and we are pursuing God more than ever. They are aware that we have less physically but we have gained so much more spiritually. The kids don’t seem to be worried about it. Well except for the youngest girl of course. She asks a-lot of questions. I just don’t have a desire to buy things this year that don’t have value. I am not scared anymore to tell my children no. I am not worried that they will have less than another person. I understand that that is not the priority. I will eventually buy them a few gifts. But my spirit has transformed so much, that the desire is not in me. That’s amazing! I’ve always been the type of mom that wants EVERYTHING for my kids. Like I have something to prove to the rest of the world and to them. But that is a LIE. I have nothing to prove to anyone and our kids have more than enough already. Less is the NEW more!
“The real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all of our money.” John Henry Jowett
How much are you worth?
Check out Francis Chan’s Testimony on why he gave it all away