We are finishing up our series on money – How To Be Rich – which we completely stole the idea from Life Church in Tulsa. But going through the series has reinforced just how uncomfortable I am teaching on money. I mean…really uncomfortable. I don’t think this is a good thing seeing how Jesus said an awful lot about money. A quick look into my sermon history shows that you can count the sermons I have on money on one hand.
Part of this is because there are pastors and ministries that this subject is ALL they talk about. Every sermon or bible study points to us giving money to the church – namely their ministry. Gold plated altars, slick back hair, $1000 suits all reinforce the thought that religious leaders just want your money — they are no different than the used car salesman. Work their angle to get your dough. One uses cars, the other uses spirituality.
But part of it is because I often find myself trying to do exactly what scriptures says that is impossible to do – worshiping both God and money. WHAT??? “Grant worships MONEY!!” No, I’d never admit that BUT…let me give an example of how subtle and sneaky the worship of money is.
Answer this question – are you successful?
What was your first answer? Why did you give that answer? Was one of your first thoughts of how much money you make or don’t make? What you do and do NOT have? At times – that is how I answer the question. Not out loud, of course. I mean, I can’t be having people really know how stupid and shallow I am at times. But to myself — sometimes…yeah, that’s exactly how I answer it — by my income and stuff.
We define “success” by what we think is most important in our life — our “god”, if you will. And when I’m not careful or thoughtful, my default position easily becomes how much money I don’t have.
There is another way to answer the question but it requires a bit of discipline and thought – two things I’m not always good at. Am I successful? I’ve got incredible kids who at this moment seem very much tender and open to the things of God. I’ve got the best (in quality) extended family in the world. There is close to 20 years of life change stories because of our work with dear people who have become family. There are countless lives who will now spend eternity with Jesus because of our investment in Kingdom things. Right now, I’m watching two men of God grow into DEEP men of God and they are RADICALLY allowing the Spirit change them.
It doesn’t make me any less uncomfortable…as was pretty apparent this past Sunday. But — hopefully what will come through is this: I’m a fellow learner on this journey on becoming rich the way God wants us to be rich – generous, living below our means, having margin so that we are able to be generous.
Does this job ever get easier? (Please don’t answer that question, I already know the answer…)