On the Use of Money: Principles

This is one of Wesley’s sermon titles and in this sermon we get the three simple money rules: earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.  If we consider that nearly $6billion was spent on Halloween, over $2 billion was spent on the recent elections and that FEMA has less than $800 million to help out victims of Hurricane Sandy then perhaps we will agree that we need to talk about the use of money.

Over the next several weeks I will be sharing on Wesley’s three simple rules.  However, before we get there we should consider a few important principles.

Jesus on the use of money

Jesus gives us at least three serious principles to consider.  The first is the Treasure-Heart Principle.

Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

This principle is pretty straight forward.  Wherever you invest your treasure that is where your heart will be.  No matter what you tell yourself, you cannot invest in real estate, possessions, prestige, and the like without having your heart being wrapped up in those things as well.  If your heart is truly for the kingdom then your treasures will be invested in the kingdom.  There should be good room for reflection there.

The second principle is the Make Friends Principle.  In Luke 16:1-9 Jesus tells a funny story that just doesn’t make sense.  A crooked little bookkeeper is called to give an account by his boss.  Realizing that he is too lazy to do manual labor and too proud to beg he decides that he cheat his boss by cutting back on what everyone owes him.  This way, when he’s out of a job, he’ll at least of some friends.  The boss looks over the books, sees what he’s done, and gives him a promotion!  What are we to do with that?

I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes. (Luke 16:9)

The children of this world know how to use worldly wealth for worldly purposes.  Perhaps the children of the kingdom need to learn how to use the king’s resources for kingdom purposes.

The third principle is the Don’t Worry Principle.  There are a lot of ways we can approach money and the needs this life brings.  We can plan.  We can calculate the cost.  We be careful.  We can be cheerful.  But, we may never worry!

Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. (Matthew 6:25)

I know that my own temptation is to worry about money.  When I worry, I usually don’t use my money for kingdom resources.  And when that happens that means I am not investing my money into the kingdom and my heart is roaming and in danger.

Paul on the use of money

The Apostle Paul had a good principle as well, the Love of Money Principle.  We all know the verse,

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal. (1 Timothy 6:10)

What we usually don’t catch are the words that come before these.  Keep in mind the conversation is about money.

3 If anyone teaches anything different and doesn’t agree with sound teaching about our Lord Jesus Christ and teaching that is consistent with godliness, 4 that person is conceited. They don’t understand anything but have a sick obsession with debates and arguments. This creates jealousy, conflict, verbal abuse, and evil suspicions. 5 There is constant bickering between people whose minds are ruined and who have been robbed of the truth. They think that godliness is a way to make money! 6 Actually, godliness is a great source of profit when it is combined with being happy with what you already have. 7 We didn’t bring anything into the world and so we can’t take anything out of it: 8 we’ll be happy with food and clothing. 9 But people who are trying to get rich fall into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and harmful passions that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal. (1 Timothy 6:3-10)

Be careful what you chase.

Wesley on the use of money

Wesley’s words were similar and still speak clear to this generation over 200 years later.

Money is an excellent gift from God.  In the hands of God’s children money is food for the hungry; drink for the thirsty; clothing for the naked; a place to rest for the stranger.

By the right use of money we can provide for others.  Money can serve as a husband for the widow; a father for the orphan; protection for the stranger; health for the sick; comfort for those in pain.

Money can become as “eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame”; and, indeed, money can “lift up others from the gates of death.”

Therefore, earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can.

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