How Does Money Affect You?

How Does Money Affect You?

Matthew 6:19-24 19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22″The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! {{more}} 24″No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” The issue of money has been a prominent one from the inception of the church. Jesus spoke a great deal about it himself. Consider this:            *16 of 38 parables were concerned with money or possessions.          *1 of 10 verses in the gospels deal directly with money.          *The Bible has 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2000 verses on money or possessions.Why all this talk about money and possessions? Because Jesus understood so well the tremendous influence of this issue in our lives. Social research supports the biblical emphasis on the issue of money. Think about these findings          *50% of Christians consider money to the primary indicator of success.         *19% of Christians believe you can tell how successful a person is by examining what they own. James did not miss the emphasis on money and possessions the teaching of Jesus. We will find that in four different passages James discusses the issue of money and possessions. This week we will consider the first of these passages in James 1:9-11. In this passage, James addresses your attitudes related to wealth and poverty. He challenges us to view people and possessions through Christian eyes that see things through the framework of godly values.   How does money affect you? Money is a subject with which all of us struggle. For some it is lack of money. For some it is the desire for money. For some it is wrong use of money. For some it is poor investment of money.A man named Shorty illustrates how money affects people. Shorty and his wife Martha went to the state fair every year and every year when Shorty saw the antique bi-plane he would say, “Martha, I would like to ride in that airplane.” Martha always replied, “I know Shorty, but that airplane ride costs 10 dollars, and 10 dollars is 10 dollars. One year Shorty and Martha went to the fair and Shorty said, “Martha, I’m 81 years old. If I do not ride that airplane I might never get another chance.” Martha replied, “Shorty, that airplane ride cost 10 dollars, and 10 dollars is 10 dollars. The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you; but if you say one word its 10 dollars.” Shorty and Martha agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word was heard. He did all his tricks over again, but still not a word. When they landed, the pilot turned to Shorty and said, “By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you did not.” Shorty replied, “Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, but 10 dollars is 10 dollars.” For Biblical instruction and direction I invite you to turn to Matthew 6:25-34. Verse 24 summarizes Jesus teaching in this passage. “You cannot serve two masters: God and money.” In the previous verses Jesus had discussed earthly treasures. From that he launched into a discussion about worry Jesus used money as the launching point for His teaching about worry. Money is often the main concern when we worry. I want to lead you in a simple study in order for you to examine money’s affect upon your life. First, I want to discuss the problems associated with handling money. Second, I want to discuss God’s plan for handling money.1. First, the problems associated with handling money.Several years ago actor Sylvester Stallone was asked what effect money had on his life. Stallone said: “Money does not bring peace of mind. Actually it brings more problems. Everything is magnified one hundred thousand times. That is not to complain. But once you make a fortune, you would think it would be all green lights and blue skies. But that is not true. As a matter of fact it brings out some of the vilest characteristics that you can imagine.” Amen!   Money has a powerful affect on people. Sometimes the impact can be negative. The Bible instructs us in 1st Timothy 6:10 that, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Amen! It was the love of money that caused Judas to betray Jesus. It was money and insecurity that drove the looting in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. Amen!Sometimes we have blind spots when it comes to money. In one of the Dennis the Menace cartoon strips Dennis catches his friend Joey trying to get a paper out of the machine without paying any money. He said, “Wait, Joey. First you have to put in the money and then you can get all the papers you want.” Obviously Dennis had a blind spot. Sylvester Stallone, Judas and Dennis the Menace illustrate the powerful force exerted by money. It can create problems for us. The first problem you face in handling money is that it can cause worry. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Jesus indicated the concern for life’s basic needs: food, clothing and water can cause us to worry due to money.Jesus wanted to help His followers overcome worry. That is my desire this week. One church blundered on their church sign by posting this message “Do not let worry kill you. Let the church help.”What is amazing about worry is that most of what we worry about never materializes. John Haggai tells the story of a woman who worried for 40 years that she was going to die of cancer. Every pain in the stomach was cancer, and she was running to the doctor over each little hurt. She died at age 73 of pneumonia. She had worried for over 40 years over the wrong disease! Worry is a waste of time and energy. A second problem you face in handling money is that it can lower the quality of life. Jesus asked a vitally important question: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Someone has described this situation well. Money can buy a bed, but it cannot buy sleep.Money can buy amusements but it cannot buy happiness. Money can buy companions, but it cannot buy friends. Money can buy books but it cannot buy brains. Money can buy a house, but it cannot buy a home. Money can buy medicine, but it cannot buy health. Money can buy flattery, but it cannot buy respect.A Gallup poll illustrated how money can detract from life. The poll revealed that: 64% of all couples argue over money issues. And this is also the #1 cause for all divorces. 54% of all divorces are over money issues. Amen! A third problem we face in handling money is that it can lead to bondage. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters: God and money.” Amen! Did you know that during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that during the first half of the construction 23 men fell to their deaths in the waters below? It was so dangerous that they stopped construction. Then they built a huge net under the bridge at a cost of $100,000, so if anyone did fall they would not be hurt. During the second half of the construction only 8 men fell and of course, none of them died. But here is the amazing thing during the last half of construction the work preceded at 25% greater efficiency. Having the net under them did not make them more careless; it made them more confident and more efficient. Those workers experienced a new freedom. Money, and the worry that travels with it, can place you in bondage. Some people struggle to follow Jesus Christ. Let me put in a commercial for Him using these three problems to you. Jesus Christ came to offer us a rich life, free of worry. Jesus Christ came to offer a full life free from bondage and the besetting evil it brings. He came to give you a meaningful life if you follow His teachings. Why not follow Him? Why not obey His commands? He had you in mind when he came into the world!Second, I want to discuss God’s plan for handling money. God wants us to handle money with a right perspective. If you get your perspective of money out of order you will limp through life. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Amen! Are you investing in eternity or investing in today? When you get eternity right other aspects of your life will fall into place!Several years ago, construction workers happened upon a corpse outside the ancient city of Pompeii, where many people died when a volcano exploded. The evidence surrounding this corpse; a woman was interesting. Apparently, she had been fleeing from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Overtaken by the molten lava, she died in the hot ashes. The corpse revealed hands that were clutched around jewels. The jewels had survived, but the woman had not. The same is true today. Death will overtake all of us and strip us of our earthly wealth. That story helps you put life into perspective. Amen!On another occasion Jesus spoke about life perspective. He said in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Amen! God wants us to handle money with a right purpose. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus states the purpose of life. The purpose in life is to live for “the kingdom of God.” God wants us to live our lives in service to Him. The apostle Paul describes this purpose in Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward.” Amen! When I think about a man who understands life purpose I think about Truett Cathy, the founder of Chic-fil-a. Over the years he has become known for his faith in Jesus Christ. He is also known for taking a stand that he would not open his restaurants on Sunday even though it cost him millions of dollars, for being a Sunday School teacher and for helping many foster children. Several years ago I picked up a newspaper clipping about Mr. Cathy. In 1982 Chick-fil-a faced a crisis as pressure from fast food chains caused their revenues to fall. Truett Cathy and company executives retreated to a resort at Georgia’s Lake Lanier to find an answer to their problem. That group of executives pondered the question, “Why are we in business?” Mr. Cathy said they came up with a corporate statement: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-a.” In six months, sales increased 40%. I believe Chick-fil-a is the largest privately owned restaurant chain in America.God wants us to handle money with a right priority. Notice Jesus description in verse 33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God should have top priority with your money, your time and your heart passion.Billy Graham has often told a story that illustrates the importance of having your priorities in the right order. The story is about a little boy named Paul Haley. The little six-year-old Denver boy was dying from cancer. His story had hit the newspapers along with his fondest wish. The little boy wanted to meet the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. One day, quite unexpectedly, Eisenhower announced to his aides that he was going to see Paul Haley. Hopping in the presidential limousine, they drove to Denver and pulled up outside of the Haley home, flags flying from the limo’s fenders. Eisenhower simply strode up the little walk leading to the Haley front door and rang the doorbell. Donald Haley, the little boy’s father, answered the door. When faced with the neatly-dressed stranger he simply asked, “Can I help you?” Suddenly, a little boy appeared between his father’s legs, peering up at the stranger’s face. “Yes, I’m Dwight Eisenhower and I’d like to meet your son.” The little boy scampered out to the limo and the president showed him the car and allowed him to sit in it. They parted with a handshake and a hug. All the while Donald Haley stood in the doorway awestruck. His neighbors are still talking about it to this day. Donald Haley often talked about how unprepared he was to meet the president of the United States. He was standing there in old jeans and a dirty tee-shirt as the most important man in the world shook his hand. If he had only known he could have been prepared. Our first and greatest priority in life should be to know Jesus and serve Him with all of our might. We should serve Him with our money, our time and our hearts. Now you know how money can affect you. Amen!