Jesus warned against pursuing wealth in Luke 12:15.
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."
What we need to do in the area of financial matters is to learn to pivot from selfishness to selflessness, from hoarding/spending to giving generously to honor the Lord and advance His work in the world.
This was the message of the prophet Haggai. As we continue our series on Learning to Pivot we need to be reminded of the source of all our stuff and its proper usage.
The source of the problem
Haggai repeats a phrase which should have caught the attention of all of us.
"Give careful thought to your ways."
How well are we doing?
How well are we heading the words of Haggai? How many of us need to pivot from living a life of selfish acquisition and hoarding to one of generosity towards the Lord's work?
We have acquired so much stuff that we don't have room for it anymore. And that stuff that we just "had to have" at one time is now clogging up our living spaces. It's time for a fresh start.
But here's the problem. As soon as we devest ourselves of one garage full of junk, we begin accumulating a whole new batch. The junk pile isn't the problem. We need a fresh start in our minds and hearts. We need to pivot from acquisition to generosity.
Here are some biblical concepts that have helped people over the years.
1. Pivot to a heart of gratitude
There is a spirit of our age called "Entitlement."
"I deserve better"/"I am entitled to more"/"I want what you have"
Paul opposed this heart attitude plainly in Romans 6:23.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The better heart attitude is found in Colossians 1:12-14.
Giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Daily Pivot
Go through your day finding reasons to thank God for every good thing you have received.
2. Pivot to a heading of generosity
Listen to Paul instructions in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was worth $101 billion.
"A man who dies rich dies disgraced."
Jesus has given the most of all.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)
The Daily Pivot
Go through each day looking for ways to be generous with your time, talent and treasure.
3. Pivot to the habit of fiscal responsibility
Here are some practical pivots you can take to enable yourself to become more generous.
Don't spend more than you take in each month.
Many live in a constant state of indebtedness because of the availability of credit.
Determine to stop the hemorrhaging so you cease digging a deeper hole.
Do some 'plastic surgery' and cut up most of your cards.
Get out of debt.
Pay off smaller debts first and then apply those payments to the next debt. Every success gives you more confidence and joy.
Track your expenses.
This takes discipline. Create a system for writing down every expense.
Know where the money is going!
Just marking out expenses will make you think more about how you spend.
Develop a monthly spending plan (budget).
Graduate level work--Most people don't do this.
Creating a monthly spending plan allows you to prayerfully determine how you wish to use the assets God is giving to you.
A tithe should be a part of the plan
Don't allow your quality of life to be shattered because of worry over life's possessions. Instead, picture this: Your concern at the end of every month is determining what aspect of God's work you will allocate the surplus of your income!