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It doesn't help that so much of Western culture teaches us that the point of life is to amass lots of money and things in order to create a comfortable life; and then die, leaving it for your kids. Jesus says don't amass things on earth, but things in Heaven. So how can the Western church reconcile both ideas into one, when they are opposing ideas? We find our ways, but I doubt it's right...
I'm not saying money is bad or you shouldn't have a lot of it. I'm going through a sermon series on Heaven by Judah Smith where he speaks a lot on this, which I'll share later. However, the desire for money and things dominates my thoughts, plans and actions; and I think this is where the greatest folly is. The good news is, however, that this is the spot where God is working on me -- changing my concept of career. I'm not "there" yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.
I've been quoting this verse a lot lately, but I think it's the best teaching on the subject:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.That's Matthew 6:31-33. If we're not worried about money or the things it buys, but rather trust that God will provide, then how does that change our careers? Our plans? Our retirement? Our lives? It only recently hit me that Jesus says, "the pagans run after all these things...." Another translation reads, "These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers...." That means a couple things: first, I don't have to worry about money, food, clothes, etc.; second, I'm acting like an unbeliever if I do. Well, that makes most of us...
How do we change it? "...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Seems simple, right? Of course it's not, but imagine the freedom it would provide to know and trust that it's not solely up to us to make a living, but that we can (and should) depend on a God who can provide all of those things for us. Imagine how it would change our thought-processes, our relationships, our careers...everything! I want to get there.
Here is "Make Room for Generosity," by Greg Surratt.
Here are some notes:
- This sermon is based on 2 Kings 5:20-27
- Gehazi gets greedy when he decides to get something from the rich guy instead of serve him.
- Greed will suck all the joy and peace out of your life
- Greed consumes
- Greed causes you to do things you would never otherwise do
- Gehazi lies
- Greed causes you to hide things
- We don't ask people to pray about our greed, we hide it
- Greed separates friendships
- Greed will ruin your life
- It's caught, not taught
- Luke 12:14 "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.'"
- "Be on your guard..."
- "Against ALL KINDS of greed."
- Greed for stuff we want: beware of "my life would be better with ____." That's a replacement for God = an idol.
- Idolatry is when you find your identity/ joy/ reason for being in anything other than God.
- Greed for stuff we have: confusing ownership and stewardship
- "I work hard for what I have..." - everything is a gift from God
- Sometimes this is when God asks us to give stuff away
- Greed for stuff you're afraid to lose
- This greed is based in fear - "we won't have enough" - Gehazi was afraid in the famine.
- "Family first" can even be greedy if it's out of fear
- Guarding against greed
- Learn contentment
- Greed is insatiable
- "My heart leapt within me when I saw all the things that I did not need."
- Pursue community
- Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:"
- Running your bad greedy ideas by people can help stop you from doing them.
- You need to sit at a table with people who love you, but are not impressed with you.
- Practice generosity
- God used Elisha in a big way because greed didn't have a grip on his soul.
- Do you want to be that guy? Or Gehazia?