We often think, “the more I have the better off I’ll be. The more I have the happier I’ll be.” Someone said, “I know money can’t buy happiness but I would sure love to figure that out through my own personal experience.” Well, you don’t need to. In fact, the entire book of Ecclesiastes is a primer on wisdom learned from mistakes made by a man who had it all. Solomon wrote the book (and God put it in the Bible) so that we could all learn from his experience. He was the wealthiest man in the world. In Ecclesiastes 5:10-17 he reveals the myth of having more. In his little book, The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn breaks it down like this:
The more you have…
The more you want (vs. 10), the less you’re satisfied (vs. 10), the more people will come after it (vs. 11), the more you realize it does you no good (vs. 11), the more you have to worry about (vs. 12), the more you can hurt yourself by holding on to it (vs. 13), the more you have to lose (vs. 14), and the more you leave behind (vs. 15).
J. D. Rockefeller was, at one time the wealthiest man on earth. When he died a reporter asked the executor of the Rockefeller’s estate, “How much did he leave behind?” The executor answered, “All of it.”
Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
When you embrace the fact that God owns all that you have, then you’re free to give out of adoration and celebration- not out of obligation or calculation. People who’ve been set free from their stuff give joyfully- it’s the hilarious giver that Paul talks about. Instead, people have all kinds of strange ideas about giving, about giving 10%, about the offering…
God prospers me, not to raise my standard of living but my standard of giving.
The truth is, most of us are working- not to fund our needs but to fund a lifestyle that we’ve chosen lifestyle. At the core of the missional life is one who is a GIVER- and YES, it starts with our money because money is number one deterrent to living a life of generosity.
Five Things You Can Do With Your Money (the world’s way):
1. Spend it 2. Repay debt 3. Pay taxes 4. Save it 5. Give it
The Financial Flip-flop (God’s way):
1. Give it 2. Save it 3. Pay taxes 4. Repay debt 5. Spend it
Here’s what I’ve learned: Underneath this entire conversation about holding loosely to your stuff is this: a proper understanding of GRACE. If you have come to realize that you are a sinner saved by grace then you will practice radical generosity- not just in certain areas of your life, but in every aspect of your life. When you realize the cost of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and how He has bought you to be His own- how He has given His life for you to set you free from sin, guilt, and hell- then you begin to live in that freedom. You’re not bound to the things of this world. Then, and only then, will you lighten up.