On Sunday we opened up a bit of a difficult or uncomfortable topic: money. Most times churches talk about this, it’s because they want more of it. But on Sunday the point wasn’t that I wanted anything from anyone, I wanted something for everyone. And what I believe we all need, isn’t more money, but a better relationship to money.
The truth is that money will not fix your life, or make it better. And while at first glance that seems well…just not true. Who wouldn’t love more money? The truth is we know that it is true.
- We all know people who make way less than us, but are much happier than us.
- We all know people who make way, way, way more than us but whose lives aren’t full of happiness and joy.
- We all know people who have maybe won the lottery, inheritance or whatever, only to see that money…vanish.
The truth is that while our culture tells us that money will fix our problems, the Bible teaches that our relationship to money is the problem. Getting a huge raise, or money doesn’t actually automatically generate more generosity, self-control, or self-discipline. And the truth is if we want financial freedom it doesn’t come from having more money, but a better and different relationship with money.
So we looked at this small passage in Acts where Paul’s preaching says this, “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” And this is so true! Expect for many of us it doesn’t feel…well true. For many of us it honestly feels better to receive a huge bonus, then it does to give and cut our neighbors lawn. But that’s actually not what Paul is talking about or Jesus for that matter. Paul is not talking about individual experiences or moments, but a lifestyle.
A better way to translate that passage for our context would be this: a generous life is wholer, better, and happier than a stingy life.
And that’s true.
When was the last time you met a truly generous jerk?
When was the last time you met a really happy, fully alive, stingy person?
It just doesn’t happen.
Jesus is right; a generous life is better than a stingy life. The trouble is that generosity is not random, it is strategic and a discipline. And disciplines are hard to create and generate.
So we ended the sermon with a few steps to starting to create the discipline to be generous so that we might find new freedom. The three steps were pretty simple and straightforward: make a budget, choose a % to give, and track your money.
Generosity doesn’t start with randomness but with a plan. So make a budget to examine your life and where you are spending and where you should be spending. Then choose a % to give. The main problem with generosity is that it is not habitual, so giving a % is key. Start anywhere but keep increasing it as you grow. And lastly, track your money. What you don’t manage soon becomes a disaster. So manage your money.
These are three simple steps, and there is so much we could get into but they will give the basis for a strong start this year. And to go deeper we are having a financial course here at the church, and if you’d like to be part of it just email the church office here for details.
So we ended with a challenge: put effort into our finances. Because no one has ever regretted putting effort into it and becoming a more generous person.
Big Idea: A generous life is happier, fuller, and better, than a stingy life
- The key to financial freedom is not having more money.
- Having more money will not fix your financial life.
- Money will not solve all our problems.
- The problem isn’t money or the lack of it; the problem is us
- It’s better to give than to receive.
- A life orientated around giving and generosity is the way to live.
- Generous people don’t give when they have enough; generous people orient their lives so they will always have enough to give.
- Having more money doesn’t give us more self-control.
- A generous life is happier, and better than a stingy life.
- Generosity is a discipline.
- Make a budget, choose a % to give, and track your money.
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What did you think about Andrew’s statement “The key to financial freedom is not having more money “? How does that relate to your life? Would you say your life is orientated around generosity? How can you maybe start to take some of those steps? Do you have a budget? Who can help you to create one? Can you start or increase your % of giving? How can we support you in this?
Discussion Questions / Responses for Young Families
Today rather than talking about generosity, start to teach it. Start to encourage your kids to give money away. If you do an allowance, ask them to give a %. Start to teach generosity from the beginning.
Challenge for the Week: Put effort into your financial life to become generous.