I love this story that was told about Peter Marshall. A man once told Marshall, “I have a problem. I used to tithe regularly some years ago, but… but now… I’m earning $500,000 per year and there is just no way I can afford to give about $50,000.”
Marshall reflected on this wealthy man’s dilemma, but offered no advice. He simply said, “I can certainly see your problem. Let’s pray about it.” The man agreed. So Marshall bowed his head and prayed with boldness and authority, “Heavenly Father, I pray that you would reduce this man’s salary back to the place that he can afford to tithe.”
Too many become bound by money. It’s an issue that comes up at every turn – both now and back when Jesus walked the earth.
Here are ways to get the right perspective on money:
1) Put your tithe in first. When we tithe, we are visibly trusting God. We are teaching ourselves, our families, and those around us how to live on 90%. As we tithe, we grow in the understanding that it is all God’s to begin with. Our contentment grows in knowing that we are being faithful stewards. The tithe is truly worship. In the Old Testament, God’s people built altars, killed their best from the flock and worshipped with sacrifice. God was looking at the heart and still is today. If you don’t already tithe, begin.
2) Life is a gift and everything belongs to God. We all know deep down how precious life is. What we have isn’t important. House fires, car accidents, floods and storms come and in those moments, we are grateful to be alive! Who cares about the car! What if we could live with this perspective each day.
3) Cultivating contentment is an ongoing project. Materialism sure sneaks up on us. We’re minding our own business and all of sudden we want more. It may be something we saw another person have. It may be triggered by something else. We might even think we should have such and such by a certain stage of life. Here’s one way to cultivate contentment: ask yourself – before making any purchase – “how long will this make me happy?”
4) We were created to give, but we’re tempted to keep. Don’t rob yourself or your family of the joy of giving! There’s no place for a scarcity mindset in the kingdom of God!
In his book, Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity, Adam Hamilton shares these three reasons for money.
1. Money helps us achieve our goals
2. Money helps us meet our needs
3. Money help us fulfill our life purpose
We have so much, but give so little… because we are stretched, we are indebted and we are bent toward selfishness. How freeing would it be to think about money as a way to take care of basic needs and fulfill our life purpose? What if our take on money and stuff was more like God’s – simple, a tool, a blessing to use for kingdom ministry.
Money is a tool for living, but when it becomes our goal, we have a problem. Use it for what it is to be used for – to meet goals and God’s call on our lives, to meet the needs in our lives, and to help us fulfill our life purpose!
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