Welcome back to the End Average Fundamentals series! If you are new to this, please begin reading the series from the beginning by clicking HERE. Although the messages work on their own, there will be more context for you if you follow them in sequence. Make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter and I’ll send these directly to you so that you never miss a new post. You can sign up right on the EndAverage.com homepage. Now let’s get right to it.
Money, money, money.
Money, cash, green, freedom, debt, credit, giving, blessings, despair, fortune, fear, power, hunger. Anything else? Is there a day that goes by that you don’t think about money at least a dozen times? That list is just the beginning of the connotations money can have in our lives. It differs from individual to individual, and case by case. But when it comes down to it we all think about money every single day. End Average has four main categories: faith, relationships, health, and finances. Today we kick off the last section of the Fundamentals Series- finances. We will be talking about the various aspects of Biblical finances. I will kick us off by giving you some basic concepts we find in the Bible about handling money and I’ll relate those back to lessons I had to learn the hard way.
Money doesn’t have morals
The first thing we really need to understand about money is that money doesn’t have morals. Money is not the root of all evil. Money can be used to build and create, but it can also be used to harm and destroy. Having more money will not solve your problems unless your mind and heart are changed enough to avoid getting back into your original problem. YOU direct and use the money you have. How you handle your money is one of the most effective gauges on your priorities.
The Bible has a lot of references to this concept. The most direct case I can think of is when Jesus himself said, ‘No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money’ (Luke 16:13). I will be the first to admit that I think about money, making more money, or how to spend money more than I think about how my relationship with God is and how I can grow it. That’s a clear imbalance in my priorities that I am trying to fix. Can you identify with that?
The idea here is that what you are thinking about, talking about, stressing over, planning, and just generally spending brain-time on is what your heart truly desires. It’s where your priorities are. By understanding that everything we have is a blessing from God, we can begin to unpack the concept of stewardship. Christian stewardship is handling out time, talent, and treasures in ways that worship, glorify, and please God. More on that in the next sections of the Fundamentals Series.
Our money problem
Realistically, how many people would literally lose everything within 90 days if they lost their job and couldn’t get another one right away? Would you be ok?
59% of Americans admit to being financially illiterate. So the number is probably much higher than that because I think the majority of people don’t even realize that they are in a really bad financial situation regardless of how much they make.
We’ve got a big problem. The problem is that we are financially illiterate. The problem has never been how much money you make, it’s how you use the money you have. I remember being newly married in a single bedroom apartment, making just over $30k a year – my wife and I were completely happy and completely debt free! As the next eight years went by my pay kept increasing as I got promoted and as that happened there are some key mistakes I made that drove us into debt. Over an eight year span we went from making about $30k per year to more than tripling that, but we’d also amassed over $30k in debt. Pay attention to this: our net worth had plummeted even though I had tripled my pay. We now had a big mortgage, a big car loan, credit card debt, and bills for luxuries. I’ve had months where my whole paycheck went straight to debt repayment and bills. We had to use credit cards to put food on the table. I had put us in a downward spiral that was crushing dreams, voiding the ability to tithe, destroying the hope of retirement, placating peace in my relationship with my wife, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I was financially illiterate. When I read Jesus’ words recorded in Luke 16:11 I cringed: So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?.
In the book The Man In The Mirror, Patric Morley says it perfectly: “Borrowing has become a national pastime. Easy credit seems like a good idea. If we could control our passions, it would be wonderful. Mixing easy credit and consumerism together, however, produces a highly combustible formula. In pursuit of the good life, we are lured to stretch a little further for happiness, made possible by easy credit. Essentially we have exchanged our traditional values for a murky sort of prosperity, financed by a remarkable increase in productivity and by a suffocating load of personal, corporate, and public debt.
Our money problem is that we don’t know what right looks like, we use debt to maintain the appearance of success, and the next generations are going to keep getting worse if we don’t fix ourselves and start passing this knowledge onto them.
Fixing your money problems
The core concept I want to tattoo on your brain with right now is this: the Bible does not teach us how to be financially successful, it teaches us to be financially faithful. Financial faithfulness is what we need to focus on in our lives, marriages, and planning. If you are ready to address the heart and mindset that the Bible requires of us when it comes to finances then follow along. If you want a guide for making more money, or a life hack to wealth, you’re in the wrong place. Everything I am going to teach you about finances is rooted in a handful of core concepts that you will need to learn and apply longterm. These are growth habits that will keep you on track for the rest of your life. For many there will be a phase one that will require some sacrifice so that you can get out of debt and onto the growth track, but that’s ok. We can work through that together!
In the next sessions we will get into the practical fundamentals of money management, but those are habits and techniques for executing a mission that needs to start with a heart that seeks to glorify God. Being financially successful without this mentality is as useless as polishing the brass on the Titanic; you will have wasted your life. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If you’re ready to change your financial life and create a legacy in your family, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s end average together.