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DELBERT YOUNG both Kindle and Paperback (30 books at present)
Scriptures: John 8:32, Proverbs 26:14-16, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, 1 Timothy 5:8, Ecclesiastes 4:5, Genesis 2:15, Leviticus 23:3, Matthew 25:26, 30, Colossians 3:23, Luke 18:18-25
ABOUT SERIES - We are beginning a new series today that I am calling Financial Liberation. It's a little different from some series I have done and that I have heard done by other teachers and preachers. Often when a preacher teaches on finances, it is to shame us in an attempt to get us to pay tithes and give offerings. That is not the heart of this series. This series is to help us liberate our finances. The Bible says that "the truth will make us free."
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The first part of that verse says, "And you will know the truth" (Joh 8:32). So, before we can be made free by truth, we must know the truth that will work liberation in our lives. That is what this teaching is about. I want us to know some things and be aware of some things that should help us to be free.
IMPORTANCE OF MONEY - "We go to school to be equipped to be able to earn it. We spend forty or more hours of our adult lives earning it. We invest countless hours and thought deciding how we are going to handle it. We walk through stores and car dealerships and turn through catalogs deciding how we will spend it. We worry that we won't have enough of it. We dream and scheme figuring ways to have more of it. Arguments over it are a major cause of marriage disintegration, business partnership breakups, and government collapse. Despair over losing it has led to many suicides. The obsession of getting it has caused many of societies crimes. Some people call it the root of all evil. Some call it the means for great good, but one thing we will all agree on it that we cannot ignore the importance of money. Money is important."(1)
Neither does the Bible ignore the subject matter. It speaks to it head on. The Bible claims to be the best money management book every written. Some two-thousand passages refer to the use of money in the Bible. Two-thirds of the parables that Jesus told refer to money. The Bible will be our guide book throughout this series. You will be able to judge the wisdom of God for yourself on this subject. Maybe you are smarter than God. Maybe you know a better way.
You will be able to compare your ways of money management with God's ways. There are stories about people who thought they were wiser than God concerning money in the Bible. We will look at some of those during our series.
Many of us know how it is to be in financial bondage. Many have worn prison clothes and the ball and chain of financial bondage most of our lives. We are part of the financial bondage "chain gang." I want you to break out of jail and so does Jesus. I want you to begin planning your escape. Most of us don't dream of being mega rich. We just want to be able to make payments on time and stop bouncing checks. We just want to be free from the bondage of debt and worry over finances. We want to be able to save a little money. We want to be able to both take vacations and make the house payment.
The truth is that this is exactly what God wants for you. His plan is a plan for freedom, not bondage. His plan is a plan that will liberate us so our lives can be about more important matters than money. Life is more than money (Luk 12:23). Life is about people and marriage and family and serving God and giving in his kingdom and creativity. God has a plan for you that will liberate you from the bondage of finances and allow you to be about life.
Perhaps you are not in financial bondage. Some of us are not. Congratulations! Believe me. We are in an elite group. What this series will help you sharpen your thinking about money and maybe help you remain free from financial bondage. The series should help us no matter what financial level we find ourselves.
WORK - Financial liberty begins at a very simple level. It's called work. The Bible teaches that if we are ever going to be financially liberated, we need to work while we are able. One day we will not be able to work. The reward of working is getting lots of money. Someone says, "Well, I have worked all my life and I don't have lots of money." I didn't say you would keep lots of money. I simply said you would get lots of money.
Let me give you a few quick examples. A person who makes $8.00 an hour on average during their working years $748,800.00 will pass through their hands. This is with no bonuses or other income. That is three-quarter of a million dollars. A person who makes an average of $10.00 an hour will have had $936,000.00 pass through their hands not including any bonuses or other income. That's nearly a million dollars. That's single income. When we add a working spouse doing the same thing, we come up with nearly two million dollars for a husband and wife team during their working days. Most of us make more than that. Some here make much more than that. Many of us will make over a million dollars in our lifetime. Some here will make several million dollars in their lifetimes. Where does all that money go? I'm going to tell you where a lot of it goes next week.
I encourage each of us to sit down with a pencil and paper and figure how much money has passed through our hands already in your life and compare that figure with what we have to show for it. Please, do not commit suicide when you see the numbers. It's going to get better if we make financial liberation a value in our lives.
My point today is that if we will work, we will get lots of money. That is exactly what the Bible teaches. The scriptures warn us about being lazy and not working.
(NKJV) Proverbs 26:14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed.
Proverbs 26:15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; it wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.
Proverbs 26:16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
A great thing about the Proverbs is that it gives graphic word images. The lazy man (sluggard) is like a door that turns on its hinges. The lazy person lays in the bed and rotates. They never go anywhere in life. They have no plans to go anywhere. They lay in bed and ruin.
He or she is too lazy to feed himself or herself. They want someone else to take care of them. It wearies them. Bless their hearts.
This person thinks he or she is outsmarting everyone else. Do you know why? They always find someone to feed them as they roll around in bed. Does our welfare system fit in here? Let me tell you, a lot of those people believe they are smarter than the rest of us. We get up and go to work every day and pay taxes so they can rotate on their beds.
These people never take work seriously. They never take responsibility for earning money. They find someone to take care of them and someone will. The government, the parents, a lover, a spouse will take care of them. The Bible calls them lazy, a sluggard, slothful, a worthless person. The Bible says this person will never amount to anything and never have anything.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
2 Thessalonians 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
2 Thessalonians 3:12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
Even Christians are lazy. The Bible is clear on its position. We are to earn the bread we eat while we can. We are to work while we can work.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
It's difficult to find a blessing in the scriptures for a lazy person. God loves them and wants to bless them, but the lazy person who will not work is seen as an infidel even if the person is a believer. Some people have an infidel mentality. They think that someone ought to support them. If you knew the hundreds of calls we get from people wanting us to take care of them. The ones I am referring to are never working. I ask them if they work. They say "No I don't work." I ask are you going to work. They say "No. I'm not going to work." Do you think this is your problem? We help a lot of people, but one of the inquires we make before we give your money away is if the person works. Sometimes people get upset with me because we won't take care of them. I'm sorry, but the scriptures tell me that if they won't work then they shouldn't eat. It's Biblical.
Ecclesiastes 4:5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
This is an interesting passage. We are given another great word image. Not working will ruin us. Laziness leads to destruction. Why is that? Why does not working ruin a person? Have you ever studied a person that refuses to work? These people have no self respect. Their lives are trails of ruins and destruction. The reason is there is a direct relationship between working and self esteem.
People are created in God's image (Gen 1:26). We are God's masterpieces. We are given all sorts of talents and abilities. You name it. Mankind can do it. After creating man, God created this thing called work. Work is purposeful activity that will achieve some good end. Work brings out those godlike abilities. Work stimulates and expands those remarkable talents within us. We individually grow as a person when we work. We become a better person when we work. We become confident. We build self respect when we work. All of society benefits from my working. Good things happen when people work. Bad things happen when we fold our hands and refuse to work.
Think about it. People with low self esteem either don't work, don't work regularly, or hate their job. They hate their job because their God-given talents are not being utilized. They do not feel productive. The first thing that God did after creating man was put him in the garden to work.
Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Work did not come because Adam and Eve sinned. Work is not from the devil. It's not the devil's fault that we work. Work is God's idea. The serpent didn't come around until Genesis chapter three. Work is a blessing from God. Work makes us more godlike. It brings out our creativity. It enhances society. Work is a part of the blessed life and not a part of the cursed life. A cursed life would be a nonproductive life.
Another thought about work is that God said that a lot of our time is to be spent working.
Leviticus 23:3 "'There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.
We preachers usually use that verse, and verses like it, to condemn people into coming to church on Sunday. My point is that is 85.7% of our days.
Our days should be balanced. We usually think of our days in eight-hour segments. We work eight hours, sleep eight hours, and do whatever else we want to do eight hours.
The scriptures have a problem with people when they won't work. God has given people all these talents and abilities, but some people won't get out of the bed and use those abilities. Jesus told the parable about the man who took his God-given talent and did not use it (Mat 25:14-30). God was not happy with that person. You remember the story in Matthew 25:14-30. It's a very long parable which tells of three people given talents by their Lord. Two of them took their talents and multiplied them through work. The third person did not use the talent. The two who did use their talent were blessed and entered the joy of the Lord. The third was rebuked and ruined.
Matthew 25:26 His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant . . .
Matthew 25:30 . . . throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
What do you think? Will God bless our laziness? I know healthy men that refuse to work. They lay in bed and find someone to feed them. I know women full of talents that refuse to work and wonder why they are not blessed. Not working will set things into a negative domino affect. There is the decay of the magnificent talents given us by God. They live in ruin and destruction and they are constantly weeping and gnashing their teeth. The creativity is decomposed. Dignity goes south. The person experiences low self esteem and depression follows. This creates a dependency. Other people have to provide for these pillow people. People that were created to like God and accomplish much become dependents who have hidden their talents.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
Are we working? There are exceptions. Perhaps some have physical disabilities or maybe someone is between jobs, but for the rest of us, are we working? Don't wait for that one special job that will settle all your problems. We need to get out and get a job.
Are we working with all our hearts? Do you have a zest for work? I have a desire to be the very best at what I do. When I was in manufacturing, I wanted to be the best. I wanted to have the best production and I did. My shift set records. I wanted to be indispensable. That approach always gave me job security and kept me at the top of the pay scale. Are you in the top 5% of what you do? Someone who works as unto the Lord works the same if the boss is there or if the boss was not there. That's not for the Lord's good, or for only the boss's good. It's for our best. That's the avenue to success. That is one reason they liked me on the night shifts. I got the job done if the plant manager was there or if he wasn't. I was with the same company for about fifteen years and was constantly being promoted to better paying positions. Do you know how I added money to my check? I became dependable and necessary. It would be far less expensive to give me a raise than to train someone to do what I did and knew. Some of us here are not out of control with our spending. We have that in order. We simply need a little more money. One way to do that is not by changing jobs, but rather by becoming indispensable at the job we have.
That approach to work has come right down into my children. Lance has a zest for work. He works the same if I am here of if I am not here. He is not doing it unto me. He is doing it unto the Lord. How are your children doing?
WORK IS A GOOD THING - I want us to see that work is a good thing. It stimulates our minds and abilities. Work brings creativity. Work will test our integrity. Work is not of the devil. We are saved unto good works (Eph 2:8-10). We are saved by grace, but for work. The Lord does not like it if we don't work.
Let's move over to the other side of the continuum.
SYRINGE - The other side of the continuum refers to people who are addicted to earning money. These people hate the pillow person's approach to work, but they have a severe problem of their own. They are earning addicts or we can call this person a workaholic. This person does not function well without a daily or weekly earning fix. They have got to make some money. Most earning junkies never set out to be addicted. They began working and being rewarded. They have learned that they possess abilities to acquire what they need. It doesn't only need to be money. It can be applause and recognition. The bottom line is it is where they get their rush. In the process, their talents make them wealth (Deu 8:18). They began feeling a sense of dignity because of their abilities. The problem is that dignity is not enough. They want to feel like deity. They want to control. They want to rule.
We get power when we get money. When people sniff that stuff, they become addicted to it. It's not the money that is addictive. It's the power that comes because of money that is addictive. The shortest path to power is money. They know that without money, they have no power.
With power come notoriety and popularity. People see that the person has nice things because of money. People believe the person with money has answers. So, they give the earning junky a power fix by seeking his knowledge and placing themselves under their power and influence and control.
The earning addict is addicted and can't stop. Life becomes about earning because earning means power and power means control. How bad is the addiction?
Tell this person that the addiction is destroying their family because it will. Do you know what they will say? They say, "Oh no. That's not the problem." Just like any other addict they say, "I can handle it." But the next day they take out the syringe and get another fix. The entire time everything around them is falling apart. The kids, the spouse, their health doesn't matter as long as they can get a fix. They see it happening and know it is happening, but that doesn't matter. Nothing matters. Church doesn't matter, life groups do not matter, operating in their spiritual gifts do not matter. You know why?
They don't need any of that stuff. They are deities. They are too smart to waste time with those people and do those silly things. They could be making money. The entire time, just as with the heroin addict, their life goes to hell in a handbasket. It's a powerful addiction. Jesus spoke with many earning addicts. Remember the rich young ruler?
Luke 18:18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Luke 18:23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
Luke 18:24 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
Luke 18:25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
The man was a ruler. He had power because of his wealth. If he gave his wealth away, he would lose his control and power. The ruler was so addicted that he would trade his soul before he would lose his power. It is one of the most powerful addictions in the world. Getting free from its addiction is as difficult as getting a camel through the eye of a needle. I know that the "eye of a needle" was supposed to be some gate at ancient Jerusalem, but I can't find that in the Bible. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. I do know that it is obviously as difficult as getting a heroin addict off heroin. Jesus told the guy what he needed to do to become free. He needed to stop snorting, stop shooting, stop popping. They can't do it because they are addicted.
Okay, let's end this lesson. We have the continuum. One end is a pillow person that can't and won't get off the couch. They won't work and expect others to take care of them. The other end of the continuum is the earning addict. They can't stop getting money because of the power and control it gives. Both are in bondage and believe me that one is no better than the other. The question is where are you in the continuum? Are you on the couch or close to the couch? Are you using the syringe or heading for the syringe? Are you somewhere close to the middle? Are you working with all your heart as to the Lord? I want us to bow our heads and ask the Lord where he sees us in this continuum. Ask him to tell you which way you should move today. He will tell us. He wants to tell us because we cannot have financial liberty if we are not in the center.
1. Bill Hyble, Willow Creek Chruch