1 Timothy 6:17-19
Break Free from the Culture
Rev. Tom Berlin said in his book, Defying Gravity, “Just as gravity exists in the natural world, financial gravity exists in the economic world where you and I live each day. It is the invisible force that compels us to pursue our basic necessities–things such as food, shelter, and clothing for ourselves and those we love. Beside our basic needs, all of us have wants. Our wants include things we already have but would like to improve such as a newer car, a faster computer, a larger home, and a newer phone. The longer the list, the more financial gravity’s pull. When financial gravity is experienced to the extreme, it’s like living on Jupiter. Because of the large mass of the planet, a man weighs a 150 pounds on Earth would suddenly weigh over 350 pounds on Jupiter.”
Rev. Mike Slaughter said in his book, Money Matters, “Materialism continues to be one of the major oppressive forces that keep people from living fully as sons and daughters of God. We are created in the image of God and are never closer to God than when meeting the real needs of people. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” My prayer is for you to know the joy of financial freedom and the amazing abundance of generous living.” Then how can we live such life–a life with full of joy and freedom?
Trust the Promise of God’s Provision
Our Bible offers one story after another that illustrates how no need is too great for God to meet. When the Israelites were out in the middle of the desert without anything to eat, God provided manna and quail. When there was nothing to drink, God pulled water out of a rock. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:9, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Paul also in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Financial freedom is based in trust; that is, in building a trusting relationship between you and God. We must put our hope in God rather our money. Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17, “As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Surrender What You Have
- When a widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-14) gave up the handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug, out of her obedience to Elijah the prophet sent by God, she experienced a miracle.
- When the disciples gave five loaves of bread and two fish to Jesus, Jesus gave thanks to God and broke them. When the only available resource to feed 5000 people were a few dry fish and five loaves of bread, Jesus multiplied them to feed the crowd. The disciples even picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces that were left over (Luke 9:10-17). Rev. Michael Slaughter said, “The church is filled with people who believe in the purpose of God, but have yet to actively yield to the purpose of God. We will not experience the miracles of God unless we surrender what we have.
We can also honor God through our tithe. A tithe is one-tenth of one’s income. King Solomon said in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce;then your barns will be filled with plenty,and your vats will be bursting with wine.” God told his people to give tithe not for God’s sake, but for ours. As children of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, they were instructed, “When you cross over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is allotting to you, and when he gives you rest from your enemies all around so that you live in safety, then you shall bring everything that I command you to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and your donations, and all your choice votive gifts that you vow to the Lord.” With God’s help, the Israelites were able to conquer all of their enemies and entered into the Promised Land. While they were traveling through the wilderness, God provided a bread-like substance called manna to sustain the people of Israel. They could only collect enough manna for each day. Now, as the people crossed the Promised Land, they were being called to trust God in a new way. God asked them to give the best of what they had first, before their wealth was used in other ways. For example, they were not to give a sick lamb or a spoiled batch of wine. For us to give the tithe that pleases God, we must give first 10 percent of our income, before we spend for any other things.
God even told his people to test him whether he would bless them or not if they bring the full tithe into God’s house. Malachi 3:10-12 says, “Bring the full tithe into storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, say the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”