Five Financial Principles For Families

Bible Book: Psalms  127
Subject: Money; God's Economy; Family Finances; Faith
Introduction

How many of you know that money is one of the three leading causes of divorce in America? And it is not the absence of money that always leads to divorce, because at times it is the presence of too much money that leads to family failure. Whether too little, or too much, money is a problem in marriage and we must acknowledge that this is a fact. Many surveys reveal financial matters as the leading cause in the breakdown of the home. Even people who list communication as their problem, state that their communication problems surround the abuse of or use of money in the family.

Just a few years ago a couple in Florida won $27 million dollars in the Florida Lottery. They were so elated and their appearance at a news conference showed them exicted and bubbling with laughter. They hugged and cried and smiled! A few months later they announced that they were filing for divorce. One of them said, "Money changes people. There are times when I wish we had not won that lottery." Strange isn't it? Money, lots of money, led to a destroyed marriage for this couple.

Today I want us to look at Psalm 127 and understand the will of God regarding family finances. Many people do not understand that an improper perception and practice concerning your family finances often leads to the collapse of a marriage. A wrong approach to money leads to long days, sleepless nights, broken hearts and broken homes.

In our passage today, the scripture records that we must have the Lord's plans in the building of our homes. No matter how hard we work at this matter, if we do not have Him as our builder, we are laboring in vain. We will rise early and go to bed late, and still we will not have what we thought we needed or wanted when we began to build our home - our family. So, get your pens and pencils out and take some notes on how to have a rich marriage, with our without a lot of money.

I. The Pleasure Factor

First, we need to acknowledge that money will not make you happy on its own! We read in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.." (NKJV)

Again, look at Luke 12:15, " And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” '" (NKJV)

Jesus told us that life is not made up of those things we possess. This is not to say that there is a lack of pleasure in having money, but rather points out that money itself cannot produce lasting pleasure or deepening joy in life or the family. To see this even more fully, look at the word vain in Psalm 127.

The word "vain" is prominent in this Psalm. Three times in just two verses the Lord interjects the word "vain." This word means more than you might realize. It comes from a Hebrew root word which means "to rush over," by implication "to go over a cliff to destruction." Thus, it developed into a word that means some act or a thing that is empty, without meaning, and even evil in nature.

Why is it that money, though it is important and produces a measure of joy, cannot produce lasting peace and happiness? Because you were not made to find fulfillment in possessions. You were made for fellowship with God and His fellowship produces the kind of peace you need, not the kind you think you need! You were created to live in His grace and His presence. Money and possessions can become a barrier to a deep, abiding, and fulfilling relationship with God.

Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, had a go-getter of a young man working for him. One day Ford asked the rising executive what he most wanted out of life. The young automotive executive said that he wanted to make lots and lots of money. The next day Ford gave him a pair of glasses and asked him to put them on. The glasses had been especially prepared during the evening after their conversation. Ford had an optometrist take out the lens from a pair of glasses and put silver dollars in their place. As the young man donned the glasses, Ford asked, "Now, tell me, what can you see?" The man said, "I can't really see anything." Ford replied, "That's right, young man, and that is what money will do to you. It will blind you to everything in this world that is important. You had better get some better goals for your life."

You and I need to know that money will never satisfy us. Money will never make us truly happy. Possessions are nice when kept in their place, but they blind us when they become too important.

Many families are destroyed by this very first principle. They think to themselves, and sometimes even say, "If only we could get that home, or that car, or that boat, or that furniture, we would be happy. If only we had a certain amount of money in the bank, we would be set for life." Such statements reveal foolhardiness, and many families having gone after such goals have learned the hard way that they misjudged the most important issues when it comes to peace of mind and joy in life.

Tom Landry, the longtime coach of the Dallas Cowboys, died a few years ago. He was a great coach, but he was a better man. He was a Christian and carried that over into his coaching life. He was asked early in his career how he had become successful so quickly. He replied, "I learned early to get my priorities in order. God, family, football, always in that order. This formula never fails." Landry was right!

II. The Provision Factor

Money is not what your home, family or children need most. Look at Deuteronomy 6:5-7:

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

It was lunch time at Columbine High School and 17-year-old Cassie Bernall decided to skip lunch and study in the library. She was reading her Bible when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold burst through the door and started shooting students one by one. Spotting her, one of the gunmen said, "Do you believe in God?" She answered, "Yes, I believe in God." The gunman asked her, "Why?" Before she could answer, he shot her in the head.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into the high school in Littleton, Colorado, and began shooting. After they had finished the rampage, they shot themselves as a last violent act. They killed 12 students and 1 teacher, wounding many others. Immediately the experts began to look for answers to the massacre. They were shocked to find that the two students came from well-to-do homes and lived in fashionable neighborhoods. When placed in juxtaposition with the rest of the word, those young people were wealthy. Why were the psychologists surprised that young men from nice communities could do such things? The answer is quite simple. The experts think that only kids from poor families get into trouble and commit crime.

Crime is the result of the corrupt human heart. All the money in the world will not make a family honest, trustworthy, or free of crime. A person can drive the best car, have the best digital gear, and watch television on a ten foot 4K screen every night and still not be happy or fulfilled.

What the home needs first and foremost is a foundation. Jesus pointed that out in Matthew 7 when He talked about a home built on sand and a home built on the rock. Jesus is the Rock! No wonder the Psalmist was inspired to write, "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it."

The foundation for the home is God's foundation - Jesus Christ. This foundation must be accepted by faith, for we cannot do anything to lay the foundation in and of ourselves.

What your family needs most is love! Love for God and love for each other. A young teenage boy, 14 years old, asked his dad one day how much his dad made per hour. The father asked why the son wanted to know. The boy said he just wondered how much his father earned each hour. The father admitted that he made about $30.00 an hour. The boy then said, "Dad, can you give me $10.00 bucks?" The father gave his son the ten dollars. Then he asked what the young son was going to do with it. The boy asked his father to follow him to his room. When they arrived, the teenager pulled $20.00 out from under his pillow, put with the $10.00 his dad had given him with it and handed it to his father. Then the son said, “There, I have enough. Dad, here is $30.00, would you spend one hour with me?"

What your family needs is love and most people in a family spell love T..I..M..E! It must be a love beginning with adoration for the Lord. It must be a love translated to your family members and that means spending more time with each other than just spending time gaining money and things.

You might be interested to know that Michael Jordan, the last year he played basketball, made $300,000.00 a game. That translated to $10,000.00 a minute. When Michael Jordan went to a movie, he was making $18,000.00 just sitting there. When he played a round of golf, he as making $33,000.00 during that game. When eating out in a restaurant, he was making $5,600.00 during that meal. In fact, Michael Jordan made more money that year than all the former Presidents of the United States combined.

But don't get too excited about that. For you see, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is so rich that Michael Jordan would have needed to play basketball 270 years and save every cent he made just to have what Bill Gates owns. Looks like the nerds beat the jocks after all! But all that money, in fact the money of both men combined, would not make any difference if a terminal illness without a cure struck their children, spouse or their own lives! Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, proved that!

One day we will stand before God and you can be sure that one question He will not ask you is, “How much money did you make?”

III. The Peace Factor

Here is a principle - Money does not produce peace - real peace in marriage produces money.

The context of Psalm 127 is fascinating. The picture is of a city in which homes are being built, and all the while a watchman is up nightly checking the horizon for enemies. God is saying that the watchman is watching in vain, unless there is a dependence upon God for the security of the homes being built. If war and death is all around you, what good is a new home? If enemies are storming the gates, who wants to be building a house? In fact, you never see people building houses in a war zone. You see them fleeing their houses for places of safety. We have seen on television the millions fleeing countries in the Middle East for a place of security. They leave their homes and almost all of their possessions behind them. Only when peace comes will they even think of going back to build a home.

Your family needs peace that can be found only from a commitment to and a reliance upon God. All the possessions in the world cannot give you that peace. After all, how quickly can you lose everything you have worked a lifetime to gain? You might want to ask the people who jumped from their office windows following the market crash of 1929. You might want to ask the people who went through the devastating tornadoes which struck cities and towns in America on the last few years. You might want to ask Job. He had everything and lost it in a series of disasters. He lost his farm, his animals, his wealth, his children, his health and even his friends. He went from riches to rags overnight. What was the result of that tragedy? His wife told him to curse God and die. Money problems often do that to people. They create hostility and disagreements. They create these situations in the lives of people who think that money is what life is about. Money cannot give you peace.

Let me tell you something. If you have peace with God, you are already rich and stand a chance of being rich in the things of the world as well. For you will not panic in a crisis. You know where your hope is. You and your spouse and your children can pull together rather than pulling apart when hard times come.

Let me give you some rules for having peace with money. There are seven of them that my wife and I made years ago. You might want to write these down:

1. Put God first - tithe and give offerings to Him out of the first of all income you receive.

2. Be honest with money - never cheat, lie or steal for anything.

3. Pay your debts - and remove all debt as quickly as you can. Get out of debt and stay out of debt when at all possible.

4. Never hide financial dealings or money from your spouse. It is "our" money - not "my" money!

5. Never, ever, put trust in money or things. It is a good that our currency in America reads, In God We Trust. It is wise to remember that.

6. Always, and I do mean always, live BELOW your means. Never buy things that stretch you to the limit or that create tension in the family.

7. Possess your possessions, NEVER let them possess you!

These seven steps have guided our family finances from early in our married life. It is one reason we have never had a disagreement about money in fifty years of marriage. I can testify that these principles are biblical and they work!

IV. The Possession Factor

Money is not yours, you are only a manager.

Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."

The earth and all in it belong to God. Sometime ago I read that most funeral homes that provide suits to the deceased, dress the person in a suit with no pockets. That is not surprising. What would a dead man do with pockets?

We are told in Ecclesiastes 5:15, "As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand.." You came here with nothing and you will take not one earthly thing with you when you leave! You don't own it, God owns it. This is the first and greatest principle in God's economy.

Jesus told the story of three men given different measures of money. Then He told how the owner went away for a time and came back to see what the men had done with that which He had given them. This is a perfect example of our lives. God gives us what we have and He will one day ask for an accounting.

One day we will give an account for what we have done with money and possessions. After all, everything you have comes from God. I know, you have worked for it. But it is God who made work possible for you. Look at Deuteronomy 8:18. It is God who has given you the power to get wealth. Honor Him with it!

V. The Passion Factor

Some people wrongly say that money is the root of all evil. The Bible does not say that, rather the scripture states that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Money itself is not evil, but the love of money leads to many evils.

Lastly, we come to the passion factor. You see, money is not evil in and of itself. It is the love of money that creates problems. What evils can this produce? Greed, hatred, jealousy, stealing, lying, and many other such evils rise up out of a heart of a person who places too much emphasis on money and possessions.

A National Geographic magazine told recently about the strange behavior of a primitive tribe in India. This tribe had experienced an earthquake and they did not know what to do, so they did something they thought might help. The men of the village went around driving nails into the ground to make it firm again. That is what modern man is doing when he tries to strengthen our homes and society without God's plan.

We need to return to God's guidelines for family. We must return to God's guidelines for finances in the family. When we do, we will discover a peace that passes understanding. We will find joy in our work. We will have gladness in our homes.

We live in a day when people know the price of everything but the value of nothing. God's guidelines for family life will change that. Let us return to Him today!

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background.

A sign on the receptionist's counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves because they hadn't heard any summons yet to enter for an interview. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified. Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, "Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled."

The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, "Wait a minute, I don't understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That's not fair!"

The employer said, "I'm sorry but the last several minutes while you've been sitting here the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: 'If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.' None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his."

That is our challenge today. We need to listen to God in a world of noise and advice from every corner. We must turn Him and turn our hope over to Him, not to any other things - certainly not to possessions and money.

Conclusion

It is said that an English Queen was dying and said to her doctor, "All my kingdom for another day of life." He shook his head. In a few moments she was gone. All her money, all her kingdom, all her power, could not buy her one more day.

When you have Jesus, you are eternally rich. All the days on this earth He will be with you, and all the days after this earth, you will be with Him. Let us recommit ourselves, our families, our homes, and all we possess to Him and His glory today!