Happy Memorial Day. We are able to talk about things today because of the sacrifice of thousands. Last week, we talked about the three categories of folks and how they handle money. And, I used three WWE figures to do it!
Based on my emails this week, I think we were helpful! Even to all our ‘Select’ sports people!
We are so thankful God led all of you to engage with us today! Wherever and whenever you’re watching. Our series comes from Matthew 6:19-21, 24 where Jesus is teaching about Treasure… how to acquire it and then enjoy it.
Today I want to give you two secrets for making and managing treasure. These two principles have helped me and my family greatly because we lived for a long time underwater. I was born in Ashland, Kentucky to a mom with an alcoholic father who grew up dirt poor in a shack in the depression. My dad made it through his early days laying brick. Listen, you don’t brag that you hail from Catlettsburg, Kentucky! But my parents found Jesus and also found some money management principles – they taught them to me and helped pull our family out of generational poverty. So these principles work – no matter what category, family, or state you find yourself in!
1. You have to think differently, especially if you’re underwater/broke. Proverbs says "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." And Paul says Satan has "blinded the minds of people." He has deceived them, especially with their view of money.
You have to think differently about how it’s made and how it’s managed. For instance, if your first question is, "What’s the monthly payment?" you’re already going down the wrong road/way of thinking. If you don’t know what the rule of 72 is and the magic of compound interest, you’ve got to educate yourself and think differently. Move out of a poverty mentality.
So if you’re underwater, you’ve got to start thinking differently, and if you’re treading water, you’ve got to think differently, too...
For a long time, Donna and I were there, not going under, but not getting ahead either. I don’t know if you know this, but most pastors are not paid a lot of money early in ministry. My first weekend ministry back in Bible College, was a 90-minute drive each way and I was paid $50. When the two of us married, I was excited to hear I was to get a pay increase. I was thinking it might double to $100. But it went to $60 - a $10 increase. This is why we are so grateful to the leaders of Whitewater, who have been so generous to us over the years. Back then, although disappointed, the two of us continued to tithe and trust God to provide. And he did! But you have to keep hope alive and think positively in this stage.
I watched a professional golfer named Phil Michelson who up to this point had been ‘treading water’, win a major PGA event last Sunday after church. He won at 50 years old (a record). He struck a mighty blow for all the old dudes!
He credits his win to a different way of thinking. He called it "elongating his mind to match his golf swing to help him visualize shots." “I just believed it was possible, even though everything was saying it wasn’t,” Mickelson said. “I hope others find this inspiration.”
There are huge rewards from thinking differently if you’re underwater or treading water. For those of you watching from all over the world, type that in the chat - I’m gonna think Differently!
And if you’re walking on the water, you really have to think differently. You have to make sure you don’t get deceived into thinking this money you hold is yours...that your happiness and security are tied to it - that your self-worth is equal to your net worth! You have to remind yourself that you’ve been blessed to be a blessing!
There was a guy back in Jesus' day that struggled with this very thing. Mark 10:17-31: (Rich Young Ruler)
"As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this, the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
If you’re on top right now, you should be thinking about legacy and what you want to be remembered for. Where and how far will your ripple go?
2. The other secret sauce that our family has practiced and also been the recipient of by the way, is to learn to Give Secretly. Jesus said this in Matthew 6:1-4:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
This passage has to do with your motive for giving. Don’t trumpet your giving! Do it for God’s glory and not yours.
If you’re underwater/broke, give secretly…like The Widow and her mite!
If you’re treading water, give secretly. Luke 6:38 says it well. This is NOT a prosperity gospel theology, but it does teach reciprocity - not always financial, but blessings are promised! "Give and it will be given to you!"
If you’re walking on the water, give secretly. So many times I’ve seen this happen in my life. Donna and I have been blessed with uber generous blessings of cash and meals anonymously given to us to encourage us at just the right time. And I have had a front-row seat to this in the life of this church, too…a huge opportunity presented itself, a need was shared with us and our church budget couldn’t do it and a generous giver stepped up anonymously to give a lead gift that enabled us to approach the rest of the church to meet the need. We have bought trailers and cars, paid for hospital bills and funerals, and if the power goes out today, you can be grateful for a generous and anonymous giver who gave $300,000 to help us buy a 500-kilowatt generator!
And just an FYI, we’re practicing what we preach here collectively as a church, too! We are prudently making a church budget, paying off our remaining mortgage debt, and giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. And our Elders/Staff are praying right now about where to invest the wonderful reserves God has blessed us with, because it’s not meant to hoard. It’s God’s money and he wants us to use it for His Kingdom. I’m so afraid He might come back and catch us with some!
This "I Was Broke" series will provoke and provide you an opportunity to trust God more because this is what God says in Malachi 3:10-11: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty."
So is this true or not? Can you trust God with your money or not? A better question is - Can God trust you with HIS money?! In God We Trust is on the very item we need reminding to trust God for! So what are you afraid of? You’ve got the king of kings on your side! Imagine what kind of difference, what kind of needs we could meet if everyone who calls this their church family trusted God with their money?!
You know, we’re all betting our lives on something. I’m betting mine on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t a liar. Not only for my money but for my eternal salvation! I am going to trust the words of scripture to "think differently" and "give generously/secretly." And I know you can do this gang! We are in this with you!! Psalm 37:25-26 says, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing."
I mentioned my parents earlier. My dad taught me to think differently. He always talked about the 10-20-70 plan – some of you knew that was coming out in this series!
And my dad taught me to give secretly and generously. I saw him give money he didn’t have to people he didn’t know because he loved the Savior very much. Dad modeled it and that is what Donna and I do. And right now I am going to ride this line of breaking Jesus' command to not "let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" by sharing something with all of you. My motive is to inspire you, not to impress you today, so here goes…
For the past 19 years, my wife and I have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Jesus to further the ministry of Whitewater. For our last capital campaign called The Promise, we made a commitment of $100K above our regular giving. I was audited by the IRS for an "unusual amount of giving based on our income." And there are many others here who have done the same thing – and that is what got us to where our church is today!
But we have been blessed way beyond what we’ve given away. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." We. Have. No. Regrets! Some of you will be in heaven because of it - and you CANNOT put a price tag on that!
Many of these principles will be shared next Sunday (June 6) when Joe Sangl is here, Sunday morning AND Sunday night at 6:30pm for Financial Learning Experience. (Sign up online for that as well as to be an E-giver and start practicing generosity.)