Updated: Sep 30
In Bill Hybels book Simplify, Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul, chapter three asks this question: Why talk about money? Bill’s answer is this: There is no way to simplify your life if your relationship with money is out of control.”
He begins chapter three with this: “As a pastor, I frequently fight the stereotype that what pastors really care about is getting people to give more money. We’ve all seen or heard of money-grubbing preachers whose sole focus seems to be lining their own pockets. I cannot speak to what motivates these people, but I can speak for myself and countless other Christ-following pastors who are compelled to address the issue of money because we cannot ignore the crystal-clear message of Scripture. Judging by the sheer number of verses related to money, it’s obvious that a right relationship with our finances is of great importance to God.”
If that’s not reason enough to talk about money, this pastor goes on to say, “Over the course of my thirty-eight years of ministry, I have had countless conversations with people wrecked by their relationships with money. Grown men and women have buckled over and burst out crying as they told me their stories .... I’ve too often seen the long-term effects in people’s lives when they live as slaves to money. Guilt and shame leave an indelible mark.”
Pastor Hybels asks a key question that each of us must answer: Are we living within God’s provision for us?
If not, he asks, “Can you drive a stake in the ground and say, ‘Beginning today, I commit to living joyfully within God’s current provision for my life?”
It’s his belief that as we make adjustments in our spending, the margin it creates in our lives will breed contentment, which leads to peace. “Whether we’re in a season of plenty or a season of less, we can live with contentment and peace,” he wrote.
We know Pastor Hybel’s words are true because one of God’s great promises, found in Isaiah 26:3, tells us that God will keep us in perfect peace when we keep our minds stayed on Him because we trust Him.
Let’s listen to Jenny’s story. It took place some time ago when the value of money was different, but its outcome is still a good message to us today.
Jenny was in trouble. In fact, her faith had been tested many times in recent months since she and her mother had accepted Jesus and His message. Her father was unhappy about this; he did everything he could to make it miserable for them.
Jenny was attending Avondale College in Australia, and it was a battle to keep the bills paid. Then her mother died. It was a terrible blow. Her father demanded that she quit school and help him in his office. After the funeral, without his knowledge or permission, Jenny caught the train back to Avondale to continue her education.
There’s where the trouble began – trouble in paying the bills every month. She kept getting father and farther behind. The kindly business manager reminded her a few times that her account must be paid. Finally he told her: if what you owe isn’t paid today, you must drop out of school.
Let’s leave Jenny and her problem for a minute and go to the Batuna Training School far north in the Solomon Islands. Elwyn Martin and his bride, Alma, had just arrived as missionaries. For some reason they couldn’t understand, they were deeply impressed that their friend Jenny back in Avondale needed help. They had no money, yet the burden rested so heavily upon their hearts that Elwyn went to the treasurer of the mission and asked for a $25 advance. This unusual request was granted.
Another missionary who was returning to Australia added some more to their gift and three months later he personally took the money to Jenny at Avondale. But Jenny never knew where the $25 came from.
Now, the thrilling part of the story. The money was the exact amount of Jenny’s debt, and it arrived the very day that she had to either pay her bill or leave school. Three months before Jenny’s crisis, God had impressed friends hundreds of miles away to meet her need.
We serve a promise keeping God! He has promised to care for us and He keeps His word over and over and over again! May you see His kept promises in your life! Amen
Please Note: Jenny’s story was written by Robert H. Pierson … In Step with Jesus … Review and Herald, 1977, page 44