Show Me The Money

Title: Show Me The Money

Bible Book: 1 Timothy 6 : 6-19

Author: James Merritt

Subject: Money; Finances; Stewardship



If your life is anything like mine then it is never out of sight, rarely out of mind and it is part of my life every single day. It is the number one cause of divorce. Fifty-seven percent of marriages break-up because of it. It is one of the major reasons friendships fall apart, parents neglect their children and businesses go bankrupt. You’ve probably figured out by now that I am talking about money or really more specifically money management.

We all deal with money constantly. We pay bills, write checks, receive paychecks, make bank deposits, pay taxes, we buy this, put change in containers, and collect coins. Since it is so much of a part of our life by necessity it only makes sense that we learn how to manage it.

We have been in a series of messages called “bling” which is the 21st century term for “stuff.” What I have been trying to do is to teach you to get a handle on “bling” before “bling” gets a handle on you. There are a lot of things that we as Americans know how to do. From putting a man on the moon, to developing computers and cell phones – we don’t take a backseat to anybody, but there is one thing the average American doesn’t know how to do and that is manage money.

I wonder how many of you feel like the former professional golfer from Georgia, Doug Sanders, who said this, “I am working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time. If I can die right after lunch on Tuesday everything will be fine.”

I don’t want to bore you with a lot of statistics, but let me just tell you how poor money management really is in America.

*Consumer debt has tripled since 1980. One-out-of-four Americans say they have no spare cash.1

*America’s number one fear even above a terrorist attack is running out of money during retirement.2

*The average amount of credit card debt in households with more than one card is now more than $9,312, an increase of 116% over the past ten years.3

*The average personal savings rate is less than 2% of personal income.4

I want to destroy a myth in this message. The myth is that money problems are caused because people don’t make enough money. That is not true. Most money problems are caused, not because people don’t make enough money, but because they don’t manage the money they make.

The Apostle Paul, two-thousand years ago, did us a great favor when in a brief passage of scripture in a book called 1 Timothy (which is a book he wrote to a young pastor so that young pastor could teach these principles to his church). He shares with us three simple steps on how to make sure that we manage our money rather than have our money manage us. It is better than any advice that wall-street will ever give you, because this advice comes from the heart of God. God guarantees they will work.

I. Appraise Money Properly

Paul reminds us of one central fact about “bling” – stuff – money, stocks, gold, bonds, real estate, jewelry, houses, cars, and clothes – you name it that really puts it all into perspective.

“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” (1 Timothy 6:7, NASB)

When you came into this world you didn’t own anything. When you leave this world, you won’t own anything either.

I heard about a rich man who was determined to take it with him, so he told his wife to sell everything he had, get it in cash, put it in a sack and then hang the sack from the rafters in the attic. He said, “When I die and I am on my way to heaven I am going to grab the sack as I go by.” He later died and the woman raced up to the attic and the sack was still there. She said, “I knew I should have put the sack in the basement.”

The truth is when you were born you brought nothing into this world and when you die you will carry nothing out of it. If that is true, then think about this. Who did all of that “bling” belong to in between the time you were born and in between the time you die? If you didn’t bring it with you when you came into this world and you won’t take it with you when you leave this world then that raises the big question, “Who owns the money in your wallet? Who owns the paycheck you get every week? Who owns the bank account that is in your name? Who owns the equity in your house? Who owns the stocks, bonds, mutual funds and investments that you stored away?”

You can only draw one conclusion. If you didn’t bring it with you when you were born and you don’t take it with you when you die then it doesn’t really belong to you at all. It all belongs to God which is what we have been saying for the last two weeks. If it all belongs to God then it is not ours to hold, but it is actually his for us to manage.

That is why verse 6 is such a key thought. “But Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” (1 Timothy 6:6, NASB)

Here is the point. The reason why God doesn’t let us own anything while we are here and the reason why you don’t bring anything into this world when you are born and you don’t take anything out when you die is because God does not want you to be consumed with bling. He wants you to be consumed with the one who gives the bling to you and who owns the bling to begin with. The new living translation puts this verse this way, “True religion with contentment is great wealth.” (1 Timothy 6:6, NLT)

You can be rich in one of two ways – in how much you have or how little you want. We need to learn how to be satisfied with more of what we have and with less of what we want.

“Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.” (Ecclesiastes 6:9, NLT)

The first thing you’ve got to do with money is understand how temporary it is and that is why you can’t make it a goal. You can’t make it your focus. You can’t make it the single greatest object in your life, because you not only really don’t own it, you can’t keep it. You brought nothing in and you will carry nothing out.

II. Approach Money Cautiously

I take comfort in the next thing that Paul says because he evidently realized that what he had just said would fall on deaf ears. Even though he was preaching a great message and he was really telling the real truth about bling (about money) that there would be people who just wouldn’t listen to him. He addresses those who are absolutely determined, above everything else, to have bling – to make stuff their goal. He says in verse 9, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9, NASB)

We all know people like this. As a matter of fact, the people who are like this most of the time deny that they are like this, but this is the person who can’t rest. He can’t relax. He can’t even stop and smell the coffee, because he is too busy making it. This individual is determined they are going to be rich. That little phrase, “wants to be rich,” refers to those who are determined that no matter what happens or what they have to do, they will be rich. When you’ve got that desire and that passion and that obsession to be rich, here is the warning “[you will] fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9b, NASB)

You know how a snare or a trap works. The trapper covers it with some brush and then uses bait to lure the animal into the trap. Just about the time the animal thinks he has a meal, actually, the meal has him.

That is exactly the way money works. You think you have money, but money really has you. Incidentally, how do you know whether or not money has you? Let me just ask you this. Show me your checkbook and answer this question. “What is more important in your life God or gold?”

Do you know what the desire for more money does? It simply gives you more desire to have more of what money can buy. How many times do all of us finance things we can’t afford that are immediately worth ten-to-twenty percent less than what they were when we bought them the minute we walk out of the store? I know people and I love them. Some of them are in our church. I have some who are my best friends and they have a buying disease. They are always constantly buying, accumulating, or getting. We have become slaves to financial institutions who don’t even know our name. No wonder Yogi Berra once said, “Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel?”

Credit card companies understand the power of money and wanting to have it. You need to remember something. The credit card industry isn’t looking out for your best interest. They are looking out for their best interest. The retail industry is not looking out for your best interest. They are looking out for their best interest.

The real cause for all of this is what Paul describes in verse 10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NASB)

Notice it is not money that is the problem, but the love of money that is the problem. You can have a lot of money and not love it. You can have no money and love it.

This verse does not say that money is the root of all evil. Nor does it say that the love of money is the root of all evil. It says the love of money is a root of all evil. If you think money will solve your problems, make you happier or finally satisfy you, you are like a drowning man drinking salt water out of the ocean.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 says this, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money… when good things increase those who consume them increase.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11, NASB)

That is the more you have the more you want. The more stores you go into the more you want to buy. The more you want to buy, the more you want to have and the more you want to have the more you’ve got to make. The more you make, the more you want to spend. It is a merry-go-round with a ball and chain that won’t let you go.

I am reading a fascinating book by a man named Gregg Easterbrook called the progress paradox. The subtitle of the book is how life gets better while people feel worse. He says one thing that was worth the price of the book and it is fascinating. In the last fifty years, per capita-income, “real income”, life expectancy, home size, cars per driver, phone calls made annually, trips taken annually, highest degrees earned, and IQ scores have all gone up. Compared to fifty years ago, we now have over twice as many cars per person. We have microwave ovens, color TVs, DVDs, air-conditioned homes, answering machines, iPods, personal computers and luxury like the world has never seen. Yet, the same percentage of people (31%) who said they were “very happy” in 1957 is the same percent that says they are happy today. There has been in the last fifty years a tenfold increase in unipolar depression in the most affluent nations in the world.5 in other words, we have never been richer and we have never been unhappier.

That is why he ends in verse 10 by saying that these kinds of people “wander away from the faith and pierce themselves with many griefs.” If you grow to a point where you love money (and I can tell you a sure-fire way to know whether or not you do love it). If you love money it will inevitably cause you to steal from God. You won’t give to God what belongs to God. Next week we are going to be talking about the incredible power of ten. I don’t want to tell you what that message is about, but I will tell you this. The real reason people do not give God a tithe of their income, for the most part, is not because they can’t afford it. It is because they love their money more than they love God.

You’ve have two problems with loving money. Spiritually, it will cause you to get further away from God, not closer to God. Personally, money will wind up causing you a lot of heartaches and sorrow, maybe in the form of a broken marriage, maybe too much time spent at the office and not enough time spent with your kids, you may be more worried about the things of this world than the things of God, but it will bring you many griefs. That is why you must approach money cautiously.

III. Apportion Money Wisely

Paul goes on to refer to those who do have money. He says in verse 17, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17, NASB)

Now, I know most of you just checked out and you probably breathed a real sigh of relief and said, “Whew” and said something to this effect “Thank God that doesn’t speak to me, because I am not rich.” Before you say that too quickly, do you realize if you own your own home, have two cars and any kind of retirement at all, you have more wealth than 98% of the world’s population. You are in the top 2% of the world’s richest people. Even the poorest person in this church right now is in the top 10% of the world’s richest people regardless. So, sorry charlie, I am afraid he is talking to most of us in this room! Verse 17 simply says, “trust God not gold.” There is a way to ensure that you do that.

Here is what he goes on to say. “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, NASB)

Believe it or not, those two verses contain the greatest financial advice you will ever get in this lifetime. What Paul basically says is to take the money that you work for and make it work for you. How? By being rich in good works, generous, and ready to share. When you invest in eternity, when you invest in the work of God, when you invest in people, when you invest in changing lives, when you invest in touching someone’s heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the glory of God, then you understand the real power of the name and then you understand what real wealth is all about.

One of the most powerful statements I’ve ever read in my life, I read several weeks ago. Here is what this man said, “The real measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money.”

Do you know the only treasure that really matters is the treasure that we lay up in heaven? Jesus said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20, NLT)

That treasure in heaven that Jesus talked about is the same thing Paul talked about here – rich in good works. It is generosity. It is sharing with other people. In fact, that is the treasure he was talking about in verse 19, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19, NLT)

So let’s practically apply what we have learned. Look at your checkbook, look at your calendar (that’s your treasure and your time) and ask yourself the following questions.

*Does my life prove that I love God more than I love gold?

*Do I have a greater desire to give than I do to get?

*Am I making sure that I am not neglecting my wife, my children, my family, my friends and my church at the expense of making money?

*Am I honestly willing to grow in my maturity toward being a better manager of God’s money?

*Am I willing to make a commitment to begin investing regularly in the work of God?


I want to close with two thoughts. First of all, if you think I am trying to get your money I am going to take you off the hook. Don’t give any money. Just remember it is not your money. The truth is I am not trying to get money out of you I am trying to get you in on God’s blessing you. Here is the second thought. It is better to have everything in heaven and nothing here than everything here and nothing in heaven. Do you love God more than you love gold? Don’t tell me – show me the money.


1 “Escape The Credit Card Trap,” Kiplinger, 10/6/2005.

2 www.remtech.bus/factsandstats.htm

3 CNN/money, October 12, 2005.

4 Money, December, 2004, p 94.

5 Gregg Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox, p. 181.

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