Money, money, money.
DECEMBER 26, 2023
Money, money, money. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor, Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru. He’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. You know, that is a teaser, that’s how we refer to it in the industry. At the beginning of a broadcast, I try to say something that will cause you to listen. And I opened, if you heard the opening of the broadcast, by saying, money, money, money. And the day after Christmas, that is probably appropriate. I mean, the bills are going to be coming in. And it’s going to be worth every dime, but that’s not the subject I want to to go on, for the last week and a day we have spent time talking about Christmas. And on Monday, yesterday, we took time and let God speak without me speaking. I simply opened the Word and read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Matthew, and the Gospel of Luke, and the Gospel of John, where John answers the question. All of these things are wonderful, but what does it mean, and how does it affect me? But Christmas is over, so now we’re going back to our study in the Book of Proverbs. And as you know, we’re doing it by subject because that’s the only way you can teach Proverbs. Proverbs isn’t a book that is linked together with an outline. The outline goes all over the place, so you just look at verses, find what the writers of Proverbs have to say to make us street-smart Christians, and then you consider each of those subjects. Now, back in the Middle Ages when we last studied, it feels like a long time, last studied Proverbs. We mentioned that Proverbs and the entire Bible has a lot to say about money. And no, I’m not going to ask for a gift for Key Life. The purpose is to let you see what the Bible says in general and the Book of Proverbs in particular. So, listen up, Proverbs 3:9 through 10.
Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase: so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
And then Proverbs 11:24 through 26.
There is no one who scatters,
That means somebody who gives.
There is no one who scatters, yet increases more. And there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.
And then Proverbs 28:11.
The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding surpasses him.
And I could go on and on. There’s a lot in Proverbs and throughout the Bible about money. And you will note that it has a feeling like, if you give, then you’re going to be given unto. And you have to remember what I taught you early in Proverbs. Proverbs is a book of principles describing how the way, or the way the world generally works. It’s not a book of promises that say absolutely if you do this, then this will happen. And that needs to be applied as we talk about what Proverbs has to say about money. Proverbs says generally the best way to live is to be generous, to have an open hand, to care for the poor, to look for needs and try to fulfill those. And if you do that, generally you will be blessed. Generally, the bills will be paid. Generally, you will receive as you give, but that’s not an absolute promise. I remember when Fred Smith and I maybe told you about this, Fred Smith’s mentor who headed up a very large company and had given away a lot of money, almost went bankrupt. And people were shattered when they found out that he’s been so generous. And I think it told you that Fred’s asking, do you wish you had all that money back that you gave away? And he said, no, that’s the only money that I have left. And so, you have to be careful. If you’ve got a preacher who’s telling you to be sure and tithe and you’ll get rich, that’s not true. It may be true, it may not be true, but generally, generally being generous means that the bills will be paid. Fred Smith was one time asked if he thought that a man could be successful in business and still be a Christian. I’ll never forget what Fred said. Fred said, I don’t know how a man can be successful without being a Christian. He was right. But he wasn’t necessarily talking about material goods. Let me, I have a friend in Texas, his name is Bruce Fogarty, and he writes really funny, funny poems. He wrote a poem, which is an ode to a corporate American Express card. Let me read some of it to you.
I hardly can believe it. Say it’s not true. Et tu Amex, you didn’t really cancel me, did you? From Visa to Diners, I could possibly have expected such a jilt. But I never left home without you. And you dump me. Where’s the guilt? I took you to Prague. We sailed the oceans together and enjoyed London fog. But now you say it’s over? And that there’s no love left? Over a lousy three grand and change? Only ninety five days bereft? My Mastercard still loves me. For twenty years been there. Though many a raging battle, and cash flows, fluctuation airs. The way Mr. Frost pulled the trigger, with no warning, it saddens me, to finally realize I have nothing use when I rise.
That’s the way the world is. Absolutes are there and taught in Scriptures. And when we see those absolutes, we need to hang on, believe them, they’re the promises of God, and God always fulfills his promises. But you’ve got to be careful in other ways. Sometimes you give, and you’re generous, and you’re compassionate, simply because that’s what a godly woman or a godly man will do. Now, let me show you, since we’re talking about money, let me move to another subject that’s not irrelevant to that subject. Be careful who you owe. Proverbs 6:1 through 5.
My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your own mouth, you are taken by the words of your mouth, so do this, my son, and deliver yourself, for you have come into the hand of your friend: go and humble yourself. Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids; deliver yourself like a gazelle from his hand, the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
That means, get it fixed if you owe somebody some money because they own you, if you owe them. And then Proverbs 11:15.
He who is surety for strangers will suffer, but one who hates being a surety is secure.
In Genesis 43:9, Judah pledged to be surety to owe Benjamin and took responsibility for the life of his brother. Psalm 119:122.
Be surety for your servant for good; do not let the proud oppress me.
Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
And so, Jesus, and surety when it happens there is a good thing. Everywhere else it’s not. And so, beware of friends and strangers and relatives and church members bearing gifts. There is almost always a price to be paid. Count it before you accept it. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our unusual tour of Proverbs. It’s a series we’re calling Street-Smart Christians. And today we delved into what the Bible has to say about money. Yeah, we all want to learn about that, right? More practical wisdom from God’s Word tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us. It is well with my soul. You likely know that hymn, but did you know the man who wrote it, Horatio Spafford, did so after his four daughters died in a shipwreck. Still later, he suffered a mental breakdown, and yet, Spafford still affirmed, it is well with my soul. How can we have that same peace and assurance? Well, Steve spoke about that in a message named after that hymn, and we’d love to send you that entire sermon on CD for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the CD called It is Well with My Soul. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, text that to 28950. And if you can’t give, hey, don’t worry about it, seriously. But if you think about it, please do pray for us, okay? Needed and appreciated. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.