Worrying About Money

Posted: February 28th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Do you? Worry about money, I mean.

I’ll confess that I do. I really try not to, but it’s an ongoing battle. It’s become harder recently since I was laid off in November. I got a month of severance pay and received my last paycheck on December 31st.

A few days ago, I was reading in Mark 12 where Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. He said, “…you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

Part of loving God is loving Him with our minds.

This morning, I read Exodus 34:14, “You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.”

Ponder that for a minute. His name is Jealous and He is jealous. About what? His relationship with you and me.

As I was praying, I watched as two birds landed on a light pole outside the window of my hotel. They kept looking up to the sky. It reminded me of Matthew 6…

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Several things hit me from that passage:

1. We can’t love and serve God and money. We have to choose.

2. I’m to be like the birds outside my window who weren’t worried about anything. They weren’t planting or harvesting. They didn’t even seem to mind the freezing drizzle.

3. Material needs “dominate the thoughts of unbelievers…”

So let me see if I can tie all this together…

The greatest commandment is to love God, which includes loving Him with my thoughts. He is jealous for me. He doesn’t want me to have any other gods before Him. I have to choose between loving and serving God or loving and serving money. And money and material needs dominate the thoughts of those who don’t know God.

So if my thoughts are dominated by thoughts about money, how can I also be loving God with my mind? Practically speaking, it’s like I’m denying He even exists when I worry. Why? Because He promises if I’ll seek first His Kingdom and live as He desires, He’ll meet my material needs.

How about you? Do you worry about money? Or about something else?

God is jealous for the attention you and I give to these other gods who can never satisfy us anyway. When we choose to take our focus off money and put it on Him, it’s one way that we can express our love for Him.

On the other hand, when we choose to worry, it’s like believing God cares more about birds and flowers than about us.

Is God Good? Really?

Posted: August 6th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

40 Days of Believing God – Day 5

Last week, I had an appointment to meet a friend for lunch. It turned out he forgot about the appointment, but it gave me a chance to talk with one of the servers I knew. As we talked, she told me about her son and how he’d turned his back on God.

Her son was angry, because of some difficult circumstances that had occurred in his life. He was blaming God and feeling like God had let him down.

Can you relate to his feelings?

I can.

A number of years ago, I went through some hard times. Nothing I did seemed to work. Difficult circumstances got worse, not better. When I was sure things couldn’t get worse…they did. I felt not only humbled, but humiliated.

I got angry. At God. I thought I was doing everything I knew to do to walk by faith and please Him. Rather than blessing me for it, He seemed to delight in making things harder.

I was angry. Very angry. It didn’t stop there though.

My anger turned to bitterness. My heart was filled with it. It infected my thoughts, my feelings and my words. My relationship with God suffered. My influence for God suffered. There was more though.

The anger and bitterness turned to cynicism. I no longer trusted God. I didn’t believe He really had my best interests in mind. That being the case, I saw no reason to trust Him. He wasn’t going to come through anyway. So what was the sense? I concluded that the best thing to do was to simply lower my expectations of God. If I didn’t expect much then I couldn’t be disappointed.

I’ll be honest, even though that period in my life was over ten years ago, I can still feel those emotions surface once in awhile. It’s kind of like having a virus that lies dormant for years, then becomes active again. For me, it’s a virus I must guard against.

Maybe you can relate. You’re in a season like that now. If so, let me suggest you meditate on these two verses from the Psalms today. As we talk about believing God, it’s crucial that we believe the truth about His character. We’re not talking about having faith in faith. Our faith or belief needs an object. In our case, that “object” is God, so we must know what our God is really like.

If we develop our understanding of God based on our circumstances, it’s likely that God won’t seem very good. That’s why we must develop our view of God from what He has revealed about Himself in His word, the Bible.

By the way, when I use the word “meditate”, I mean to think about it, “chew” on it, mull it over. Talk to God about it. Ask Him what a verse means. Think about how it applies to Your life. Stay with a verse or passage until it fills your heart and mind and begins to crowd out the wrong thoughts and ideas about God.

Okay, here are the two verses:

“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.”  (Psalm 18:30)

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

Don’t run by those two verses. Write them a note card or whatever and read them over today. Let them sink in. Let them renew your mind. Let them change the way you think about God. You’ll be transformed.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about why God allows difficult circumstances and what to do about it.

By the way, I left a voice mail yesterday for the young man I spoke about earlier. I told him I could relate to how he’s feeling and asked if he’d meet me for lunch. Would you pray he calls me back and accepts my invitation?