Satan’s Greatest Joy Is For Us To Chase The American Dream

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 16:1-18 — Here we are again today talking about money. Money, it makes the world go round. It is the oil that greases the machine. It is the common thing among us all. Rich or poor. Young or old. Money is a part of our lives. To ignore it in spiritual settings is to ignore a large part of our lives. Just think of how much of our lives revolve around it. We wake up in the morning and get ready for work. Work makes us money. Money allows us to buy home and shelter. Money allows us to buy food. Money allows us to take care of the needs of our families. Money allows us to entertain ourselves. Money. Money. Money. We are told in television commercials that what we have is old and lousy and that we need new and improved. Yesterday, we talked about how God gives us the special, unique talents that we have and that because of it we are drawn to professions or trades that allow us to make money. Therefore, if our talents come from God then it is because of God that we are able to make money. As a result, we should give glory to God for the abilities that He has given us. Today, let’s take a step further down the road. If it is God that gives us our gifts, our talents, then how we use the money that those talents allow us to accrue to ourselves is then also important.

If you watch television and the plethora of commercials contained therein, we are encouraged to purchase things. We are encouraged to be self-seeking. We are encouraged to get another credit card. We are encouraged to spend, spend, spend, on ourselves. It is an everpresent fact that Americans spend more than we make regardless of level of income. We make more money. We buy more things. And there is more debt that goes with it. The average American spends 104% of what they make annually. More, more, more. How d’ya like it. How d’ya like it. More. More. More. Is this what God intended for us? We are drowning in a see of debt and it causes us to lose sight of God and lose sight of others. With our debt loads coming from our pursuit of the American dream, we may have the fine cars. We may have the fancy house. We may have iPads, iPods, bitchin’ entertainment systems, 500 channels of TV to watch, Roku, Netflix. We may have vacations in the Keys. We may have cruises. We may have the manicured yard. We may have the trophy wife. We may have the closet full of clothes. We may our Beats earphones by Dr. Dre. We may a country club in our gated communities. We may have a boat that we take to our second house located on the lake. We may have jet skis to go with it. We may have a box suite at Death Valley for those Saturdays in the fall at Clemson or whatever your favorite college team is. We may have stuff. We want more stuff. Gotta pay for the stuff.

What does it all mean? What’s the point of it all. When possessions and toys become the central focus of our lives then maintenance of all that stuff and the debt that goes with it become heavy burdens. Most of us are a couple of paychecks away from being out in the street because of all our stuff. Our lives are filled with maintaining the precarious balance. Maintaining our debt is like driving on the interstate. We are all trusting that everyone is going to be going basically the same speed and its a precarious dance. If one person does something stupid the whole dance falls apart and major wrecks happen. Our finances are like that. We are trying to keep all the balls in the air and one mistake, one problem can cause it all to come crashing down. Our stuff, our debt, making the money spread to pay for it all consumes most of us. It makes all very self-centered. We focus on us and our things and how to get the next best thing. Swapping debt for more bigger debt with longer terms. Is this what God intended for us?

God intended, I think, for us to make wise decisions with our money. We are to make wise financial decisions while we are here on earth. If our money is in self-seeking, are we honoring God? When asked what the greatest commandment was by the Pharisees, Jesus said that to love the Lord our God with all our mind, soul, and strength and then Jesus said that there was a second but equally important command that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). This should be the primary measure of how we use our money. Is it God honoring? Is it useful in loving others? Certainly, I am not suggesting that we use our money to earn our way to heaven because that is a complete fallacy. No matter how many good deeds we do we are not good enough on our own to get into heaven, particularly if our only motivation for good deeds is to be seen doing them. Our use of our money should be God honoring. It should be used to help others. It should be used to help others find Christ. How many toys do we really need? How can we honor God with our money when we live off more than we make? All God asks us to do is to honor with a tenth of what we make. Why can’t we live off of 90% and be happy with that.

Oh many out there say that tithing no longer applies because we are free from the law through grace. We may be free of the ceremonial parts of the law but we are not free from the God honoring and moral parts of the law. We are simply free from the penalty of the law through grace given us through Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Sermon on the Mount tells that we are to be more than just mere keepers of the law. We must live out its spirit and not wait til we get to the boundaries of the letter of the law. We are to live out the spirit of the law. When Paul speaks of giving, he does not ever say that tithing went away. He says that God loves a cheerful giver. When you really read Paul with study, you come away seeing that giving shouldn’t be a calculation to see if meet the prescribed 10% and then do nothing more. You come away feeling that we should give sacrificially and for us that means that when we get to the point of being able to give 10% we don’t have to stop there. The spirit of tithing is to honor God so there are some that don’t stop there and go well beyond 10%. There is only one place in the Bible that God allows us to test Him and it is in this. When we use our money to honor God, it realigns our perspective. When we use our money to honor God, we think of participating in expansion of the kingdom first and satisfying ourselves later. There are blessings that come from this realignment of perspective. The blessings are in the soul! The being released from slavery to our things and to be able to honor God and to love others is freedom! That is the blessing. When we obey God in this way (testing Him in this, Malachi 3:10), the unselfish use of possessions will follow.

It makes Satan happy when we are slaves to our debt. You know why? When we are slaves to our debt, we are ineffective for the kingdom. If you live off 104% of what you make, you cannot bless others and love on others by meeting the needs of those in need. When we are in debt up to our eyeballs, we cannot answer God’s call when it comes. We are put on this earth with talents given from God. Our talents allow us to earn money. Regardless of how much we earn with our talents, we should honor God with our money not ourselves. It is not ours. It comes from the talents that He gave us. Thus, our money should be use in obedience to His Word. Our money should be used to honor Him and to love others. Don’t let Satan fool you in to believing in the American Dream. Believe in the God Dream. The God Dream is for us to live our lives in a manner that we can live off 90% or less of what we have and be able to show the world around us what a true believer looks like. One ready to answer God’s call when it comes. One ready to give when there is a need. One ready to honor God with his time, talent, and especially his resources.

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