Few things upset our stomach or throw wrenches into our relationship like money issues. Did you know that 40% of all divorces occur around disagreements and pressure that grow out of financial problems, overspending, debt, and misplaced priorities? So how do we choose peace when you're experiencing financial turmoil? Stay with me.
That's today. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in just a minute, Chip will pick up where he left off last time in our series, I Choose Peace. Today he'll continue talking about the dangers of loving money and how that unhealthy obsession can actually rob us of our peace. But before he gets going, let me encourage you to use his message notes while you listen. It's a really engaging tool that'll help you get the most out of what you're about to hear.
Download them under the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap fill in notes. Well, if you have a Bible, turn now to Philippians chapter 4 verse 14 for the second half of Chip's message in financial uncertainty. What would it look like for you to develop a heart of compassion? Where could you take some of your wants and turn them into genuine needs? See, giving is the proof of our love. You can give without loving someone.
You know, you can pretend. But you can never love without giving, can you? So the first step of breaking greed is you develop personal compassion.
The second step is to develop a generous spirit. See, what money does, it not only hardens my heart, but it starts making me protective. And so as I amass and as I get, the only way I can get more is I get to protect what I have. So when people or thoughts or even sermons start to mess around with my money, then all of a sudden we put the walls up.
You know, I'll be back next week, but I'm not listening to much more of this. And so the only way, you know, it's like a muscle. What we need to do is we need to get that muscle of our heart not only tender toward God, but we need to get it flowing. We need to develop a generous spirit. And the Philippians will teach us here, you develop a generous spirit by releasing the very thing that has power to consume you. The very thing that has power to consume or choke out God's life in you, you need to release, you need to become generous in your attitude. And so notice what he says, verse 16, for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.
There was a systematic time and Paul says, you know, the Thessalonica church, I mean, that's a pretty ritzy area compared to you Philippians. And he said, even though they could have supported me, but they didn't have the spiritual maturity, they just didn't get it. You, out of your need, you gave. And the phrase is again and again. In other words, they systematically, regularly gave to help Paul fulfill what God called him to do.
And it's going to be interesting what he tells them happened not for him but in them because of that. But you develop a generous spirit by giving or releasing the very thing. Now turn to 1 Corinthians 16, 1 and 2, and I could ask everyone, are you setting aside the first portion to the Lord because you need to give and to release? I'm not going to do that.
I was thinking, how could we get this? I don't know about you. I don't need one more ought, one more should, one more artificial guilt reflex. And by the way, I got to tell you, if you're waiting for, I bet they're going to talk about a building campaign later or the second offering will be coming around, right? Just, you know, kind of relax.
You can take your hand off that wallet or purse. There's nothing coming. This is God supplying. This is about you and your heart.
This is not about any needs we have. And so I thought and I said, you know, I got home from a speaking engagement and for me it was a little bit late and so I reviewed on the plane but I got to this part and I thought, Lord, I need a picture to really help people see the reality but see your heart and your grace in a way that it would really connect. And I don't have it. And so I drove in this morning in the parking lot and had about 45 minutes or an hour and, you know, I went over my notes one more time and I just prayed and I said, God, would you give me a picture?
Would you show me how can I help people see this? Because I don't know. And he's, you know, I sit there quietly and this is how God speaks to me and he brings ideas and I said, ask him this question. I said, okay, okay. So I'm going to ask you this question.
Are you ready? And by the way, you know, relax. I mean, some of you are thinking, you're kind of new going, I don't know if I'm going to raise my hand. So you don't have to. But here's just a question. How many people when you go to a restaurant leave a tip? You leave a tip. Okay. I mean, you just don't say I'm not leaving. Forget it, you know.
Now, if it was really, really bad, I mean, if the service was good or, you know, general, you leave a tip. Okay. How many people leave 5%? Okay, not too many. How many people, it used to be 10%. How many people leave 10%? Not too many. Okay. How many people, you go to a restaurant, the service is good, leave 15% as a general rule or maybe a little more? I'm not going to, go ahead, raise your hands if you do.
If you don't, it's okay. Almost everybody. And here's the question God brought to my mind. What has occurred in American culture? What is the deception that has occurred where the peer pressure and the sociological aspects of why you would never think of leaving less than 15% that you don't have to on a table for a waitress or a waiter? And yet, about 2.7% of American Christians give even 10% of their income to God systematically. Now, think this through.
Think of how powerful our foe is. I'm not quite sure, but I don't think my life, my breath, I wasn't created by the waiter. They didn't create the food, they just served it. And yet, over here, the creator of the world who sent his son, who died for me, who raised from the dead, who covered my sin, who implanted his spirit within me, who has sealed me forever and ever, deposited spiritual gifts, and has commanded me to remember it all belongs to him who says a beginning point.
I mean, this isn't it. A beginning point would be a tithe and then learn proportionally as he blesses. And the average American believer, about 97% of them, are disobedient to this and yet obedient to that cultural norm. If in the illustration where I talked about our foe in the scouting report, if you had any sense in which this really doesn't apply to you, if there was any sense in your heart where you said, I'm not really greedy, but I bet there's some people that really need to hear this in this room, then the only thing I would ask you is, today, at this moment, are you more faithful to give 15% to a waiter or a waitress who serves food that they didn't create than you are to give a minimum amount of the first portion of, say, 10% or more to the God who created the food and you and purchased your salvation?
And if you look at your own life and say, I'm very consistent here, and it's a real hit and miss here, can I tell you something? That Philogoria has you by the neck. And the problem is not that this church or some church or ministry needs your money. The problem is, when I turn to the front page, it says that it is a lure. It says that it will plunge.
It'll say there's destruction. It'll say that you're in the process of wandering from the truth because according to Jesus, wherever your treasure is, that's where your heart really is. And the only way to address this is first to get your heart soft through becoming compassionate, and the second is by becoming generous. And of course, it's generosity in this way, but I think it's down to little things.
I think it's a lifestyle. I just tend to think about me. Sorry, I'm working through it, I'm growing, but I think about me. I was in the airport, you know, I had two hours, and I thought, well, I'll study a little bit, and I was kind of tired. I spoke about three or four times. And I was at this coffee shop, and this guy, it can't take this long to make a mocha, whoever this lady was in front of me. I mean, it's just like on and on. I just want a regular coffee, you know, I'm just standing there. And, you know, another guy came, and he waited and waited, and he got fed up, and he just left. And, you know, I'm just thinking, you know, and I'm tired, and so my impatience and my focus on me is rising and my lack of generosity, patience and understanding is diminishing. And I'm thinking, buddy, buddy, buddy, and, you know, I'm thinking it's not like the way I'd normally order coffee, so it's not going to be quite as good. So I finally get a cup, and then I go over, and, you know, sometimes how they have the cream real loose, so I just want to put a little in.
It goes, you know, ah, brother. Now it's not very strong, and it looks like white milk, and I take a sip, like, ah. You know, so I'm thinking to myself, you know, I pour a little out, but I'm thinking I can't pour too much out.
He may not fill it back up, because I don't know him like I know the guy at the corner. So I go over, and I say, hey, this is the phrase. I said, you think I could get a little grace? He said, what do you mean? I said, buddy, I put too much cream in.
If I, like, just dump some out, could you pour some more coffee in so it would turn the right color? And he said, yeah, I'll do that for you. And so he goes over, and he pours in and gets the right color, and as I got it, I just thought to myself, you know something, attitude change.
So I reached in my pocket, and I said, hey, here's a buck. I just want to tell you, um, it's so great to be people with people that have such a good attitude. And he went from this stoic pressure, everyone doing that, and from beam to beam, he grinned, and he goes, thanks, man.
I said, no, thanks, I really appreciate that. Two things, for a dollar's worth of generosity, for a dollar's worth of generosity, this guy's attitude changed, and I got a cup of coffee, and instead of my critical spirit, it was transformed to, well, you know, I feel pretty good about getting to bless that guy. Do you understand when we're speaking of greed and generosity, it's not just about money, and it's not this little compartment called the church, and what you give or not giving, it is about a complete mindset about how you live. And if you want contentment, you're gonna have to beat greed, and the only way you beat greed is you gotta develop personal compassion, you gotta care about people, and then you have to develop a generous spirit, and then third, you've got to develop a eternal perspective. You've got to begin to live in such a way as though you actually believe there's a heaven, and there's a hell, and there's certain good things that happen in heaven to people who live in a certain way, and that it's really wise to live life God's way. That's exactly what Paul's gonna say.
Follow along now in step three. He says, develop an eternal perspective, how? By understanding the inseparable relationship between our money and authentic worship. Now this is all throughout the scripture, but here's what you gotta get. Your money is here, worship is here, we tend to have money in this category and worship in this category, and God says that you can never separate them. Every financial decision you make ends up being a worship decision of some kind, and I gotta tell you as pastors, I need to apologize to you on behalf of all my other pastors, and I probably spent the first 10 or 12 years failing churches as well. Pastors don't talk about money. Jesus talked more about money than heaven and hell combined. Pastors don't talk about money, and so the average believer doesn't know the relationship between money and worship. All they've heard is now and then, we need some, and we'd like to visit your house and find out how much you can give us, and so money has been a bad word in the church. Money is about worship. There's a link between the two, and once you see that, I mean those are from the words of Jesus, and we've done a terrible, terrible job. The only time you hear money in church is about what you ought to give and some big need instead of this is what it means, here's how to be grateful, here's how to use it, here's how to align your family, here's how to protect your marriage, here's how to use money as a tool to develop your kids.
But how does this happen? Watch in this passage, this is an amazing thing. The apostle Paul is going to talk through and he's going to use financial and business terms to describe the gift that he gave them, and then watch how he'll put a twist on it at the end, and he'll say business, business, business, business, money, money, money, and then it's like worship, God, spiritual terms. Notice what he says.
He says, okay, I can do all things through Christ. It was good of you, I appreciate it. I mean even when I was in Thessalonica in that kind of wealthy place, you gave systematically, but I want you to know my motives. Not that I'm looking for the gift. This thank you note is not like the thing that you tear off on the bottom so you can give your next gift. Not that I'm looking for the gift, I'm looking for what may be credited to your account. The phrase credited to your account is an accounting term of debit and credits. He's saying I'm looking for what of the spiritual P and L statement in heaven, so that debits credits, I want you to know that this gift isn't about the gift that I got, I'm happy because in heaven it's getting accredited to your account. Notice what he says, I have received full payment.
The phrase means literally, it's like I've got the receipt in my hand. I've received in full payment and even more, I'm amply supplied. In other words, you know, Epaphroditus, when he gave, I got plenty of money, that's not the issue.
Now that I've received it from Epaphroditus, the gifts you send me, they are, now notice the shift. What happened to the financial gift? How does he describe the financial gift?
They are underline fragrant offering, underline an acceptable sacrifice, underline pleasing to God. You gave, the gift is accredited spiritually to your account and the literal phrase, when you did that, it was like a burnt offering, a fragrant, a sweet smell that went up into the nostrils of God. He looked at it not as money, but as a sacrifice unto him and it brought joy or pleasure to his heart. You see, the apostle Paul is teaching them and teaching us that an eternal perspective requires that you got to see this relationship between your finances and your money. And that when we give, it's an act of worship. And what we do with our money is an act of worship.
And God wants you to know that every financial decision you make becomes a spiritual decision. That sacrifices the heart. Don't you remember David in the threshing floor?
Remember that? Remember that time where he had sinned and he realized, hey, I've really blown it and he learned this is what I need to do. And he was at the place, the guy's name was Aruna. And God says, you know, offer an offering.
And so Aruna goes, hey, man, you're the king. You can take my oxen and I've got some wood and I'll pay for the whole deal. And remember what David said? Far be it from me that I would offer a sacrifice unto the Lord that costs me nothing. See, the Bible says that when I give my time, my energy, my talent, that there's a spiritual transaction occurs that accredits to me in heaven. And I've got to believe, I've got to come to believe that accumulating and getting and impressing and having now is not the end of the line. As long as I believe that lie, I will never, ever become a generous person. And therefore, I will never, ever beat greed. And therefore, I'll never be content.
The horizon will just keep moving. Now, a scouting report has two things, right? A scouting report tells you about the other team or the foe, their strengths, their weaknesses. But what does a good scouting report do?
It gives you recommendations. Hey, they run this kind of defense, you need to run this kind of offense. Or, hey, I tell you what, that girl, she dropped the last seven guys and this is the way you did it.
You say, hey, I'm not going to ask her out. And so Paul is now going to give some scouting recommendations. He's going to give four specific commands about how you can now, okay, you know how formidable the foe is.
Out of the same chapter, he's going to give four specific commands to start you on a journey so that you can beat the greed monster. And I think this is going to be a lifelong process for you and for me. And by the way, if you're sitting here thinking, if giving is the antidote to greed, and if this is going to release my heart, I'm going to have eternal perspective. And if your heart's kind of sinking and you're going, man, if this guy even had any idea how much debt I've gotten credit cards alone, plus I got a car on time. You could show pictures of kids with their bellies out to here until Jesus comes.
I can't give. Am I destined forever and ever to be out of God's will? I mean, I think the hook is not in my mouth. I think it's somewhere down into my internal intestines, you know? And it's got me, so how do I get out of this? You get out of it through a process that begins today. And by the way, you know what? I didn't grow up in the church. I'm a skeptic, and I ran into all kind of like what I call religious jerks.
And you may have had that, and you're sitting here thinking, yeah, right, I think this guy's conning me. Give it to world vision. But I mean, start being generous, but if you think our motives are wrong, it's okay, just give it somewhere. Here's the four commands.
They're very clean, very clear, very quick. Command number one, command those who are rich in this present world, that's us, not to be arrogant or put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, see, it's to protect you, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. Yes, we're to be sacrificial, but we're to enjoy what he's given us.
You can't enjoy it if you're always worried about the payments and error. So he says, first of all, it's a focus. Put your hope on God for contentment and fulfillment, not on stuff. Second, verse 18, command them to do good, is the second command, to be rich in good deeds, third command, and to be generous and willing to share. So he says, look, you need to get your focus on God, then you need to have a lifestyle of doing good instead of getting, and then you need good deeds, give away your time, and then he says be willing to share, give away your money and your possessions. So it's very general command, not hope on stuff, hope on God, do good, be a giver instead of a getter, then begin to share your time, good deeds, and then begin to share your stuff, be willing to share.
And then what I love is that he says if you do this, you're going to win the game, you'll beat the competitor. Look at the very last line, in this way they will lay up treasure, will you circle the phrase for themselves? We get this idea that oh, you know, we're just doing this for some day, some way, somehow. God wants us to learn to be generous because in eternity he says there's a forever and ever and ever and ever and ever, and you can increase the quality of that experience. He says in this way they'll lay up for themselves treasure as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that in this present life, here it is, they may take hold of the life that is truly life. What does life that's truly life kind of sound like? Does that sound like a life where relationships work, a life where you have it and God can tap you on the shoulder and you can give it or keep it? You have it and instead of telling everyone how you got it on sale and feeling guilty about it, you can say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I can't believe I get to live in a house like this. You've let me be generous, I don't have debt, I've done this. Lord, who am I that you'd be so good to me?
Life that is really life, a life without creditors calling, a life not believing the next thing or the biggest thing or the next style will fulfill, but a life that knows in plenty or in want I can do all things through Christ. I'd like you to ask the Lord a question as we close and the question I want you to ask Him is this, Father, will you show me the extent to which greed has infiltrated my heart and my life? And just sit quietly. Ask Him to help you be honest, the goal here is to help you. And then as you think about that, as you listen to His voice and then ask Him, Lord, will you show me just the first step?
Don't try and solve all your problems and all your debt and all. Just say, Lord, will you show me the first step to move toward developing a heart of compassion, a generous spirit of eternal perspective? He will speak, just ask Him. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and the message you just heard in Financial Uncertainty is from our series, I Choose Peace. Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. What are you anxious about right now?
What's causing you to lose sleep? Financial uncertainties? A tense relationship? The daily demands of life? Whatever is robbing you of your peace right now, there's an antidote. Through Chip's insightful teaching in Philippians chapter 4, we're going to learn about the peace of God which can restore, calm, and encourage our soul no matter what's happening around us. And to help you better understand that, during this series, we're offering every listener a copy of Chip's popular book, I Choose Peace, at no cost. We want to encourage you to completely lean on God and trust Him through the highs and lows of life. So to learn how to get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to livingontheedge.org or text peace to 74141. That's the word peace, P-E-A-C-E, to 74141.
Limit one book per customer while supplies last. Well, Chip wrapped up his message today by highlighting a few characteristics of a genuine follower of Jesus. A heart of compassion, a generous spirit, and an eternal perspective. So before we go any further, Chip's joined me in studio to share a quick word that goes right along with that idea. Chip?
Thanks so much, Dave. You may not know it, but there's about 8 billion people on the planet Earth, and almost one-third of them, 2.4 billion, call themselves Christians. And yet their research shows that only a tiny fraction of those people who call themselves Christians actually live in a way that produces what Jesus would call spiritual fruit. They haven't moved beyond spiritual empathy. In other words, they need help to grow and to mature. And at Living on the Edge, helping Christians live like Christians is the core purpose. In other words, it's why we exist.
We're convinced that God has called every single believer to mature, to become like Christ, to become the kind of parent, the kind of person, the kind of boss, the kind of employee that reflects the character and the life of the Lord Jesus. But people need help to do that, and maybe you're one of them. Maybe you're a person who's listened to the broadcast, or has done a Living on the Edge small group, or gone through daily discipleship. I mean, literally hundreds of thousands, millions of people have been through some of our material that's helped you mature. And what I would ask you is, would you be willing to pay it forward? Would you become a monthly partner? At a small amount, a medium amount, a big amount, if each one of us would just give some each month, it would allow us to help those spiritual babies grow to maturity, and then make a difference in their marriage, and then in their families, in their communities, and in their churches. And when that happens, God does a great work. I'd like to invite you to become a monthly partner with Living on the Edge.
Thanks, Chip. We believe helping Christians really live like Christians will radically change the world we're living in. So if you'd like to be a part of that mission, we'd love to have you join the team. To become a monthly partner, go to livingontheedge.org, or text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141.
Or visit livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate. Well, with that, here's Chip to share some application from today's message. As we close today, I want to be gentle, but here's the deal. We all struggle with greed, okay? It's the human condition. So resist the temptation that I'm talking to someone else, all right?
It's just you and me right now, and I'm talking to you. So let's take a deep breath and say, okay, God, would you please show me, show me personally where greed still has a hold in my life? Would you show me where my fingers need to let go and my heart needs to get soft?
God, will you show me, would you give me, would you grant me the courage to trust you? You know, we learn two specific steps that God has given us in this passage that allow us to say no to greed and create a generous spirit and compassionate heart. Step number one is compassion is cultivated when we put others' needs ahead of our wants.
What would it look like for you to do that today? And second, we really hit today as a generous spirit grows when we give away the very thing that can absolutely strangle our soul. I don't know how to say this to you, but unless you start giving your money away, let me encourage you to do something regular in some percentage, but give first to your local church. You need to begin to be that person that releases your money because you recognize it's not yours, it's God's. And as you begin to release your money, I will tell you, your heart will get softer and softer, your joy will be greater, and it will force you. It will literally force you to get priorities in line that will bless you for the rest of your life. Can I encourage you, just from my pastor's heart, there isn't a demand, there isn't a get with the program, this is for your good. Release your finances to the Lord, be compassionate, and you will find a God who will provide for every need.
Thanks, Chip. And as we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is. Now, if there's a way we can help, we'd love to do that. Give us a call at 888-333-6003, or connect with us at livingontheedge.org. And while you're there, take a moment and look through our resources on various topics, many of them absolutely free. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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