Hey there men, it is good to be with you in this second podcast of Holy Man. I heard a few good things about the first one I did last week both the content and the discussion that followed in your life groups, so that was good to hear.
One thing I want to mention to everyone out there, as I had a question asked of me after last week’s podcast, is that I don’t want anyone to think that I have any of these topics that we will be considering each week as something I have all figured out. I am not perfect at any of them. Oh, there might be one or two of the topics that I do better than some of the other topics. But, every one of you listening could say the same thing. But, I look forward to the Holy Spirit’s continuing work on me and helping me, like you, to become more and more holy as God calls us to be in all of these areas.
Here is the deal…I know that living a holy life, or a life like God would want me to live, will be better. I also know, that this crazy world that we live in makes that holy life hard. Sin is easy to fall into. So, thanks be to God for that gift of the Holy Spirit that can bless us if we are willing.
So, here we are looking at another good topic for us men to ponder as we seek to become Holy Men and as we consider those areas of life in which we cannot control, but we potentially can influence in a God honoring way.
I was just watching the news a little this morning to stay on top of whats going on around the world. I was intrigued by one of the stories I saw on Fox Business that was an interview of a guy who works in an appliance and electronics store. The store reminded me of a Best Buy type store. I think many of us know what that looks like. What was the headline of the story? Get your Christmas shopping done early this year. Yep, its October 11th, and they are saying, getter done in regards to Xmas. Why were they suggesting it? Well, unless you have had your head in a bucket the last couple months, they were saying this because of the computer chip shortage, and also, inflation. If you are wanting any electronic device, shop now, they said, because they don’t know what the supply will look like at Christmas, and they couldn’t guarantee what the prices will look like in a couple months. Possibly, they said, Black Friday sales on electronics this year may not be what they have been in the past due to supply and demand.
That story plays right into what I want us to ponder this week in our journey to become who God created us to be.
So, going back to the foundation of our 8 week journey with control versus influence, here is our topic, First, the control part, and this is twofold this week. we can’t control prices of things, like that news story told me, and secondly, we cant control our need or desires or impulses to purchase things. but we can influence our family budget.
So, this conversation today will be looking into how we utilize God’s resources that he provides to us by allowing us to work at our jobs and make money.
We can’t control the prices of things out in the market, at least not directly. Ok, maybe with big ticket things like cars and houses, we might haggle on the price, but on a gallon of gas, or a loaf of bread, a new tv, a new rifle, we will pay whatever the market says it is. We cannot control the cost. And truthfully, even though we can haggle on the price of the big ticket things a little, lets face it, the market decides ultimately those prices as well.
And right now, like that news story was talking about, the costs of things are getting a little interesting out there.
But not having control over prices is not the only problem here. its also our love of purchasing things.
Why this topic? Well, because based on my talking with many men, most of us struggle with holding back on purchasing something fun out there. Each guy might be different on what that thing is, but we struggle. For some of you, its guns. You like buying guns. And if there is one you don’t have yet, you are interested. Others of you, it’s a new iphone. When a new one comes out, you are in line. Some men, its video games. Madden keeps making new games, and you keep buying. Some of you, its bigger ticket items, like boats, atvs, and pickups. you name the toy, and we are interested. Others, tools. Especially power tools. Each of us usually has some kind of toy we are interested in.
Some of you, in whatever your thing is, some of you struggle with your impulses. You cant control yourself. You see it, you buy it. Whether you can afford it or not, you buy it, because there is always a credit card handy. And even if you can afford it, when we buy it, it takes money out of the budget to potentially be utilized for something else.
Anyone out there get themselves into trouble in some way because of those impulses, or those temptations to purchase something. Sometimes, we don’t even make the purchase, but we are so fixated on it, that it still can causes issues in our relationships at home or work.
So, we cant control the prices of things. That would be nice, but we can’t. And we struggle to control our purchasing or the desires to purchase something. things are not free, and our budgets, at least for most of us, are not unlimited. And that desire to keep up with the Jones, or that so called American Dream of having it all, man, that is hard to fight. Especially when that credit card is in our wallet, or the bank is there willing to loan us the money.
Is purchasing things or obtaining things a sin? No, of course not. There is not one part of the Bible that would say that, But…is purchasing or obtaining things we don’t really need sinful? Hmmm…that’s a different question. It’s a good challenging question for us to ponder. Again, what if we don’t actually purchase it, but just really, really want it, and even obsess over it?l
There is a cool story of a dude that really struggled with this lack of control issue back in the book of Joshua, and his struggle lead to his demise. The Israelites were doing the battle of Jericho thing, and God was doing his thing of bringing the walls down for them. As part of it, God said, wipe them all out, and all the plunder, you know, all the stuff, goes into God’s treasury, to be later used for the Israelite people. Simple rules. But, a guy named Achan had some troubles with it. And it was found out. jumping into chapter 7, starting in verse 19 we pick of the story.
19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me.”
20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon,[d] 200 silver coins,[e] and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound.[f] I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.”
Ok, this is not apple for apple comparing what we are talking about, because Achan didn’t purchase the stuff, he took it from the Lord’s treasury. But notice what lead him to taking it. What did he say… “I wanted them so much…” Isn’t that what can get some of us into trouble?
Could that be coveting? I know that stealing is in God’s top ten of things not to do, but so is coveting. “Deauteronomy 5:21 reads you must not covet your neighbor’s wife, house, land, ox, donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. So, if someone else has something that you don’t, don’t covet it.” So, What is coveting?
To passionately desire another person’s stuff or to have what they have.
With Achan, it lead to a heap of trouble. His coveting lead to stealing, which lead to him and his family being stoned to death.
Now, that is an extreme story, but it is not the only place we hear this problem discussed.
Paul, talking to young Timothy says in 1 tim 6:9-10
9 People who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money and the stuff money can buy, is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
You know, I get this passage playing out in our lives. Personally, I got myself into some ruin and destruction, as Paul calls it, back when I was in my twentys. I was an engineer then, and single, and so I thought, I have money coming in, I want the dream life of cool stuff.
Buying my stero system on loan. Stupid.
It set me back. House, car, stereo, credit card debt. I was a poster child for Dave Ramsey of what not to do. Oh, and I was not able to give much at all to my local church. A few bucks here and there.
Ok, so, we cant control prices of things and make them all free, and we really struggle to control our desires to have what we want, when we want it.
So, here is where we ask God for help. How can we better influence our family’s finances no matter if we are single or we have a wife and kids???
in my opinion, it starts with us truly believing what David says in Psalm 24:1
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.”
If everything is Gods…how will we steward it? How have you done with the money God has allowed you to have? Anyone have a lump in their throat like I do? Cause I know that I have not brought glory to God with all my financial decisions. But am I better today with it than I used to be. Yeah. But I still struggle. As a matter a fact, just a week ago I was struggling big time. Well, its been a couple months actually.
I want a truck. A pickup truck. I have looked at several. Finally test drove one a week ago. Dang, it was nice. Its been 15 years since I owned a truck. Can I afford it. Yeah…kinda. If I didn’t have to get insurance on it. And if I didn’t have to fill it with gas. I could. But that insurance and gas things makes it real hard. Especially because I will be adding my oldest daughter to my insurance as soon as she is ready to take her test. And that won’t be a small price tag.
So, even though I could possibly swing it. Is it the smartest thing for me right now? Especially with all car and truck prices being high right now due to the shortage. And with gas prices going up. NO. Dang it.
I did think of an idea. What if I just went around to each of the car dealers, both new and used, and simply took trucks for a test drive any time I needed a truck to haul something. Think they would catch on?
So, knowing that we cant control prices, and many times, we cant control our urges or impulses when wanting that new toy, so, how do we allow the Holy Spirit to give us that self control, so that we don’t, as Paul stated earlier, plunge them into ruin and destruction?
Ok, I am going to leave you with a passage of wisdom to guide you into your pondering and your discussions with your Life groups. It’s a very practical passage that leads right into our hope of influencing our use of our checkbooks, our credit cards, our savings accounts and our debt. Not to mention any family we have that is walking the journey with us.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,
but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
First, do you believe what you have is actually God’s? Secondly, what is your plan for using what is Gods, that he has allowed you to have? Do you have a plan, a budget, a follow up plan to your budget? Do you have boundaries? Do you have accountability? If you are married, are you on the same path?
And finally, are you praying about your money and stuff? If we thank god for our money and stuff, might we better appreciate whose it really is, and who should guide us in using it? And the more you ask God for wisdom and guidance, the more you will potentially bring glory to God with it.
It’s a crazy financial world. Always has been, always will be.
Be holy Jesus tells us. How is that going with your money and stuff? See you next time guys.
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