June 1, 2018

Are you managing your money or does your money manage you? What would happen if we intentionally took control of how we spend our money? Today, I want to look at the issue of how we spend our money by looking at Hebrews 13:5-6.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” 

Isn’t it interesting that the words shared with the early church more than 2000 years ago covers a topic that we all continue to struggle with, today? As Christians, we want to know, “How do we use our money so that we live well and also live the values of our faith?” Let me share three ideas we can gain from this passage.

#1 Be content with what you have

The author of the letter to the Hebrews urges them to be content with what they have. I don’t think the author is putting down initiative or saying it’s wrong to dream. I also don’t believe it is wrong to work hard or set goals, but I think the true message the author is conveying to us is to find contentment in the present moment. Don’t fall for the thought that happiness is off in the near or distant future when some specific goal is obtained. Of course, contentment goes against current cultural norms.  We are content until the next new thing comes along and then we become dissatisfied. 

Author Dan Buettner is famous for his book Blue Zones where he studied happiness, etc. In his book, “Thrive,” he states:

“The second force that suddenly keeps us from thriving is the distracting nature of contemporary life. Each day the average American is bombarded by 250 marketing messages encouraging us to eat things that aren’t good for us and to buy things we don’t need online social networks and the ever increasing amount of time we spend watching TV have conspired to keep us in front of flickering screens instead of interacting face to face with people. Perhaps the most compelling statistic to come out of recent happiness research is the fact that during the past 35 years Americans have worked to increase our income by 20% and the size of our houses have more than doubled since 1950 but we’ve become no more happy as a nation. As worldwide research shows individuals who thrive tend to produce enough money to cover their basic needs but rather than striving for more cash they focus their time and energy on developing a caring group of friends working at meaningful jobs engaging in enriching habits staying in reasonable shape volunteering and belonging to faith based communities. It sounds so easy he said but you have to decide to do it.” 

#2: The Lord is your helper

Secondly the author to the Hebrews is trying to remind us that our security and peace do not come from our bank account, but instead from our faith in the Lord. We are called to focus on the Lord as our helper, but sometimes we get distracted. We live in a world full of distractions that cause us to forget to focus on Christ the Lord, our helper; to put our trust in Him.

It is interesting that the author to the Hebrews chose the quote, “The Lord is my helper I will not be afraid what can man do to me” because it comes from the 118th Psalm. The 118th Psalm is a part of what’s called the Haalel. The Haalel is five Psalms 113-118, used by the Jewish faith during Passover each year. Passover is a time when Jews celebrate how God freed them from captivity into a new life. When you talk about being set free from captivity and being given a new life, you look at the Haalel. Psalm 118 says, the lord is my helper I will not be afraid what can man do to me. The author of the Hebrews is trying to say if you focus on the Lord he sets you free from captivity from worry fear the love of money so that you can be content in the moment; he is the one you count on. 

#3 Live in the moment

Third, I believe that when you stay focused on Christ, the one who is your helper and you make a conscious decision to be content with what you have, you will begin to discover that in this present moment you have everything you need to be content. You already have it! And yet, it is so easy to get distracted and forget the truth that the Lord will not fail you nor forsake you; the Lord is your helper, right now.

You and I forget to enjoy the moment because we’re so afraid and worried about the future. You have been given the gift of this moment. Stay focused on Christ, be content with what you have and  I believe you will discover that you have all that you need in order to live life fully right now to love it and live it as you do.