Stay Rich – Next Level Investments

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What’s one thing you spent money on and really regretted?

So far we’ve learnt that increasing wealth leads to the migration of hope for most people from God to money. To free ourselves from hope-migration, we must make a freedom declaration: ‘I will not place my hope in riches, but in the One who richly provides.’ Then we learnt that the way to avoid hope-migration is by pre-deciding to do more and to give more. Because it’s not the amount I give away but the percentage that counts.

 We continue to look at Paul’s instructions for rich Christians. So let’s turn back to the passage we’ve looked at the last couple of weeks – 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Today we’re going to learn about not ordinary investments, but Next Level Investments.

‘Command those who are rich in this present world’… now if you were reading carefully, you would stop there and ask ‘what do you mean ‘rich in this present world’? What other world is there? Why not just say, ‘command those who are rich’? But then we go down to v.29 and see the reason why Paul deliberately uses this phrase. ‘In this way [in other words by being rich in doing good and generously willing to share] they will lay up treasure for themselves in the coming age.’

Clearly, Paul believes that there’s more to this life than what we see with the naked eye. There is another dimension if you will. Paul calls it ‘the coming age’. And everything he has been saying to rich people so far relates specifically to that dimension.

This ‘coming age’ operates differently from what we’re used to. In the natural world, if I give what I have, I’m left with less. But in ‘the coming age’, when I give what I have to advance God’s kingdom or to help others, I am actually investing/creating wealth! I know – I told you – this is next level investing!

Paul is talking about something that Jesus taught often: That money and wealth give you an eternal opportunity. How we use our wealth does not determine where we go when we die. That comes because of our decision to submit our lives to God and enter relationship with Him. But how we use our wealth will have a significant effect on the quality of life beyond the grave. That’s why Paul tells Timothy, ‘tell those rich people that wealth creates eternal opportunity! And if you choose to use the extra opportunity you have to richly do good and be generous, then you are setting yourself up for a good life once this life is over.

Now this is mind boggling – you see we get so caught up with what we see; with the toys and trinkets and status games in the world around us that it’s easy to miss the fact that there’s an ultimate reality beyond our present reality. Especially as we increase in wealth! Jesus constantly connected money to eternity; There’s a great story about how one day he was with His disciples and an argument broke out in the crowd. Someone was accusing his brother of being greedy and not giving him his share of their father’s inheritance. So he asked Jesus to come and arbitrate between them. But instead of giving a direct answer and telling him what to do, Jesus did what he often did, which was to share a story… a story that’s very relevant for rich people! Luke 12:16-21

In other words, this brother is already loaded but now his business does even better so his net worth shoots up even more. He’s probably thinking:

‘What can I do – oh? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest. Tsk! Here’s what I’ll do: I go tear down my granary and build many bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my fufu and jollof rice, and I’ll say to myself, “Self, you’ve done so well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!”’

Wow… How do you feel when your friend who’s already far richer than you becomes even richer? I know, you’re jealous! You’re saying, ‘why him? Why not me?’ You see in the biblical culture just like today, they assumed that if you were rich, it’s because you were blessed by God, and if you were poor, it’s because God was displeased with you. So by this point in the story everybody’s going ‘wow, what a blessed man!’ ‘What a great model for our children! What a good example of financial management!’

But Jesus’s next line took everyone by surprise – “Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! So hold on a minute, why did you just call him a fool? I thought we just said this guy was responsible. He has a great business! He has a fat savings account! Why did you call him a fool? Or more importantly, why would God call him a fool? Then God went on to say… “Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’ 

This man attained great wealth. We’re not told he stole the money, he had a legitimate business and his business flourished. Is it a sin to have a business that flourishes? Absolutely not! Many of you should pursue a business that flourishes. He was preparing for retirement. Is it a sin to prepare for retirement? Absolutely not! You should be prepared! But here’s the problem; While the rich man was congratulating himself on his great plans, God knew something he didn’t know; It was his day to die! What would your response have been if you were the rich man? You’d probably have said, ‘Wait, this can’t be fair! Look how much money I’ve made! Surely, I deserve more time to enjoy it!

But unfortunately, the rich man had made a fatal assumption. His assumption was ‘it’s all about me!’ i.e. ‘If it came to me, it must be for me’. The deadly assumption that we often make is that everything that’s placed in our hands is for our consumption.

Now this is a really important insight. Jesus is crystal clear about this and I don’t want you to miss it. As you read the bible, it’s clear that wealth gives us eternal opportunity. But get this; you don’t get credit for what you leave; you only get credit for what you give! You don’t get credit for what you leave behind, the wealthy man, he died and left everything still in his barns… we only get credit for what we give. And here’s why, because everybody leaves the same amount when they die, which is EVERYTHING! 100% So of course there’s no credit in the kingdom of God for what we leave because everybody leaves everything.

By this point in the story, as you can imagine, the audience is disturbed; Jesus has messed up with all their paradigms about wealth; who God blesses and who God doesn’t bless. But he’s not done! In v.21, he emphasizes the main point of the story to his audience, “That’s what happens [in other words, total loss of opportunity to do something important with what you have before your time runs out] when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.” Or as another version puts it, ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God’.

Now let me remind you that this is NOT AN ANTI SAVINGS TEXT. God isn’t saying don’t have savings, or don’t have investments or don’t build wealth. In fact in the book ‘Financial Fitness’ there’s a whole segment about how to build wealth through savings and investment. But Jesus is saying that if all you’re doing is building wealth, then you’re setting yourself up for ultimate failure! You’re making the deadly assumption that everything that’s placed in your hands is for your consumption. But remember, you don’t get credit for what you leave; you only get credit for what you give!

I suspect this is one of the reasons Jesus talked about money so much. Because he knew that the chief competition in your heart is not God vs. Satan but God vs. Money! I suspect you know very few if any among your friends who lost their faith in God or backslid because they became active devil worshipers. But I suspect you probably know quite a few people who have lost their faith as they grew wealthier! That’s why Jesus taught in Matthew 6:20; ‘store up treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’. Jesus says where your treasure is, your heart is. The only way to not serve wealth is to use your wealth to serve God and others.

One thing this story reminds us is that the right use of wealth is to prepare for eternity. That’s what I mean by next level investing! Investing in things that outlive you, in things that really count. This week as we discussed this at my Life Group, we realized that all of us have multiple opportunities to be rich towards God. One of us decided to start speaking to young high school boys in a high school in his shags, showing them how to succeed as men. Another one who’s a teacher realized that she can do teacher training for the schools in her shags that have very poor quality of teaching. It dawned on us that the people who make a difference in the world don’t wait until the day it’s convenient for them. They serve and bless others even when it is not convenient! So how can you begin, even now when it’s not convenient, to be rich towards God?

The only way to be rich toward God, the only way not to fall into the deadly assumption of thinking ‘if it’s placed in my hands it’s for my consumption’ is to come up with a concrete plan of action. Now many of you have a savings plan, and that’s really good. All of you have a spending plan (or is it habit?) The question is, do you have a giving plan? If you don’t you’re going to give like most Kenyans; you’ll be a 3S giver: You’re going to give SpontaneouslySporadically and Sparingly – we talked about some of that last week…

Your giving will be spontaneous i.e. you see a street child and you feel guilty, or you hear about a children’s home and you get emotional. It’s going to be sporadic, not regular but here and there whenever you remember or it’s convenient. And it’s going to be sparing; You’re going to feel like you’re generous because you’re forking out 1000/- here and 10,000/- there but it’s not really going to be any significant percentage of your income because you haven’t really thought it through. I don’t want you to be a 3S giver and miss an opportunity to be rich toward God.

So instead, I want to challenge you to be a 3P giver. Three different words: Priority i.e. when you get money you always give some away before you spend it. Percentage – means you’ve pre-decided how much you’re going to give away, you don’t discover how much to give when you’re faced with a need. And a Progressive giver is really what we’ve been talking about – the idea that those of us who have more than the average person should increasingly give a higher percentage. For some, giving 10% of their income is an absolute sacrifice; for others, 10% is not sacrificial. It’s not even generous! And so the challenge is to grow in your giving. God isn’t blessing you with wealth so that you can leave it in a bank account. Remember, we don’t get credit for what we leave; we only get credit for what we give. We must use our wealth as an opportunity to impact eternity.

Sigmund Freud, the famous neurologist and psychologist, once told the story of a sailor who was shipwrecked on one of the South Sea Islands. When the natives found him they lifted him to their shoulders and marched triumphantly into their village. The sailor feared that he was to be their main dish for dinner that night. But to his astonishment they put him on a throne, put a crown on his head, and proclaimed him as their king.  He was the absolute ruler. Whatever he wanted, he got! He greatly enjoyed his new station in life, but after awhile being a suspicious fellow, he began to wonder if it wasn’t too good to be true. So, he discreetly asked some questions, and he found that it was their custom once each year to appoint one man as king for a year. He also learned that at the end of his year, the king was banished to an island where he would starve to death. Of course the sailor did not like that too much, but being a resourceful man, he put his mind to work and he hit upon a marvelous solution. Since he was king, his orders were obeyed so he put the natives to building boats. When they had enough boats, he started transplanting fruit trees to the island where he was to be sent. He had the carpenters go there and build comfortable houses.  He set the farmers to clearing the land and planting crops. So when his kingship was over he had a place of abundance to which to go!

And that’s similar to what Paul is saying to us, going back to our original passage, “in this way [by being above average in generosity and doing good] we lay up treasures for ourselves as a firm foundation for the age to come.

As we conclude our series, we want to answer some of your questions from this series so please send them in – via our facebook page or as a comment below.

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9 Responses to “Stay Rich – Next Level Investments”

  1. desperately seeking contentment Says:

    Hi Pastor M,
    This series is exactly what i need in my particular phase of life. I have for a very loooong time realized that i trust the provision ie chums and not the provider. In fact it was so bad that my daughter knew when i was paid because i would get into high spirits, singing and whistling- my mood was controlled by money. I am now seeking to be content with what God gives me. I pray for the day when i will be happy whether i have ksh 20 or kshs 20 million in my pocket because i need to trust God that whatever i have at that time will be enough to do what needs to be done. So i do not need to depressed when i have 20 bob or ecstatic coz i have 20m but instead be thankful to the provider. The million dollar question (no pun intended) is how do i learn to be content no matter what the circumstances are ( like Paul in Phil 4: 11-12). I desperately need to know

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    • We thank God for his word that is illuminating your heart and setting you free. Your desire to know how to trust in God for all your needs is from a truthful heart and God will answer it. He says that those who turn to Him he will never turn away. One way that i think you can start learning how to trust God is just what we have been learning this month: GIVE! Giving when you have the last coin in your pocket may seem like a small step, but in reality it is an expression that you trust God to provide for you. So start by giving. If you have been giving increase your giving-the percentage. Pray and ask God to lead you to places and people that you can give to-not sporadically or spontaneously but in a planned way. You can start working out the percentages that you will give as tithe and other causes so that come at the end of the month (if you are salaried) you begin implementing that. Paul says that he has LEARNT to be content, and i believe that giving progressively and trusting God to meet all our needs is a step by step learning on how to be content in God. Praying with you in this regard.

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  2. Nehemiah realized that the walls around Jerusalem were broken and the gates had been burned down. Esther too realized that she had been called for ‘such a time as this’. It is by no surprise that we too have been called for such a time as this to stand in the gap on behalf of the church of Christ, for our families and the nation. May the Holy Spirit open our spiritual eyes to discern our spiritual time and season.

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  3. i kept on saying money wasn’t everything till i saw my partner near death from stress from loosing a lot of money,it was at this point that i prayed that God may show him the way. i have learnt that i need to give richly not for my immediate future but for my after life. i am putting my priorities in check and i was a shopaholic buying things to fill a void but am slowly recovering. thank you pastor M.

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  4. Wasn’t in Church on Sunday but finally I have gotten to listen to the sermon… Definitely this series was for me and I do want to be a next level investor…

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  5. Hi pastor M,

    Question: Do all blessings come from God?
    and if soo, what about the rich millionaires who don’t believe in God or have no concern for Him yet they are constantly thriving financially.
    Are their financial blessings also from God?

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    • @ Angel: Indeed this is an age-old question that has disturbed the souls of men, mighty and ordinary alike. David, Jeremiah, Job, Asaph and other great men of the past years grappled with the same question. Why do the wicked succeed? The confessions of the Bible concerning the inheritance of the righteous seem to contradict the state that most of us who believe find ourselves in. There are a lot of perspectives that could come out of it, but to mention a few and then forward some links where you can get some more insights on the same. The Bible says that God is a just God: he causes his sun to shine on both the righteous and wicked (Matthew 5:45). So God will bless us all with gifts, talents, opportunities which we are to use for his glory. Some use their God given blessings to serve God; others choose not to serve God. That is a choice we make, and as with every choices there are consequences. People may use unorthodox, corrupt means to get rich. God will not strike them dead at that moment, because God’s desire is “that every man will come to his knowledge”. This is how God dealt with us while we were still sinners. So they may get rich, and God will allow it; but is that the end of it? There are many scriptures on why the wicked prosper, and the answer that God gives. Please read Jeremiah 12:1, Habakkuk 1:13, Psalm 73 etc. I found this link to be interesting, its a detailed breakdown of Psalm 73 in context, and gives the assurance

      “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

      Here: http://www.thechristiansentinel.com/2008/06/why-do-the-wicked-prosper/

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  6. Hi Pastor M,

    After the last Sunday’s sermon (15/09/2013), our LG had a very lively discussion (read arguement) about giving, and out of that, these are my main questions:
    1. For church offerings, must it be that I physically carry money for the service, or can I do one cheque or bank transfer to cover the offering for a month? The arguement was that giving is praising God, and you cannot come to God’s altar empty handed.
    2. Does the giving of my time/talent also equal giving money, especially in situations where money is not forthcoming e.g. by serving in various ministries or volunteering for events.
    3. When deciding what to give, what is yours suggestion on the percentage to start with (based on say, 100,000 gross salary).
    Also, using the same example, how much should we give to the church, and how much to charity/family? (I know different circumstances dictate how much to give to whom, but I just need a starting point, then can adjust accordingly).

    Thanks,
    Wambui.

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  7. Dear Pastor M,
    My question with regards to giving is in the area of tithe.This has been a question that I have asked several people and everyone seems to have their own interpretation based on what they feel convicted on.When it comes to tithing, i have talked to several people who say that tithe is supposed to be 10% of the net salary(because this is actually what we receive-Physical cash in the bank) and others say tithe is based on 10% of the gross salary and others say they tithe the amount that is less their tax.
    I wonder what your take on this is with regards to ‘stealing from God’.I believe it is a thin line
    Kindly shed some light on this.
    Thanks

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