Stay Rich – What Money Can’t Buy

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Let’s turn back to the passage we’ve looked at the last couple of weeks – 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

Today I want us to look at the final part of our instructions to the rich. Paul says that as we follow his instructions, by being rich in good deeds, generous and willing to serve, we not only layup treasures for the coming age but we ‘take hold of the life that is truly life’. That’s a profound statement! We saw last week that the more wealth we have, the more we begin to think that what we see is all there is. And so we begin to believe, ‘if only I could have some more money’, or ‘if only I could hit a certain number, then I’d be safe and secure’. But what we often don’t realize is this; that money isn’t wealth, it is only a tool that makes true wealth possible.

What do I mean by this? You see money is what makes it possible for us to acquire goods and services! But why do we want those goods and services? For example, why do you want to have a nice house, good food, health insurance, a powerful car, fashionable clothes, and vacations in exotic locations? It really is so we can have wellbeing – in other words a sense of joy, peace, safety, health, good relationships with those we love, enjoyment of life and the freedom to pursue meaningful work! Those are actually what we’re looking for when we desire more money. It’s sad when we get so caught up looking for money that we forget; it’s not money that’s important – if we had these things, this state of life, money would be irrelevant! This complete sense of wellness that we’re looking for is what the bible calls Shalom – which means peace, completeness, and welfare. In our passage, Paul calls it ‘the life that is truly life’.

So we chase money because we hope it will deliver this state of mind and life to us. But there’s no guarantee that we’ll have it even if we have money! Ultimately, shalom, or ‘life that is truly life’ can only come from God. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, ‘remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth’. The ability to produce wealth comes from God. And Ecclesiastes 5:19 says ‘When God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God’. In other words, it is God who gives the power to enjoy what we have! The minute I stop trusting in God and start trusting in my wealth (that God gave me in the first place!), then I find myself ruled by money and not enjoying ‘life that is truly life’. ‘What money can’t buy, God will supply!’

And that’s why we’ve been learning what we’ve been learning this last month. Paul is teaching the rich that when they are rich in doing good and being generous, they do three things; they break the power of money in their lives, they learn to become truly generous, they invest for eternity and finally, they start to experience God’s sense of wellbeing and favor – they begin to take hold of ‘life that is truly life’. That’s the key to enjoying life that is truly life!  ‘What money can’t buy, God will supply!’

So how do we grow in generosity? I think that for many of us, the first step is to desire to be generous. I believe some people have a gift of generosity – they give and give and give. I have friends like that and some of them come to this church. My wife Carol is like that! But for me, it came by understanding first of all that it’s God’s expectation of me. Paul says, command the rich to be generous. In the bible, the tithe was a command. When God’s people didn’t tithe, they were robbing God! The tithe was what declared dependence on God. We often like to quote the scripture that says, ‘God loves a cheerful giver’, but note it doesn’t say, ‘God loves a cheerful tither’. The tithe is like taxes – it is your obligation as a believer. When you pay tax, KRA doesn’t really care whether you’re cheerful or not! So I began tithing as a very new Christian because I understood the command. But with time, I also began to see the huge benefits of giving.

The first thing giving did was that it began to set me free from the love of money. Just like we said, I will not place my hope in riches but in the One who richly provides. I learnt how to trust in the provider, not the provision.

Secondly, I learnt how to live for things bigger than myself. When I give at Mavuno, I don’t give to an institution but to a vision. I’ve seen the hundreds of lives transformed, seen many engage in their purpose, seen prisoners find hope, seen marriages put together. I also believe that God has given the church in Africa everything it needs to carry out its mandate. All that He’s waiting for is for some generous African’s to get the ball rolling. And I want to be one of those!

Thirdly, giving taught me to be content.

Lastly, I began to understand that when we tithe, we experience God’s acceleration and protection. The book of Malachi says that when we tithe, He keeps the devourer from our crops and opens the floodgates of heaven over our farms. In other words he accelerates and protects our investments. I don’t have time to go into all the details and you can learn more about that in the book Financial Foundations. We’ve come to realize that 9/10ths with God is far greater than 10/10ths without him! That God is truly the one who gives us the ability to create wealth when we fully trust in Him. What money can’t buy God will supply!

So step 1 to grow in generosity is to desire to be generous. Some of you are hearing this for the first time and wondering, ‘how do I begin?’ Step 2 is to start wherever you are. Don’t wait until you have tons of money to start making a difference. Giving re-directs your heart and when your heart is right, everything you do financially is going to change. So make the radical decision to tithe and trust God. Some of us need to downgrade their lifestyle so you can have extra to give and invest. Change your eating habits and joints. There are cheaper options in town. There are cheaper places to do shopping (sunbeam, La Toi and Gikosh). Why not make the decision today about what you need to cut down on?

Don’t wait to get out of debt either; there’s a great story in Financial Fitness about a lady who came to Mavuno with a huge debt. When she realized how big a mess she had made with her finances, she decided to become a Christ follower and did Mizizi, where she found a ‘get-out-of-debt-plan’. One of the things she learnt there is ‘don’t rob God to pay your debts’! As she applied the principles she learnt, she not only retired her debt over the course of the next year but God blessed her business so that it thrived without debt. So start with baby steps – start where you are. And then step 3 is grow from there.  ‘What money can’t buy, God will supply!’

This last week, we saw an outpouring of generosity that is one of the best things about this nation. People lining up for hours to give blood. Asian family that made chapati’s and tea every morning for the soldiers and journalists…64M raised in 48 hours! Kenyans are generous! People who might not have had money but they had time, gave their time to ensure that those affected were cared for. I heard about a lady who used to make pilau and bring it to Uhuru Park and she didn’t care who ate, she gave to anyone who needed it … nobody knew who she was. Imagine if we could live that way everyday! If it didn’t take a tragedy to give that way … if we didn’t give because others were giving … If this could be our lifestyle! You ask how to Stay Rich according to the bible …. It only happens when you understand that ‘what money can’t buy, God will supply‘.

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2 Responses to “Stay Rich – What Money Can’t Buy”

  1. Pastor, I downloaded this sermon yesterday and watched it. I have thought about it from yesterday evening to today. To say I am disappointed in myself is an understatement. I have made wrong money decisions that have left me empty and in debt. I have performed dismally in giving. You have challenged me and I am starting from where I am. May God help me to become a faithful steward who trusts the provider. God bless you.

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  2. James Macharia Says:

    Thanks Pastor M. for such an awesome preaching and personal testimony of God’s provision. I have been really scared of starting out a couple of initiatives such as starting up a family, as I feel that I am unstable financially and in matters career, I am yet to achieve what I aspire-yet am among the top 10% of the people we classified in the last month’s series as rich, but from this sermon, I am learning to totally submit to Christ for my provision. I have often delayed paying my tithes and pledges till the late 20 something every month, when l am sure I can manage to the end of the month after paying my tithes. I know realize these are like my other monthly bills and must be paid . No more feeling like I am doing God a favour by paying them. This sermon as hard hitting as it was,challenged my faith totally. I have now to increase my generosity as well and stop relying on the money I have for the provision of what I need.

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