As I finished delivering the message from Matthew 6:19-24 last Sunday about money, I felt a number of things.
First, a bit warm, so thank you to everyone who hung in with me! You are rock stars amidst the blazing summer heat of Chico and our very large building’s challenges with cooling down.
More importantly though, there was a huge sense of what I would call gravitas, a Latin word that means serious or solemn. The gravitas I felt is my belief that when it comes to our relationship with our finances, it is critical for us to really go after Jesus - and now is the time. Whether you have a lot or are struggling to make ends meet, being enslaved to the “master” of money is a really hard way to live. Money is a fickle master. A tyrant. And a distraction to the life we are called to live as followers of Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could live your life in complete peace and trust in the area of finances?
Not worried about your future, Not enslaved to the balance in your bank account. Not panicking every time the unexpected bill comes because you know you are in His hands.
My sense is that as a church, individually and collectively, God is calling us to go deeper.
He is calling us to model the incredible gift of walking with Him to a watching world. I know God wants that for every believer, but I believe He is calling Neighborhood Church to a new season, one in which every person attending takes up the challenge to embrace transformation. It isn’t just about money, but money is so central to who we are and how we function that it serves as a great barometer of our heart. Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be.
I said in my sermon on Sunday, which you can watch or listen to on our podcast if you missed church, what others this summer have also said:
Transformation happens in the presence of Jesus.
Sunday mornings are great and super important for coming together corporately to worship. But if you aren’t spending time with Him on your own, you are limiting your opportunity to become who He has destined you to become. He wants to remind you every day who HE is and who YOU are. He wants to speak truth and weed out the lies you have believed and that continue to wreak havoc in your life. He is deeply committed to the process of molding and shaping and changing you to look more like Him - moment by moment, day by day. But if you don’t show up, your path of growth will be slow and discouraging.
And so, I want to invite you to embrace the journey.
Be with Jesus. Study what He has to say about finances and your heart. Be still in His presence and invite the Holy Spirit to speak and teach. Remember the times He has met you in ways that still cause you to say “wow, now that was a season.” It doesn’t always mean the quick rescue. Sometimes it looks like Him sustaining you through a longer challenge and when you look back you think, “I don’t know to this day how we came through that, but we did.”
If you need to live on the stories of others, I’ve got a list I didn’t have time to share on Sunday!
Remember that His heart for you is FREEDOM!
He wants you to be mastered only by Himself. While money is a tyrannical master, Jesus is madly in love with you and wants you to know the joy, peace, hope, forgiveness etc. that He offers. He wants to show you where He was at work in the hardest seasons of your life. He wants to show you more and more of the good works that He created for you to walk in as the days unfold. The good works that will bring you great joy and bring Him great glory.
Risk being ruthlessly honest with where you are. He already knows.
It’s okay if you feel deeply convicted. In fact, a deep conviction of sin is evidence of His great love for you, so while it might feel rotten, it’s a reason to celebrate! Remember it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, and until we see our sin and where we’ve gone sideways, we can’t truly repent.
Finally, you can forgive yourself for not being where you wish you were, because the second you repent, He forgives you.
You can take steps day-by-day to yield your life, your bank account, your future into His hands, and when you grasp for it back, confess, repent and refocus your gaze on the One who loves you the most. The One who bought you with a price. The only One who is worthy of your worship.
In the words again of the old hymn we closed with on Sunday:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Blessings on your week church family!