Friday, February 16

Family, Friends and Money

Here's my study #16 on finances.

Paul continues in Ephesians, giving areas that need to be put off and put on. Some of these relate directly to money, most indirectly. 

Passage: Eph. 4:29-32
29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Relationships and Money: It's a well-known maxim not to do business with friends or family because it will ruin your relationships. I've found that to be wise advice, but this passage makes me wonder if it is the money and business that ruins the relationships, or if it's that what is in our hearts comes out and hurts one another especially over money. These apply to every part of relationships, but they are excellent areas for us to pay attention to when dealing with money:

1) Words: When I'm doing business or talking about matters related to our budget or possessions, do I work hard to make sure my speech builds up my wife, my children, my friends, my business associates? Ellul has said money is opposed to grace. Do my words give grace, and thus attack the spirit of money?

2) Attitudes and emotions: Behind my words are the unseen--my heart. Again, in my dealings with money I need to check myself carefully for anger, malice, bitterness or wrangling. Instead, I need to ask God to fill me with his own heart: kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Money and possessions used with these attitudes can do great good for building up my family, friends, and indeed anyone I meet. Zacchaeus and the good Samaritan are great examples to me of using money with these attitudes.

Again, the new mind is to be "as God in Christ has . . ." This is a fantastic rubric or rule of thumb. I can keep asking myself, "How has God in Christ dealt with me?" That will help me know if I'm dealing with others in a godly way. And of course, I need to cry out to God for the help I need to live above the powers and even my own flesh and the way of this world. Praise the Lord that we are the Temple of God, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us: otherwise none of this would be possible. 

Lord, make me a person who builds up with my words relating to money and possessions. Make me someone full of compassion, kindness, and forgiveness rather than anger, bitterness, competition and malice, particularly in how I deal with finances and possessions.

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