Very few people on this planet don't have money issues at one time or another. How 'bout you? Jesus has a lot to say about money, worry, and the desire to have enough of the things we need to live life comfortably. Join Sharon and Nicole as they talk about worry, money, and all the things that keep us from a life of trust and peace. Thanks for joining us and please share our podcast with others if you have enjoyed it.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome friend. It’s time to hit pause on your busy day and enjoy the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Let’s ponder God’s Word together and find the encouragement we need to work well and rest well. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to episode twenty-one of the Sweet Selah moments podcast. Today’s episode is called Money Problems and Other Big Worries. Oh, money problems. I am sure almost everyone can relate to facing the occasional money problem or two or three. Sharon, is there ever a time when there aren’t money problems? Seems to me that most of us have to make multiple money decisions every day, at least most days. And there’s lots of advice out there on how to spend and how to save and how to give our money. I think we all need this topic.
Hey Nicole. Yes, I do believe we do. And really whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in the middle money can be a problem. If you have a lot of it, you need to choose how to spend and invest wisely. Especially as a Christian, how much do you give? What luxuries are okay for you and which ones are not pleasing to God? If you have too little money, you can feel despair. And the very real temptation to cheat in some way to get enough to make your ends meet and feed your family. It actually reminds me of a proverb. The writer is a guy named Agur son of Jakeh in Proverbs thirty; eight and nine. And this is what he says: first help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs for if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, who is the Lord? And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s Holy name. I just love it.
That’s really good.
Oh, Agur you’re exactly right.
Yeah, those are wise words.
Wow, yeah. But you know Nicole, even if you have just enough, there can be problems. I feel like I’m in that middle category. I’m not worrying about whether to buy a luxury yacht.
Right. No, not you?
You’re not either?
No, no, not yet.
But I’m also not worrying about where my next meal comes from. We absolutely have more than enough in terms of food and clothing and a roof over our heads. But we do have to make decisions about where our money goes, because we don’t have an unlimited amount of it.
For example, Mary, our youngest daughter and family are living overseas and we want to visit them.
It costs money to fly overseas, but we also need a new roof on our house within the next five years. So what do we save for? Do we visit the grandkids? Do we stay home and save for a roof?
Grandkids, Nicole, just saying. But, that’s what I mean. There’s always a money dilemma that we have to work on. Where do we spend it? Money problems happen. We have to work through them, but they don’t have to overwhelm or paralyze us. Do they?
They don’t. But I feel like we can let them pretty quick if we’re not careful. Yeah, Josh and I often go back and forth on whether I should work outside the home again, to help out financially. But then we would have to pay for childcare and all those conveniences and meals needed to help keep us going if I’m not home making meals and keeping the house clean. So it’s not always a clear and simple answer.
It is not, which of course helps in the ‘going to God frequently’ department.
It certainly does.
Which is where he wants us. Well, let’s dive in to what Jesus has to say about money and other life worries. It’s one of my favorite sections of his incredible Sermon on the Mount. You know, I can see it in my imagination, people sitting and looking up at Jesus in that little mountain place that’s, you know, got the good sound quality for him as he teaches, they’re drinking in each word. God in flesh spoke these words, teaching his creations. Wow. Just, wow. I mean, sometimes I’m just like, ‘Oh, Sermon on the Mount’. This was God’s words to us spoken through Jesus Christ. It’s awesome.
It really is.
Yeah. So let’s read it in that vein for our Sweet Selah moment and you can start and we’ll just go back and forth.
All right. So Matthew six, 19 through 34, ‘don’t store up treasures here on earth where moths eat them and rust destroys them. And where thieves break in and steal’.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal.
Wherever your treasure is there the desires of your heart will also be.
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light.
But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is.
No one can serve two masters for you will hate one and love the other. You will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life. Whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns for your heavenly father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable to him than they are.
Can all your worries, add a single moment to your life
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing.
Yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
And if God cares so wonderfully for wild flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things saying, what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?
These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously. And he will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Oh my goodness. I almost want to go back and just read it again. Like this is such a rich passage.
I know. Three or four times.
Yeah. It might be a better podcast as well. It’s so full of goodness and wisdom and reassurance. Let’s start with our favorite verses Nicole.
You go first. What are a couple of your favorite verses?
Well I struggle with anxiety and I’m a planner and like to try to control things. So all the verses that speak about worrying, there’s quite a few in here, really, really speak to my heart. Verse 27 is, ‘can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’
Why God. Why am I getting into this frenzy? You’ve got this. And just about the clothing and the dressing of the lilies and how he cares about us and our clothing. I just, I love clothes. So I love that part. It’s just seems like a silly thing to love clothing and fashion, but God mentions it here. Like he cares about all of the things. Even our clothes, making sure, obviously we have enough first. I don’t think fashion is his priority.
No. But he does care.
He cares that I worry about clothing. He just shows that he loves, he cares about all the little details in our life. And I love that.
I do too. And when you think of birds, for example, in the different colors that he’s put on them,
Oh, some of them are beautiful.
And their vibrancy, and the variety, God does care about clothing. He clothes lilies and he clothes, birds, and he clothes them beautifully.
So I love, I agree with you, I love that he says even those little things, they’re important to me. I think that’s so beautiful.
It’s very comforting.
One of my favorites is the treasure storing at the beginning. Don’t store up treasures here on earth where moth eat them and rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal. Store in heaven. And I love the thought that I need to be very aware that anything I buy, anything that I possess is going to rust. It’s going to fade. There’s going to be stains on it. That’s one reason I do not buy super expensive clothing because I’m awful with stains. And whether I bought it at Walmart or at Talbot’s I’ll ruin it.
Right, it’s still going to stain.
Yeah, exactly. So, it’s a really good reminder that a lot of things that we, that we put too much emphasis on don’t last, they really don’t, you know, and you know, they always say that, but you can’t take it with you.
When you die. You just can’t. So I love those verses. And I also love the reminder that today’s trouble is enough for today.
Yes, it is.
Plenty. Don’t add anymore. It’s not going to help you. Don’t worry about tomorrow.
Yeah. And you know, it would be so fun. I don’t know if, when we get to heaven, we could watch, not a video. That’s sounds so funny, ‘could we watch a video in heaven’? But if we could see Jesus give the Sermon on the Mount, did he laugh at that part? Did he wink? You know, ‘you’ve got enough worries for today. Why are you going into tomorrow?’ I wish I knew how he said it. I really do, because it’s such a clever thing to say and such a wise thing to say.
It just shows how well he knows us. We don’t often verbalize those things, but he points out so many things that we worry about that we don’t even consciously notice sometimes.
Yes, he does.
He knows us inside and out. And I love that. He points out, ‘don’t worry about tomorrow. I know you are’.
I know you are; get your mind back in today.
And again, worry does no good.
And so what does our God tell us? Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
His commands are for our good. I feel like this is the theme song in the Sermon on the Mount series we’re doing this time. They’re for our good. So anyways, well, I kind of pulled out some guiding principles on this. So, the first one that I found is the money one. Number one, you can’t serve money and God. Jesus is really clear about this. You can’t. So Nicole, what would serving money look like do you think?
I think we talked about the rich or the poor thing, but I think if you’re devoting all of your time and energy into gaining more and more money, that seems like you’re serving money. Or even if you’re at the poor end and you’re letting the worry about the lack of money take over your life and consume your thoughts. It feels like that makes you kind of a servant to money.
Yes, I agree. And I think that’s an important point for life in general. God wants no idols, nothing before him and the worry of money or the love of money, if it’s elevated in our thought life and in the way we spend our time, you know, forget serving others, I just need to make more money till I feel safe, until my savings account is at an amount that I feel comfortable with? We’ve elevated it above God and he will have no other gods before him period. So, you know, it’s just the way it is. I can remember being really struck by the thought that a financial advisor gave Ray and I early on where he said, you have to pay yourself first. I guess it’s a common financial thing to say, you know, to always save. I’m thinking that just does not sound biblical.
It doesn’t sit right.
It really doesn’t. First, I pay God. I do my giving.
Who gave me all the things I have anyway.
Right. So if you have that mentality where ‘I’ve got to take care of myself first’, we’ve elevated it and you can’t serve, you cannot serve God, unless he’s first. He doesn’t share his glory. No, he doesn’t not even with money. All right. So we’ve kind of solved that problem.
There we go.
Let’s move onto the next principle. Okay. So principle, number one, you can’t serve money and God. Principle number two, life is more than stuff. I mean, I would try to think of a more profound word than stuff but I feel like stuff fits. It’s really what it is, it’s stuff. When Mary, our daughter and four grandchildren moved into our house for 13 months, well, her husband was in Afghanistan. We had to do some pre-cleaning like you would not believe. The stuff that normally happens when you die and your kids have to do it.
My kids are so lucky I’ve done it.
We are ahead of the game,
We sure are. We got this huge-o dumpster. And I’m ashamed to tell you that we filled it to overflowing. I said to Ray, was that basement just a giant wastebasket that we just forgot to throw it all out? What in the world…?
Why were we saving this?
I know. I had sheets that have really pretty daisies on them that had worn through. But my friend Julie gave them to us for our wedding.
They were special.
Yes. Why was I saving hole-y, not holy, sheets? Every single picture in a frame we ever had any of our children or my parents, or Mary’s old boyfriend.
Oh, how funny.
It was in my basement. Oh, for crying out loud. So anyways, we had to get rid of it or there would have been no room to put real people in. And we certainly weren’t going to say, no, we have too much stuff.
That we never look at and are not even aware it’s in our basement. So we made the space for them all. And I really feel like the foundation of our home thanked us. I feel like it lifted because the weight that it was under from all that junk was just ridiculous.
Oh my goodness.
And I can’t even remember much of what I threw away other than those categories, I haven’t missed anything.
Oh, that’s nice.
And what I gained was memory making with my four grandchildren in my home, putting them to bed at night and seeing their sleepy little faces in the morning because I got rid of that stuff.
Oh my goodness. Stuff is just so not worth it.
What are your thoughts on accumulating stuff Nicole? You’re probably still in the accumulating years?
Well, yeah, I kind of do the same thing. I keep everything anyone ever gave me thinking that we might need it or that it could save us money. My big thing is girls clothing. I have four daughters and everyone gives us bags and bags at times, of clothes. And it’s a blessing, but I had 10 bins of girl’s clothes at one point. Ten bins and every season I would pull them out. And it would take me a week to sort through these clothes and move the 4T to the 5T bin and give some out to this child. And it was overwhelming. I was overwhelmed by our stuff. So I got a book about a year ago and I’ve been cleaning out her whole house for about a year now.
Good for you.
Doing categories and little things at a time. And just getting rid of the stuff that we don’t, we’re not using right now, or won’t immediately use. Like, I’ll keep 5T clothes, cause she’ll wear them next year. But it’s been so freeing because now I don’t have all this stuff hanging around that I may not use or I don’t feel guilty about not using it. Like, Oh, I should use that but it’s not really my favorite color or whatever. It’s been so freeing and it’s easier to take care of what we have now. So I feel like I’m able to be a better steward of what God has given us, you know? And it also takes the focus off of me providing for any and all needs that might come up and helps me trust God to provide for my family.
I love that. See you’re getting a jumpstart on it from what we were doing. It was just kind of out of sight out of mind. We had a big enough house that that worked for us until we moved in a family of six.
Right. Well, you do just kind of put it away for later and it gets forgotten. So we were starting to accumulate a lot of junk in our basement. I was like, Oh boy.
It needs to go.
Yeah. Let’s start this.
That’s it. It’s just stuff. Okay. Principle, number three, God knows what we need. I just love that principle. He assures us of this. He knows we need warmth in the winter and shade in the summer. He made our bodies. He knows we need nutrition and food. We just often want excess that we not only don’t need, but we might be worse off with if we had it. But he knows our needs.
Nicole is that thought reassuring to you that God knows what we need? How can it help us when we’re kind of up against it, money-wise?
Yeah. It’s so easy to want more, especially in America. I think our idea of poor is very different than actual poverty around the world. If I worry about our food budget, we just eat out less for the month or buy less snacks for the week. I’ve never in my life worried about my next meal, if it was actually going to be there and so many do. So I think the standard for what I need is not always reality. That’s a great comfort to know for me that God withholds things on purpose and doesn’t just give me any and all things that I asked for. I can think of so many times that I thought I would die if I didn’t get this one thing and I didn’t get it. And I’m still here.
Look at you! Yes.
And looking back, you know, you can see that those things really would have been bad choices or they wouldn’t have benefited me. You know?
It felt so big at the time.
Yes, I know it and especially if everybody else had it and you were a teenager.
Right, Oh yes.
That’s like the big age for really, really wanting what everybody else has. So, and you’re right. Sometimes it hurts us if we have too much, it really does. You’re right. I remember when Ray decided that after retiring from the military, he wanted to be a Christian school teacher and he became one at a startup school at the time. Portsmouth Christian was only one year old for the high school at the time. And his salary was, I think, $18,000 a year, very little money. He had a pension, but even with a pension, we dropped $40,000 a year.
Oh that’s a big hit.
Like that, bam. It was just gone. And so I was like, wow, this is what God’s called us to do but that’s a big drop.
Yeah. Oh, okay.
And the fun thing about it was Nicole we never lacked for anything. I can remember praying when we were still in Germany thinking, all right, I’m going to have to buy food in bulk because it’s cheaper that way. And you know, use our food budget better. I can’t just go shopping every time I want, but I need a freezer, but buying a freezer costs money. So should I really buy a freezer and sort of saying, Lord, what would you like me to do? No joke. This is so true. I love telling this story. I got home and we stayed with Ray’s parents while we were looking for a house to rent. And my mother in law said, Sharon, I have something to show you. She’d entered a contest at Sam’s Club and won a freezer.
Oh my gosh.
I know. There was my freezer.
You can’t make that stuff up.
No, I cried. And she’s like, ‘Oh honey’. I’m like you don’t even know.
You don’t even know. Yeah. God gave me this freezer.
There was the freezer that we needed. And there was no money for clothing. There just wasn’t. So amazingly I had started teaching piano and a couple of piano students had girls that were just older than my girls. And they gave us the clothes they outgrew that were not worn at all and were actually more fashionable than I might have chosen for my girls. So isn’t that cool?
And then I had an adult piano student whose mother was kind of a shopaholic, which is a sad thing. It’s not a good thing. However, she gave me all her excess clothing, some which still had the tags on it.
We dressed well with less money.
(Laughing) You made out like ‘bandits’.
And then sort of the last frontier was I had to give up vacations and we had been living in Germany. Vacation was Austria for us back then, or the Black Forest. I was into my big vacations. There was no money. I mean, maybe we would save our quarters and dimes and whatever we had at the end of the year, which was between a hundred and $120. That was it for vacations with our change. So then an old friend from high school and I reconnected a little bit and she asked if we’d like to stay in her beautiful home on Cape Cod and take care of her cat for two weeks in the summer.
Oh my goodness.
We could walk to the beach and it was a beautiful home. And there we were vacationing. We loved that cat.
Oh, I bet.
Oh, we took such good care of the cat. And for years, for years, every summer, when they went away, it was our job to watch that beautiful cat. And we prayed for its long life.
I just love that. He cares about all, you know. I have, we have so many stories of that too. You know, you don’t have the money and this little weekend pops up for work or someone offers. We had a little place in Cape Cod, too that my uncle offered to us that we stayed in and we just spent like what we could, you know, on meals. And it was such a nice little vacation, but God always provides. If we truly trust him, he provides our needs. And then he gives us some wants too. He always does.
Beyond. Exactly. Yes, he knows. And the fun thing about not having and for that season in our lives we ‘not haved’…
Is you get to see the miracles in a unique way. And I have a whole list. I have a book called my little book of miracles. So now I’m on actually book four of that series more than I could possibly tell you.
But you never would have been that excited over a freezer if God hadn’t given it to you. Like who gets excited over a freezer? It was a “God-freezer”.
Never. And we filled it and eventually we gave it to House of Hope. So it’s still being used for God’s glory. So, so good. So that was number three. God knows what we need. Number four, we are told to focus on God’s kingdom first and not on other worries. So from that first mention, in the very beginning of what we read, that we should store up our treasures in heaven to where Jesus says seek the kingdom first, we are redirected in where our thoughts and efforts should go and they shouldn’t go to accumulating wealth. So Nicole, what kind of treasures can we store up in heaven? What does that even mean?
You know, honestly, I am not super sure. Don’t we get like a crown of life or something someday? I always think of our adding jewels to the crown. Then I think we give it to God. So I really don’t know. We may have to do a podcast on this.
Yes, we might.
On the end times.
I think part of it is character. In heaven Jesus says that some are going to be in charge of a few cities and some in charge of many. Do I understand that at all? But there’s this parable, you know? And if you are given one mina, you can make five out of it and all this; there’s all these parables. We will have to do a study on this.
Yeah, I’m very curious.
But somehow our character here is going to matter in heaven. I don’t know how exactly, but it is.
It’s worth paying attention to this because heaven’s our forever home. So we want that to be a nice life.
And Jesus thought it was important to mention. So the reward must be good.
Speaker 3 (23:04):
He does mention it quite a bit.
He does. He talks about rewards. We don’t want to talk about rewards because we want to be humble.
And it’s good that we want to be humble. But I would love to do a study on what are these rewards and why does Jesus feel like we need to know about them because he does.
Right, and how they pertain to heaven. Yeah. That’d be interesting.
So, okay. Well this reminds me in this part about not accumulating money and all this stuff, of a story Jesus told about someone who was way too comfort-focused. So can you read Luke 12, 13 through 21 for us?
Someone in the crowd said to him, teacher tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. Jesus replied, man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you? Then he said to them, ‘watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed. Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions’. And then he told them this parable, ‘the ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, what shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. Then he said, this is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. And there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, you have plenty of grain laid up for many years, take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, ‘you fool, this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’ Wow.
Seriously. We need to be grateful for every good gift we are given don’t we? And not think we need more, always more. I mean, he had more than he needed so he built more places to store more than he needed. And that’s just not right in a world where so many have so precious little. I think we really need to stay close to God so we hear his whispers to our hearts of when and how to give generously and not hoard. I remember a lady that worked in a thrift store in New York when we lived there saying to me, she said, I’m not saying you can’t have sweaters of different colors even, but do you need three green sweaters? Could you give us two green sweaters and thinking, wow, she is right. We have such surplus here in America that I have shades of green sweaters. Do we really need to hoard quite that much?
No. I think even VeggieTales said it in one of the videos my girls was watching, it says, if you have two to spare, then you have one to share.
Oh my goodness. VeggieTales, that’s awesome.
I love that. Oh, that’s been good. It’s in my head now. I’m like, well, I don’t really need to, I have one to share.
I have one to share and that’s what we ought to do.
It really is. And it’s an individual decision. I know that. But I think all of us need to get that main lesson that we need to be careful to put God’s kingdom ahead of building one of our own.
Absolutely. Yep. Build bigger tables, not bigger barns. Right?
There you go. That’s beautiful. And share and share and share. Yes. Yes. Yes. Well, let’s look real quickly at this eye section thing. We may not be able to completely understand it, but we’ll take a quick peek. It says your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is. What in the world? This little segment in this section just seems a little out of place to me, but I know Jesus always has a reason.
Do you have any thoughts on why that ‘eye thing’ showed up?
It’s well, our eyes are the thing that points us toward what we’re focused on. You know, you usually don’t reach with your hand, like usually your eyes see. Like even with Eve and temptation, she saw the fruit first and then her hand followed, I think they’re, you know, the window to our soul and all that. But what we see determines where our heart and our actions in our lives kind of follow, maybe.
I love that.
So if we’re looking at darkness or unhealthy things, that’s how our obsessions are. Yeah. And maybe we fool ourselves, you know, we’ve been talking about blind spots at church. Our pastors have been preaching on that. And the verse, the part that says, if you, if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is. So if we fool ourselves thinking that what we’re doing is right, you know, that’s even worse.
It is. It is. And it’s a deep, deep, darkness.
Yeah, to be unaware of it. So I don’t know. That’s, it’s an interesting verse for sure.
Yeah it is. But our eyes are what, see the things. And if we’re just seeing shiny things for us too that’s not where God wants us to focus, but if we’re seeing the needs of others, then when we have two, we share one.
Right. So there’s something, there’s something to do with all that. That is for sure. So I love that no matter how many times you and I read a passage of scripture, there’s more.
There’s always more. Yep.
Always more, you know, it’s not like you read it once and you’re like, well, read that book.
We can read this beautiful big book for life and over and over the living God will speak to us. And at different times, different parts will be highlighted by the Holy Spirit that lives within us. And who is there to show us and guide us. So we’re very, very blessed.
We really are. So let us pray. Father, thank you. Thank you for your concern for us, for your love for us, for the way you whisper to us. ‘Don’t worry. I see your needs’. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for reminding us that our focus needs to be on your kingdom, on you who love us and not on the worries that can derail us so easily. Oh Father God, help us to live in today, to ask you for strength for the day and to trust you with all our tomorrows. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. I am so glad we got to talk about money issues and why we don’t need to stress over them. Thanks for joining us on this ride through the Sermon on the Mount. We love hearing from you. Podcasting can be a bit lonely. Sharon and I talk, but we have no idea who is listening and what they are gleaning from what we say. We pray and trust that God uses these episodes to bless you, but we’d love to know how He has. So write us, go to sweetselah.org/podcast and find today’s episode and write us in the comments, share, like, and follow us. Give us a nice review and make our days extra bright. If you are able to – donate at sweetselah.org/donations, but whatever you do, friends seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and everything else will fall into place. We look forward to being with you again next week for episode 22, it’s called, Do We Really Trust God? Can’t wait to discuss this one with you, Sharon. Until then may God bless you friends.
Speaker 1 (30:03):
We are so glad you stopped for awhile with us. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us.
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