The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
 
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FINANCIAL FITNESS 101: FOUNDED ON THE HEAVENLY

      A pastor friend of mine recently led his church in a sermon series directed toward “being fit” or healthy in several contexts including one’s physical, emotional, and relational health. I was invited to offer some biblical truths regarding financial fitness. I reminded the group that a Desire, coupled with Determination, is required to become physically fit while Dedication, coupled with Discipline, is necessary to maintain physical fitness. In similar fashion, financial fitness also requires desire, determination, dedication, and discipline.     
      The apostle Paul counseled young Timothy with “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV).
      Against the backdrop of these verses in 1 Timothy, the next several editions of From Daniel’s Den are designed to present some basic biblical building blocks for equipping you to achieve, experience, and enjoy financial fitness. Along these lines, may I submit to you that financial fitness is Founded on the Heavenly. Our text points to setting one’s hope “on God who richly provides us with all things to enjoy” rather than placing hope on the “uncertainty of wealth.”     
      When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” he replied, “Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (in other words, everything.) This command is the very essence of worship as we are to ascribe to God that which only God is due, namely, His worth…His worth-ship. Thus, the first and greatest commandment is the foundation from which everything in life should and must be established…including the area of financial fitness. Therefore, everything related to your finances – whether your job, your paycheck, the manner in which you distribute the earnings you have received, and the purchases you make is an act of worship. When Jesus issued the imperative to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33), he confirmed that everything in life, including one’s financial fitness, is to be founded on the heavenly and that blessings accompany the life that is yielded to God and places priority on God and the things of God.
       Some 2,350 verses in the Bible address money and financial matters. In addition to these verses, approximately 40% of Jesus’ parables presented in the New Testament have money as their subject. Against this backdrop, we not only can easily grasp that God considers money and financial issues to be very important , but we can also recognize that achieving and experiencing financial fitness must begin with a foundation based on the heavenly or, as the hymnwriter penned, “things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.”     
      As Jesus taught his disciples (his followers) to refrain from storing up “treasures on earth where moth and rust could destroy and thieves could break in and steal…,” he was presenting the heavenly (things above approach) as the foundation upon which abundant living was established…namely, the abundant living that Jesus declared that he came to offer (John 10:10). Jesus urged storing up treasure in heaven where moths and rust can’t destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal before concluding that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).

      The parable of the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18-30), points to the manner in which the young man made wealth/possessions his idol. Earlier (Luke 16:13/Matt. 6:24), Jesus stated that “no servant can serve two masters, since he will either hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” In other words, fitness/right living in every expression (including financial fitness) is that which is founded on the heavenly and stems from seeking first the kingdom of God and storing up treasure in heaven rather than on earth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege and responsibility of being a steward of all that You have entrusted to me. May I regularly take an introspective look at my approach to, my attitude towards, and my progress in achieving financial fitness. May I encourage others within my sphere of influence to do likewise. Amen.                          

                    Daniel