Dr. Sandra Unger joins us this week to unpack the ways God can use course corrections around our relationship to money and finances, to bring greater joy and hope. Spiritual disciplines like simplicity and generosity help us to humble ourselves before God and ask for His help in having a kingdom relationship to money and resources.
Rather than using shame and anxiety to speak about money, Sandra decided to tell some stories.
Connor, Sandra’s son, purchased a used car. Unfortunately, it broke down and needed $600 worth of repairs. Though Connor had the money from a tax return, he was reluctant to use it on car repairs. At this point, Sandra sat him down and explained that he was blessed that everyone was safe and well and that ultimately it was just money.
Cortez, who lives with Sandra and her husband, also purchased a used car. It was a life line for him to be able to work and see his son. One night Cortez’s car was stolen and even though it was located, several parts were stolen and the car was no longer usable.
Dee, Sandra’s friend, a single mother of six, also purchased a used car. One night she got pulled over and ticketed. The license plates on her new car did not match the car. Because of an unethical dealer she ended up losing her car.
Some of us are like Connor.
Some of us are like Cortez and Dee.
Sandra shared another story of being invited to vacation at a beautiful multi-million-dollar home and then returning from the vacation to find her friend Dee about to be evicted with her power near the point of being shut off. She had lunch with Dee and gave her $15 for food to help her get to her next pay check. After lunch Sandra went shopping and purchased a dress for $20. She ended up feeling guilt for using that money on the dress. This is the tension that those with resources live in. Many times, we want to change the world for God’s kingdom without having to leave the comfort of our current state.
There are two types of spiritual disciplines; inward and outward. Both make space for God to humble us and show us our need.
The discipline of simplicity helps us to practice living with less and focusing on what we truly need. The disciple of generosity helps us to focus on those around us who are in need.
Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus encourages both disciplines. He tells us to not store up riches here on earth (simplicity) but to store them up in heaven (generosity). We store up riches in heaven through generosity!
So, be selfish about generosity! Think about what generosity could do for you. Giving is a chance to ask “who am I in relationship to money?” It is a chance to store up riches in heaven.
It is easy to get pulled between empathy and fear when it comes to money. Sandra shared a story of deciding to buy a house and allow her friend Dee to live in it and pay rent. It was a scary feeling knowing that she had children going to college soon and limited resources of her own. Yet, God used the experience to shape her and give her greater trust and deeper love.
God wants to break the power that money has over us, we need only offer him our open hands and He will direct us.
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