What does it mean to adopt a simpler lifestyle? Richard Foster suggests a number of aspects:-
1. Simplicity means unity of heart and singleness of purpose. Our one desire is to obey Christ in all things. Our one purpose is to glorify him in all things. We have only one use for money – to advance his kingdom. Jesus taught us to have a ‘single’ eye, Mt 6:22.
What principles should govern a Christian approach to giving? Richard Foster offers the following suggestions:-
1. Let us give proportionately. ‘Proportionate to what? Proportionate to the accumulated wealth of one’s family? Proportionate to one’s income and the demands upon it, which vary from family to family? Proportionate to one’s sense of security and the degree of anxiety with which one lives? Proportionate to the keenness of our awareness of those who suffer? Proportionate to our sense of justice and of God’s ownership of all wealth? …
Towards the end of his thorough survey of biblical teaching on money and possessions, Craig Blomberg draws the following conclusions:-
1. Material possessions are a good gift from God meant for his people to enjoy
God created a good world, desires that all have at least some property, and blessed Israel with material possessions in response to their obedience. Job, Abraham, David and Solomon demonstrate that riches and godliness can co-exist, if sometimes precariously. Wisdom literature teaches that wholesome work is rewarded materially. …
This sermon was not prepared for a special Sunday devoted to the church’s finances, but for an ordinary Sunday when our text happened to be all about giving.
How many people are like me? They’ve had it on their minds for some time to review their giving to the work of God, but not quite got round to it.
Here are two very different situations. In the first, King David, right at the end of his earthly life, is passing on the responsibility for building the temple to Solomon, and is holding a fund-raising day.…
Richard Foster offers some practical suggestions of how we can get to grips with what he calls ‘the dark side of money’:-
1. Let’s get in touch with our feelings about money. Let’s acknowledge our fear, our insecurity, our guilt about it. Let’s realise that we often feel threatened by the whole subject of money. We may be afraid that we have too little, or afraid that we have too much. If we have been raised with little we may develop a hoarding attitude; if we have been raised in affluence notions of frugality may seems like vices rather than virtues.…
Money, sex and power, writes Richard Foster, are inseparably intertwined:-
Money manifests itself as power. Sex is used to acquire both money and power. And power is often called ‘the best aphrodisiac’. We could discuss at length the interlacing connections. There is, for example, an important relationship between sex and poverty: sex is the poor man’s holiday and the poor woman’s disaster. Note also the connection between power and wealth: power is frequently used to manipulate wealth, and wealth is used just as frequently to buy power.