Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘money’

Money Matters For Us All

In Chrisian Life, Money on April 8, 2014 at 9:07 am

moneymatters2

Does This Ring a Bell?

Joe has a family of four. He is a college graduate that had no job openings in his field. He is working for better than minimum wage but cannot support his family adequately. They enjoy going out each weekend to dinner and the movies.

Shelby is a single mom of two. She works at the diner during the day and the hotel front desk overnight. She relies on her parents to watch the kids in order to make enough to survive. She enjoys getting a mani-pedi often as a reward for all of her hard work and stress.

Brody finished school and started working in his field. He loves his job but it does not earn enough to pay back school loans. He has defaulted and is facing IRS problems. He regularly gets a string of lottery tickets with his 12-pack on Fridays.

John and Becky are struggling to make ends meet. House payments, car payments, family needs, and more are causing the credit cards to rise just to pay the electric bill. Their competitive nature creates a scenario where if one gets something so does the other one.

Is God Broke?

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
Malachi 3:10

When each of these go to church they hear the need for money. They are told to tithe 10% and trust God for the rest. If God is so big and awesome why does He need the money? Why doesn’t God just provide for the church if He is so concerned about it?

God is very concerned for His church because it is through her that His plan is put in motion. He desires for all to be made into disciples – dedicated followers of Christ. He has chosen to allow humanity to bear the task of this process. That task is not free. The Church is the people. However, people have buildings in which they meet that requires utilities and upkeep. People have educational needs in many ways. Provisions for materials, markers, curriculum, and more is needful today. As we share the gospel and others profess faith, the little group grows needing more. As we minister to one another and to our community it costs money.

God is very concerned for His people. He knows that when we do not tithe we are not trusting in Him or His plan. Most often, people do not tithe because they feel they don’t have enough money. God’s concern lies not only in a lack of trust on our part, but also in that we spend beyond our means on products we want but do not need. This type of spending feeds the selfish desires. Tithing is healthy because it increases our faith and makes us be more aware of our spending habits. Is the latte required? Do you NEED more clothes, cars, or shoes, or golf clubs? Do you have to have the latest style? Is that $45 mani-pedi so required? We are a creative bunch, I am certain we can find other ways to trim the spending so that God can be honored.

What About Other Organizations? Do They Count?

“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 19:9-10

There are those who will drop in a few dollars here and there. There are those who will send money to worldwide organizations, community help organizations, Disaster Relief, and even Relay for Life who believe that the money they give is tithing. It is not. God instructs the people to give provisionally for those in need by leaving some of the crop around the edges. However, God still called the people to bring the tithe of their harvest to the temple. One is an offering to the poor. The other is a tithe to the Provider. We are to bring both. There are many organizations and fund-raising opportunities out there. However, they come second to tithing. Once you have given to God’s Kingdom effort through your local church, then look to give provisionally for others.

3 Things Everyone Needs to Know on Valentine’s Day

In Life and Culture, love on February 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

Happy-Valentines-Day-Red-Greeting-Card

Outside of the principal’s office each year on this day 2 8-foot tables were set up.  As the flower and gift shops opened for business they started hauling in all manner of vases and baskets.  By lunch, these tables were overflowing.  All the people would come and get their items and then they would fill up again after lunch for those who had forgotten earlier or had acquired a date over lunch.

Saying “I like you” can get expensive.  See, there was very little love involved in shelling out massive amounts of money.  In fact, I find it rather amusing that guys are so uninvolved in the lives of those they say they love that they simply order and deliver.  I read a Facebook post of a friend of mine who was really happy with her gift because there was thought involved.  Instead of just buying “the usual”, the guy purchased items he knew she really wanted.  Here are 3 things everyone needs to know on Valentine’s Day.

Love is more than an order over the phone.  Anyone can phone in an order.  I admit, I have done this before and regretted it!  Love is about a relationship.  If I just phone in an order which involves generic items that speaks to my guilt more than my love.  Guilt due to waiting too late and now the punt plan takes over.  You send in a basket to your child because you want them to feel special.  I would propose that a well-loved child’s esteem is built each day and not on one gigantic day.

Love is about a relationship.  I would suggest that most teenage boys have no clue about this aspect.  If your purpose in life on this day is about your girl getting the biggest, best, or most expensive item then you are measuring against the wrong standard.  Your gift being bigger than your buddy’s gift is not the standard.  The depth of what you know about your love and matching that with just the right gift is the standard.  Does she giggle with glee because you have shown her that you have listened?  Does your child need a large gift to make her feel special or have you built her up with confidence of your love and support daily through relationship?

Love is not always about money.  Face it.  Guys think that if they spend enough money the love with grow.  More flowers and bigger baskets become egregious if they have to outdo last year.  I recently discovered a letter I wrote 20 years ago to my wife.  She still keeps it tucked away in a safe place.  The cost of ink and paper is irrelevant.  This has been kept because of the intangibles.  Throwing money at a relationship does not fix the problem or make her feel more loved.  Giving of your heart is what counts.

Some might say that I am not a romantic and must be a love “hater”.  This is not true.  The truth is that romance takes effort and, at times, we guys can get lazy.  When you take the time to listen, observe, and then respond life, love, and laughter will once again fill your heart and home.

Listen carefully.
Watch closely.
Respond confidently.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Trivial Pursuit

In Chrisian Life, Commitment, Decisions, Uncategorized on July 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm

20130717-071554.jpg

Pursuit.

Over the years, I have pursued many things. Haven’t you?

  • As a child I pursued longer skids on my bike and how long I could hold my breath.
  • As I got a little older I pursued Jenny down the street.
  • As a youth, I sought friends in whatever way it took. I pursued girls relentlessly. I worked to earn money to spend on those pursuits.
  • In college, I pursued grades and girls and money for the latter.

Later I pursued God and it helped me put everything into perspective! I had placed faith in Jesus at 8 but had not developed that relationship. For that reason, I had many trivial pursuits. Bike skids left scars on my knees. Girls brought drama. Seeking friends at all costs really costs you more than you can pay. Grades were good but did not satisfy and money came and went. However, God made all the difference.

On this pursuit of God I ran across a verse I had not noticed before.

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (Romans 14:19 ESV)

In the midst of our many and various issues and differences God wants us to pursue peace. Jesus would preach that the peacemaker was blessed. Either way, we are to be active in the pursuit of peace. Do not be mistaken. Pursing peace is not about tolerance of immoral and unbiblical behaviors as our culture presents. Paul is writing to the church. Those who are followers of Jesus are to pursue peace among ourselves. The ramifications of chaos in the church body is irrelevance in the community.

We are to also pursue the development of each other. We are to help one another deepen our relationship with God and increase our love for humanity. Sound familiar? Jesus said those two things were the two greatest commandments. It is no wonder Paul writes that we are to help one another do that better.

Don’t waste your life pursuing what cannot satisfy. Pursue God.

The Runaway

In Chrisian Life, Decisions, Journey on April 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

running-away-from-home-laura-corebello

All Tommy wanted was to continue to play.  It was a sunny summer afternoon and he had “stuff” he wanted to do.  His mom came out and told him it was time to come into the house.  She had lunch and chores he had to do.  He definitely was on board with the lunch part of that offering! He came in and washed up for lunch.  After he ate his sandwich and drank his milk, his Mom lowered the boom.  He needed to clean his room and take out the trash.  He argued that the day was so pretty he needed to go back outside.  She refused and he stomped away.  She tried to help him understand the balance of play and work but Tommy would not hear it.  He flat didn’t want to do what she wanted.  He was so angry.  It seemed they did not understand or care about how he felt on the matter. Running upstairs, he began pulling together the necessities:  a blanket, a stuffy, a pillow, and some other odds and ends.  He informed his Mother that he was running away.  He left the house and took a walk to the tracks.  While he was out there a fierce storm was blowing in.

How many of us have done something like that in our lives?  The prophet Jonah did also.  God came to him and told him that as a prophet of God he needed to go to Nineveh and preach against them so that they might repent before disaster might strike.  He refused.  He left and tried to runaway from God.  Unfortunately, there is no place we can run that we can also hide from God.  God brought a storm that shook up the sailors and caused great fear.  The way they responded to that storm is often how we respond to the hard times we face.  What storm is God bringing to get your attention that you are going the wrong way?  What warning signs has He already given and is still providing that you ignore?

Those on the boat responded in 3 ways.  Which one do you use?

1.  Seek after other gods.  In great fear, the sailors began crying out to their gods.  They were seeking help from the wrong place.  An affair won’t fix your marriage.  Throwing money at your kids won’t make them love you more.  Alcohol cannot drown out the pain anymore than higher doses of medications can.  However, these are the ways we try to fix the storms of love, family, pain, and grief.  The most common storms are found in these categories.

2.  Try harder.  The sailors, after being told to throw Jonah overboard, still tried to fix the problem on their own by rowing harder.  No matter how hard they tried they could not fix this problem.  There was no reaching the shore.  It was as if the very hand of God reached down and held the boat in the water.  We make greater commitments.  We go to conferences and counseling.  We increase visibility at church.  Trying to be better is like the sailors rowing harder.  The Lord does not want your outward dedication.  He wants inward consecration.  A broken heart and spirit before God in complete submission to His leading is the only way to make it out of the storm.

3.  Confess need and find relief.  Finally, the sailors cried out to God and threw Jonah overboard.  Had they simply done what had been prescribed from the beginning they could have had peaceful waters sooner.  Is it not the same in your life?  Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Confess your need and fall into the arms of God.

Tommy toughed out the rain.  He was wet, but he had his pride!  Yet, when the lightning and hail began to hit close he decided to throw himself overboard and get back to the house.  As he entered, his mother had a dry towel and a warm smile.  Maybe she wasn’t that bad after all, he thought.

Your Winning Lottery Numbers

In Church, Commitment, Leviticus, Money, tithe on February 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

Our state, while not the last, is one of the latest to enter the Lottery gaming system to “support” education.  I have been asked over the years whether or not I would receive the tithe from a lottery winner if it was presented.  What do you think?

 

 

We have been on a journey through scripture and we find ourselves at the base of Mt. Sinai.  Moses has received the basic law on the tablets.  God watched as the tabernacle was constructed.  He came and filled it with His presence.  One day Moses was passing by…

18 “Give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. “If you present a gift as a burnt offering to the Lord, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, 19 it will be accepted only if your offering is a male animal with no defects. It may be a bull, a ram, or a male goat. 20 Do not present an animal with defects, because the Lord will not accept it on your behalf.

Leviticus 22:18-20

God begins to instruct Moses on what Aaron is to accept or not accept concerning the offerings for sacrifice.  In a culture where cattle was the wealth system we begin to appreciate the giving of an unblemished animal for sacrifice.  Aaron receives explicit instructions that anything less than unblemished and pure was not worthy as an offering.  If the bull had a limp it was not acceptable.  If the bull was not sound in his stride it was not acceptable.  If the bull was not square in his stance it was not acceptable.  If the bull was weak in his front end it was not acceptable.  If the bull is without proper muscle and power it was not acceptable.  If the bull was not  complete in growth, leanness and muscularity it was not acceptable.  God demanded a PERFECT bull if it was going to be a substitute for my sins.  Anything short of this was not considered worthy as an offering to God.  Cattle was a part of the wealth system of the time and culture.  In short, bulls were money.  With this in mind, any “money” that was not pure and undefiled was not accepted as an offering to God.

Let’s return to our original question. Would lottery winnings be considered unworthy as an offering to the Lord?  It would seem that according to Leviticus these winnings would be unworthy.  Does Jesus make any adjustments?  Does the New Testament make any reference as to what can be offered to God?  When Jesus died he completed the requirements “once-for-all” in the sight of God.  The sacrificial system was finished.  Faith in the person and activity of Jesus was now established.

Do you believe that these winnings are acquired in an unworthy manner?  If so, does this make the tithe from these winnings unworthy?  Some would say, “The Devil has had it long enough.”  Another argument would be that if good can be done with this it should be.  If it can further the Kingdom, then it should be used.  What do you think?  Our answer presents a few problems.  If we believe that the offering, in this scenario, is unworthy then it should not be receive d.  To refuse such offerings requires a deeper faith that God will provide for the needs.  Your capital campaign fundraising committee suddenly has restrictions on acceptable income.  In these moments our knees knock and our faith wavers.  Consider the math.  The 8 million dollar lottery winner will pay half to gaming taxes leaving 4 million.  Let us reduce this by half again for capital gains and other issues.  The winner still has 2 million.  The offering from this is $200,000.  Who of us could not use this “wisely” and with “Kingdom intentions”?

If we receive this offering then we must view Christ’s death on the cross as closing the sacrificial system.  If Jesus is the once-for-all sacrifice then he has provided for every person’s need for atonement and relation potential with God.  In this way, Leviticus becomes educational as to the reason for Christ’s death rather than a model for what we are to do today.  Therefore, receive that $200,000 and finish that remodel or new construction in name of Jesus.

%d bloggers like this: