Money/Contentment -Part I

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He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

Luke 16:10 (NASB)

Assuming the above photo has to do with a couple arguing over money, how many captions can you come up with that might fit the discussion?

One of the consistent areas of conflict in a marriage (especially in the early years) is the area of finances, and how they are handled.  One writer wrote “Financial difficulties, and the stress that accompanies them, are the leading causes of divorce. (Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/729793).  In preparing kids for marriage, little if any training is given to them in the area of financial stewardship; not by their parents nor by the church.  So, is it all that surprising that so many marriages fail within the first 7 years?

When my wife and I married, we certainly were not prepared in this area.  One of the tragic things is that our most vivid memory concerning the causes of conflicts in marriages we learned during our hour or so of premarital counseling was that we should not to squeeze the toothpaste in the middle. We were never taught Biblical principles of money management, we were never taught how to plan and manage a budget, nor were we warned about over extending ourselves with debt.  We certainly were not taught anything about being content in our finances, salaries and jobs.

It is interesting how the church today continues failing to teach our youth correct principles of Biblical money management, while at the same time teaching them that the above verse and similar ones teach that they need to give 10% of their income to God if they want to be blessed.   This is an example of proof-texting, which is the picking and choosing from Scripture as to what we teach and what we ignore.  If you read on in the context of our passage above you also read:

Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.

Luke 16:18 (NASB)

My point here is that people who teach one thing (tithing to be blessed) seem to take these passages out of context and forget it also teaches other truths they in turn often choose to ignore.  I see no outs or escape clauses in the above passage.  It does not say “unless so and so happens.”  It says what it says.  It says that if I divorce my wife I commit adultery, and if I or any man marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.  There is no unless clause.  It does not say unless I am unhappy It does not say unless I suddenly decide I no longer love her.  Also note that the verse is very inclusive:  It says everyone who does this is an adulterer.  These days it seems from the typical  omission of the rest of the context of this passage that one can be blessed materially if they tithe even if they chose a lifestyle of adultery?  The prosperity gospel again finds its way into mainstream Christianity and does untold damage to people.  Will God bless a person who is obedient to God in giving (and exactly what is required of the New Testament Christian here?) while at the same tome ignoring the rest of Scripture in the process?  We shall discuss this in more detail later in a blog on the Principle of New Testament giving (and how a lot of tithers are robbing God in the process).

Men tend to overspend on big ticket items, while women often do so on items such as food and clothing.  This leads to conflict in marriages.  And as they do in so many other sins, men are very good at justification here.  Let me give you an example.  My wife can share with you how early on we struggled very much in the area of finances.  We never had enough to cover food, clothing, rent, car payments, etc.  It was always a point of stress in our marriage.

Before we ever married, I was already a dedicated amateur astronomer.  I had made a name for myself in the astronomical community, actually discovering objects on the moon (Lunar Domes and Dark Haloed Craters).  So, I considered myself an astronomer, and outside of theory an astronomer cannot do much without a telescope, right?  One day in the midst of our early marriage I pull out this wad of cash -hundreds of dollars in cash I had been saving for a telescope.  My justification was that I had been saving this money for years before we got married, and now it was time to buy a telescope with it.  So here is my wife, making the point that I had this money all along while we were getting our electricity, water, gas turned off when we did not have the money to pay a bill; trouble paying car payments and rent, and all the time I had this secret stash of case available.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Phil 2:3-4 (NASB)

I cannot claim that my telescope fund was a good example of the employment of Phil 2 to my marriage; enough said.  Many men today do the same thing with boats, deer leases, ATV’s, RV’s, cars, vacation properties, even homes.  We tend to overspend on big ticket items and this affects our marriages.  Statistically, women tend to overspend on smaller ticket items like food and clothing.  When two people become one flesh in covenant marriage, they become one in everything.  All property and finances are now a part of their family unit, and mutually owned by both parties, everything.  I detest the idea that women sometimes even go so far as not to take their husbands name in marriage; other couples keep their finances separate dividing living expenses with the wife paying the electric out of hers and the husband the water and house payment out of his and such.  The taking of the husbands name signifies the leaving and cleaving principle, and also signifies the change that has occurred between the couple transforming from two and into one.  Finances and property are the same here…unless you are planning for failure, you must become one in everything.

Now, one thing I found funny as I wrote this blog is psychobabble.  Everything is a disorder…nothing these days is sin.  Look at this example:  “The study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, reports that 6 percent of women and 5.5percent of men – - statistically equivalent figures — suffer from compulsive buying disorders. The study is the first to assess the prevalence of the condition nationwide (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-7069401.html).”  Is that a hoot or what?  My telescope purchase was not sin, I had an Compulsive Astronomical Disorder!  Folks, if you mismanage the resources God gives you it is sin, pure and simple If you are not content with what you have you are also committing sin

…be content with your wages

Luke 3:14 (NASB)

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Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

Phil 4:11 (NASB)

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If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

1 Tim 6:8 (NASB)

In their book Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin is called Sickness, David Tyler and Kurt Grady write concerning this:

“The DSM breaks most diagnosis into several criteria of actions, behaviors, emotions, and mental processes…the parts. Some number of those criteria must be met to be met over a specified period of time in order to make the diagnosis, thereby assigning a number and, subsequently, a disease…the whole. THE PATIENT THEN ‘BECOMES’ “THE NUMBER” AND AT TIMES PATIENTS BECOME QUITE FIXATED (PLEASED) WITH THE FACT THAT THEY ‘HAVE’ A DIAGNOSED MENTAL DISORDER, PURPORTEDLY AS A RESULT OF A DISEASE PROCESS. In short, in the eyes of the patient, the courts and our society-at-large, THE DISEASE REMOVES PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the actions, behaviors, emotions, and mental processes THE BIBLE CALLS SIN. People sometimes seek a cure for their disease through medical means as driven by the mental health industry. This begins what is often a long and very expensive journey represented by multiple counselors, medications, LITTLE HOPE, and LITTLE IMPROVEMENT:”…”What the DSM-IV diagnoses as mental disorders, Scripture diagnoses as spiritual disorders.” (Page 81)

So, see my point?  My hiding away funds for my telescope was not a result of a disease or disorder; I cannot claim ignorance and lack of responsibility for my actions because I had Compulsive Astronomical Disorder or Compulsive Buying Disporder.  My actions were not a result of someone else and anything they did to me in the past.  I as responsible for my own actions, and those actions were sin.  Yes, SIN.

By the way folks, if God expects you to be content with your wages and the things that you have, does he not also expect you also to be content with your spouse, who is His perfect provision for you in the covenant marriage?  When your husband has a stroke and now walks with a cane, wife, you are to be content with him.  When he puts on a beer (or Dr. Pepper) belly, you are to be content with him.  Husband, when your wife puts on 50 lbs after having three children, you are to be content with her (“…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am”).

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:7 (NASB)

 

 

 

This post was written by

kc5lei – who has written 50 posts on One Flesh Ministries.

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