Monday, July 05, 2010

July 4 Sermon: Praying for Financial Independence, Wesley and Debt

Sermon Texts:
1 Timothy 6:7-10
Galatians 5: 1, 13-25

As with praying out of anger, staying in touch with God even when we are “asking for ourselves,” it is better to commune with God in all our fallen state.  God knows who we are, so we might as well be honest with ourselves about that. 

Praying for Personal Gain for when one is already surrounded by plenty can turn to greed.  Praying for personal gain when one is surrounded by debt and confusion can turn to a sense of God-given purpose and direction. 

Does anyone think that God wants to see us in debt?  The early Methodists, who lived at a time when there was not much of a “middle class” were largely a group of peasants and menial laborers, and through their Methodist accountability groups  became such masters of their own finances to the point that Wesley began to worry “

John Wesley’s own example of holy poverty is conveyed on his tombstone:
A brand plucked out of the burning:
Who died of consumption in the fifty-first year of his age,
Not leaving, after his debts are paid,
Ten pounds behind him:
God be merciful to me, an unprofitable servant! (16/306)

In our words of ordination that are said by the bishop, one of his questions is: “Are you in debt as to embarrass yourself in your ministry?

Just estimate—you don’t have to sign your name, but take one of the offering cards, and write on it what you owe, not including what you owe on a house, but all other debts.  I surrender all.  We’ll place in the newsletter what that total figure is.

Ask yourself if you can give this debt as an offering of honest need and deliverance  July 4th we’ll celebrate our National Independence, but I think we should also celebrate our financial independence.  There’s a ministry called the “Financial Peace University” that we are looking at hosting at the church, and through it, we might offer the chance to become more financially independent of debts. 

Take the message of that ministry home with you and pray about it—is it something that would bring more peace to your own home?  Is it something that would bring peace to another person whom I could invite in confidence. 

We can gain much from casting our cares and burdens on God.  Jesus says, “come to me all who are weary and who are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

His burden was light because Jesus lived lightly.  He didn’t own much.  He asked for the kindness and hospitality of others, and he told his disciples to do the same in carrying the Gospel to the world.  (IF any town does not welcome you in, shake the dust of that town off your feet, and move on.)

God doesn’t plan to solve financial problems by the random chance of a lottery or through the treacherous realm of luck.  God can solve financial problems with our cooperation and rational and sober thought and decision. 

Being born of the Spirit means that God is alive and active IN you.  The prayer of Jabez works for him and others because it attunes the daily life to a sense of dependence upon God’s grace.  We gain financial independence by practicing divine dependence. 

No comments:

Post a Comment