Day 30: Luke 19-21 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Luke 19-21 follow the link provided hereto read the ESV online.

How do you handle your wealth? Today’s reading begins with a rich man who hears the words of Jesus and repents to the point of restoring all those whom he has defrauded and giving half of his wealth to the poor (19:1-10). Zacchaeus had been a taker, but after Jesus transformed his heart, he became a giver. He didn’t need money for security he had something greater. Is Jesus more precious to us than our money and stuff?

The account of Zacchaeus’ change is followed up with a story about the Minas (19:11-27). Ten servants were charged to be faithful with what the master had given them. At least two went out and earned more for their master and at least one we know did not do anything with his. The ones who earned a profit were blessed with even more, the one who didn’t do anything was stripped of what he even did have. We are reminded to do what you can, with what you have, while you have it for the kingdom of God.

There is also the story of the poor widow who didn’t have much to give, just two little pennies (21:1-4). Jesus said that she gave more than the rest, not because of the extravagance of her gift, but because of her complete poverty.

FATHER, thank you that you teach us about money and possessions in the Scripture. I pray that we are faithful with everything you have given us. I pray that we are generous towards others and faithful in the small things. Thank you for all you have entrusted to us and thank you for the grace of talking about money in your word. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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Do you Care more for comfort or for People? (Nehemiah 5:14-19)

Do you Care more for comfort or for People? (Nehemiah 5:14-19)

There was a moment when our church wasn’t doing so well financially. The finance team brought forward a suggestion that we challenge the church to raise their individual levels of giving by 1% to reach our church budget goal. There was much discussion on the matter and then it was placed before a congregational vote. As I considered the weight of these matters in my heart I couldn’t help but imagine what a difference an increase in our personal giving by 1% would mean for our family. In my head all I could think about was a new TV and some furniture we had bought the year before. I realized that we could live on 1% less to ensure that our church was able to fulfill its gospel purpose. It came down to a choice between our personal comfort and caring for others. Thankfully we chose to become a little uncomfortable in order to care for others.

Nehemiah has a similar opportunity before him. Though for him it’s not a choice in what he will give, but in what he will take. The governors before him were given extravagant food allowances that the local people had to provide. They would eat the best of everything in the land while the people who provided the food often had to settle for meager rations. It was so bad that the servants of the governor would have eaten better than some of the people providing the food. Nehemiah had a choice to make. Would he take this perk of the job and enjoy it or would he remove this burden from the people and therefore have to provide food for his court from his own estate?

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Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people. (Nehemiah 5:14-19 ESV)

Nehemiah chose to carry the burden rather than place anything more on the people. Nehemiah cared more about the welfare of the people than he did about what he might get from them. This is an important aspect of leadership. People begrudgingly follow leaders who take from them, but they will adore leaders who care more about the people than they do about what they can get.

Think about those who have come along side and helped you to this point in the journey. How can you help and encourage them along way? How can you make sure that you are giving them more than you are taking from them?

The 21 Day Financial Fast (REVIEW)

_225_350_Book.1060.coverWhere does you’re money go? Do you enter a grocery store to spend $5 and walk out having spent over $100? Do you find yourself living paycheck to pay check? Is your spending out of control? Try THE 21 DAY FINANCIAL FAST by Michelle Singletary. She challenges readers to slow down, spend money on only the necessities for 21 days and take an inventory of where your money is going. Each day of the journey she offers hope and encouragement as you look to asses your finances and bring them to order.

She is an amazingly gifted and insightful writer. I initially thought this book would just cover stuff I already knew from other courses like Dave Ramsey’s FINANCIAL PEACE (to be sure there was plenty of overlap), but was pleasantly surprised to find a different type of depth applied to money management and individual personalities. I swear she has met half of my family, or at least their financial alter-egos. When addressing the error of being overly frugal she used the illustration that taking extra condiment packets from fast food places… I was sure she had met my great-grandfather who horded stolen McDonalds catsup like it was gold.

Each day was full of good insight and was helpful at keeping up the “fast.” I applaud Michelle Singletary and her work on this book. It’s a great add to the subject of finances on my bookshelf and it is one that I highly recommend to anyone looking to get a better perspective on their relationship to money. I see it being especially helpful for engaged couples to use and discuss finances before they get married as well as young folks who have disposable income for the first time or are struggling to make ends meet.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”