Read: Matthew 6:19 |
Albert J. Lowry set out to prove that it was easy to get rich quick in real estate with no money down. He did just that!
Not surprisingly, his 1980 book, “How You Can Become Financially Independent by Investing in Real Estate” was a bestseller. In a May 1981 cover story, Money magazine estimated Lowry’s net worth at $30 million and called him a ‘real-estate wizard’.
But something went wrong! In October 1985, his company the Success Development Institute, collapsed with $2.5 million in debts. In June of 1987, it was reported that Lowry’s assets were being liquidated in Los Angeles under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code. In the end, his rise and fall were equally steep and impressive. [Christianity Today]
Apparently, Mr. Lowry, did not subscribe to John Wesley’s mantra, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” His modified approach of “taking” instead of “giving” all you can, eventually backfired. As believers, let’s review some do’s and don’ts that can help us stay on the righteous path. This week, we will review the Not To-do’s.
What is a NOT To-do List?
Have you ever compiled a “NOT To-do List”?
While the purpose of a “To-do List” is to record and prioritize our goals, a “NOT To-do List” records the things that would take us off-track from our target.
A “NOT To-do List” provides three very important things – Focus, Focus and Focus.
For instance, in teaching my son to hit a baseball, I told him NOT to swing at a ball outside of the strike zone. His job was to stay focused and ignore the “balls”. He should only swing at the baseball if it is in the strike zone. For well-off Believers in our context, I propose a “NOT To-do List” that can improve our focus and thus help us avoid the pitfalls of the rich outlined in scripture. After all, we too need to ignore the “balls” – things that take us off-track.
NOT To-do List – 3 Things to avoid
I believe the List should at least contain these three items, which can keep us grounded as we seek to magnify and serve God:
- Love money more than God – Desiring and pursuing wealth can easily take us off-track and put us on a collision course with God’s plan for our lives. In fact, the Bible consistently depicts wealth as a danger zone if not approached righteously. For instance, Paul writes in I Timothy 6:10, that the love of money is the root of all evil. A root is something that grows and produces something. What the love of money produces is rarely good.
- Yield to temptation to make wealth the goal of our lives – In I Timothy 6:9,17, Paul warns that those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap. Once in the trap, it becomes convenient to over-reach and fill our bank account by less than honest methods. Repent and avoid sinful actions to make money, because they reveal envy, pride and greed in our lives.
- Develop a false sense of security – Jesus warns us with words “Do not” in Matthew 6:19. He reminds us that earthly riches are a temporary blanket of comfort that can distract us from seeking heavenly eternal treasures. [Matthew 6:19,20; Revelations 18:17]. The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:19) offers us a strong warning against allowing riches to choke out the Word and make us unfruitful.
Whether we draft a “Not To-do List” or sub-consciously follow one, it can prevent us from falling victim to:
- Self- satisfaction by loving money more than God
- Self-indulgence by yielding to the temptation of making wealth a goal in life
- Self-fulfillment by deceiving ourselves with a false sense of security.
1. Discover –
A. If you were to draft a Not To-do List and add something, what would you add?
2. Develop –
A. John Wesley’s quote applies to rich and poor – “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” Out of the three major actions Earn-Save-Give, which ones are easiest to accomplish and which are hardest?
3. Demonstrate –
A. If you had a saying the exhibited your approach to your life as John Wesley did, what would yours be? For me it might be “Do all I can, while I can, where I am, with what God gives me!”