God's Fix for Finances

by: Larry S. Watkins

Email: info@icogsfg.org

I don't think anyone doubts that we are smack in the middle of some very difficult times. Unless you've been living somewhere in a cave and have just come out, you are well aware of it, if you don't read the newspaper or you don't watch television or listen to the radio, because it is a talk everywhere you go.

We are in difficult times economically, politically, socially and theologically. Two of these different strata go together far better than most people think they might. I'm not talking about theology and politics, but rather theology and economics. Most people don't bring the two together.

Spiritual Growth Opportunities

In an economical and political situation like we are currently in, are there spiritual growth opportunities?

I think the answer is a resounding "You bet there is!’ Now the question is what are we going to do about it? I don't think anyone who is a Christian would argue with the fact that we are designed and created by God. He gave us the life's answer book. Scripture tells us what we should do. It gives us guidelines on how to live. He has promised us throughout Scripture, He will not leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

The Scripture that most of you know is Psalms 119 and verse 105 "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." There's another verse over in Proverbs chapter 6, verse 23, which is very similar. It says: "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life."

In other places in the Bible it says that "The Word of God is for our reproof" (2 Timothy 3:16).

The word that God has given to us in the Bible is a way of life with instructions on how to live that way of life.

When things are tough, it drives us to our knees. Sometimes God uses trials and pain to get our attention.

God Promises to Provide for Us

In times of distress like we see today, financial distress especially, we need to really avoid making any kind of decision based upon fear, based upon being afraid about what the times are, what they portend for the future and what might happen, for we do have an ironclad assurance that God knows our needs and has said that He will provide for us. He did not necessarily promise us that we're going to have a Rose Garden, but we are going to have everything we need.

Matthew 6:25-34 ""Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? {26} "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" I hope so, and of course God says we are.

The Golden Years

A lot of people right now are really worried about their financial security, and rightfully so. We live in very tumultuous times. For those approaching the golden years, supposedly that's when you are going to retire, it may be that their retirement savings have been dramatically impacted.

You hear stories on television and radio and in the newspaper of people who have lost literally most or all of their life savings because of various things that happened in the financial markets. Some have already gone back to work who had retired and were living the golden years. Others are putting off retirement. Maybe they had made plans to retire this year or next year but they're putting off retirement for another year or two in hope that things will improve and get better. Others are worried if they'll ever be able to retire.

I remember an old friend that was in his retirement years and he was mowing yards at over 70 years of age and he worked as a greeter at Wal-Mart.

In the Scriptures we see in Matthew chapter 6, it tells us not to worry but to put our hope, to put our faith, to put our trust in God.

We Are To Provide For Our Families

1 Timothy 5:8 "If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel."

It is very clear here, that we are to provide for our own. We have a duty and obligation and responsibility to do so.

In the parable of the pound in Luke 19, and the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, both of these emphasize personal responsibility, but they also emphasize something else. We must also work and we have to do our part. God is not going to just open up heaven and pour down money upon us. Just because we tithe doesn’t mean that all of a sudden heaven is going to open up and all the gold and silver and everything else that we need or want will come pouring out into our coffers. It doesn't work that way.

We Must First Work

We must first work. We must first do something, while at the same time, trusting in God to prosper our ways.

Let's look at a couple of Scriptures to remind us of this. Genesis 39 and verse two. This is the story of Joseph. "The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man ... {3} And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper."

God did not just dump out blessings on him, He took the things that Joseph did and made him to prosper. Joseph was working and was blessed and his master saw it.

Deuteronomy 29:9 speaking to Moses God said "Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do."

There's something that we have to be doing, there is work that has to be accomplished in order for these blessings to come to us.

David was talking to his son Solomon, and he said: 1 Chronicles 22:13 "Then shall you if you take heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed."

Along with trusting in God, in the sense that we’re going to be doing things, we need to also make sure that we are strong, to encourage and dread not to be dismayed. Don't be afraid. God is there for us and by the lack of fear, we show our faith and trust.

Psalms 1:1 "Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful."

This is talking about a way of life and how we as individuals should live our lives.

Verse 2 "But his delight is in the law of the LORD." Our delight is what we get pleasure out of and that is the law of the Lord. "In his law does he meditate day and night."

This is not something that we just look at occasionally. We just don't look at it once a year or once a month or once a week. It is something we meditate on and study on day and night. How can we bring something to remembrance, if we've never read it before? For a student having a test and praying to God that He would help him have the answers, and he's never cracked a book, guess what, he's not going to remember anything because he doesn't know anything. If you haven’t read it, then, how can you remember it?

We should meditate upon God’s Law day and night.

Verse three "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper."


Unfortunately, over the years, there are those who have taught that tithing is an Old Testament law and it's an agricultural law and any other excuse that they can come up with to say that in effect it has been done away and that we are not commanded to tithe in the New Testament. I've heard the arguments, and I personally reject them outright, not just from a theological standpoint but also from a personal testimony and from personal use. Folks, tithing works. It really works.

Prior to 1966 to 1967, while I had read my Bible and was familiar with the word ‘tithe’, I did not tithe.

I did not know what tithing was all about. I was not that familiar with the Scriptures that were there, but upon being taught the Scriptures, I began to take up the challenge that God gives us over in Malachi.

Malachi 3:10 "Bring the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open up to you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

This is a challenge, if you want to call it that, and yes I've heard the arguments against this particular Scripture. I reject them theological and personally.

Turnover, if you would from the standpoint of rebutting that a little bit, to Matthew 23:23 and Jesus was talking and said "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

Jesus is saying that you should do both tithe and do the weightier matters of all of the law of judgment, mercy and faith.

What people lose sight of is the fact that God does not need our tithes. If you think about it, God does not need our tithes and offerings because everything belongs to Him anyway. It is something that He has given to us, just like He has given us the Sabbath. It is a gift that He has given to us to teach us and to let us learn how to give.

Let's look at a couple of Scriptures showing what belongs to God.

Exodus 19:5 "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar (or particular) treasure unto me above all people."

If we keep God's word, we shall be special unto Him, and then He says "all the earth is mine."

Job 41:11 "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine."

God is saying "Who came before Me that I should pay them anything?"

Psalms 50:12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof."

This is just a few scriptures to remind us that God is not needy in a sense of needing our tithes. It is a personal form of worship that you and I, as individuals, should be doing.

What our giving also does is to honor God, in effect to pay our respect and our tribute to His word and for the blessings that He is given to us.

Malachi 1:6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honor?"

In this day and age to many don't honor their parents and that is part of the problem with our nation.

Proverbs 3:1 "My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments: {2} For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you."

Now, if somebody came to you and said I can give you longer life, peace and understanding, and all of these things can be added to you, what would you do? I would say "Tell me what it is and what do I need to do." God did, and He said "Keep my commandments." How many of us do it? Unfortunately not enough.

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding."

This is where it is so easy for us to get into trouble, especially when times are good, we start thinking I must be doing something right and look how well I'm doing. We start leaning to our own understanding.

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. {7} Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. {8} It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones. {9} Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase: {10} So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine."

This is a picture that the author is drawing of abundance. When we are obedient to God and to His Word and to His commandments, when we honor him with our substance, then He will prosperous us.

What is it that you and I should do, to weather the storm that we currently see ourselves in?

Obviously, the first step, we have already seen from Scripture, is to be strong, be of a good courage, dread not or be dismayed, trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding and honor the Lord with your substance.

Plan For The Future

What's next? Let's look to Scripture. The Scriptures say whatsoever he does shall prosper, the operative word is 'does', what are we doing?

So what can we do? Don't panic. Don't make hasty decisions based upon especially the surges of the stock market. Now lately it's been like an elevator going up and down.

What should we do? We have to think long term, always live your life as if Christ is going to return tomorrow. How do we live our daily life? How do we treat people? How do we go about doing what we do on a daily basis? We need to live it like Christ is going to return tomorrow, but at the same time, we need to be making plans as if He will not return in our lifetime.

We are to pray everyday for Christ's return but at the same time, we are to plan for our future and our financial future?

Proverbs 13:22 "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just."

A good man is to lay up an inheritance for his children and his grandchildren. That takes planning, that takes the ability to look ahead to make long-term plans to be able to do this.

Ecclesiastes 7:11 "Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun."

What does that mean to see the sun? We need to see the bright side, the good side, and that there is a future.

The most valuable inheritance to those of us who have children and grandchildren can do is found over in First Peter 1:4 "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you."

The key to that is found in Deuteronomy chapter 6:7 "You shall teach these things diligently unto your children."

How do we leave our children an inheritance? We teach them diligently.

Emergency Fund

From the standpoint of financial management, some of us need to start quickly. One of the first things to do and most financial managers will tell you this, is that you need to put away an emergency fund. There is an old saying that you pay God first and then you pay yourself second, by that I mean, you pay your tithes and offerings and then you put aside something consistently every payday, every paycheck, every time you get paid and pay yourself, for your retirement or for your emergency fund, whatever you want to call it.

When we first started, my wife Kitty and I, we did that and we taught our children to put away something.

Even a minimal amount of emergency fund should be three months. Most financial experts say 3 to 6 months. I personally think six months is a minimum, and one year is desirable. Does everybody have that right now? It's a goal. It is something that we can do about our financial management, maybe we don't have it right now. But when can we start? The next time we get a paycheck. Pay God and pay yourself something, I don't care if it's a buck a week, or a buck a month, whatever it is, but pay yourself something. Put it aside and you will be surprised how quickly it can grow.

A Quick Fix

Another key thing, don't make decisions based upon emotions. We get all caught up, whatever it may be, the bills, someone may have lost their job. We know people that are doing that. They sometimes look for a quick fix, such as borrowing from their retirement plan or borrowing on their home-equity. Those are bad decisions. Now if you don't have any other choice, it may be the only choice of keeping food on the table or a roof over your head or whatever it may be, okay, but as quick as you can get it repaid.

These kinds of decisions can have disastrous long-term results. They may bail you out short-term but they leave you hurting in the long-term. We need to avoid fear-based decisions by having faith.

Matthew 6:31 "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, how shall we be clothed? {32} for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things."

Make a Budget

Many people have money to spend as long as they have money in their wallet. They don't have money to spend when the wallet is dry, until they get more money and then they have money to spend.

If we are not putting something aside, then there is one way that you can do that, it is to make a budget.

Again a personal story. When Kitty and I first got married, I think we were making $75 a week. That was in 1968, but it wasn't an awful lot of money. She had to quit working pretty quickly after we got married, because she got pregnant, but we had to budget by necessity, because with $75 a week with what we were trying to do with food and bills and everything else, we had to take some drastic measures.

What Are Our Priorities?

In times like these there's spiritual growth opportunities. God uses times like these to help us to take a little more careful thought as to what our priorities are in life. What is really important? After all, think about this, our god, and that is spelled with a little 'g', our god is what we pay the most attention to. For some people, it may be a piece of metal sitting on top of four round rubber orbs. For some people it may be a speed boat sitting down at the dock. For other people it is other things, because this is what they spend most of their time and most of their attention thinking about. So where are we putting most of our attention?

God in speaking to the prophet Haggai gave us some really good advice.

Haggai 1:5 "Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! {6} "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."

What does this mean that we earn our wages and put it into a bag of holes? This is sort of like what's been going on lately. We put it into a bag and ask where did it go? It had holes in it and it is all gone. We have become so accustomed to spending without taking conscious thought of where it is coming from and where it was going, that we really didn't pay attention to it and all of a sudden the bag was empty.

Haggai 1:7 "The LORD say: "Consider your ways!"

This is good advice, and one of the things we need to do. We already mentioned this and I will keep repeating it. We need to grow closer to God and that is sometimes a reason bad times happen. God wants us to draw closer to him. It is a time to reconsider our relationship with our family and with friends and especially those of the household of faith.

Money is a Private Topic

Now, money is probably the most private topic in our life, a lot of people do not like to talk about their own personal finances.

Friends and family might be able to help us to better manage our finances, if we would sit down and say, what are you doing? How do you manage through this? Get some help and advice and talk about it.

Buy More Stuff

We unfortunately have in to many cases succumb to the life of the consumer that we see that is encouraged by the American culture that we live in. We want to buy more stuff. That's the only way I know how to describe it.

We walk into a store and see a shirt that is on sale. We might already have 50 shirts in our closet, but this shirt is on sale. Now we need to look at it a little more carefully and think about what stuff do we really need to get through these difficult times?

Too many of us are up to our necks, maybe to our eyeballs, in debt. It is the same old American dream where people in order to have what they want, right now, right this minute, they went out and borrowed it and credit was easy. They got that little piece of plastic in their wallet and they throw it down on the counter. You don't have to pay until you get your bill. Credit cards have contributed to some people and the problems that they have.

I have advised many of my clients over the years to tear up their credit cards because they can't manage them. Get rid of them. Go to an envelope method or some kind of a method of budgeting so that you don't overspend.

All of this causes way too much stress in our lives, and very little if any joy. God tells us He wants us to be joyful. He wants us to have a good time. He wants us to enjoy life.

Salt and Light

The Scriptures are clear. We are supposed to be a light and salt to the world around us, in all stages of our life, not just to be there if someone was to ask us a theological question. But when they see us, they see that even our financial management is godly and it follows the Scriptures. It follows the word that God is given to us.

Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."

The word 'salt' could be translated as prudence. Do you know what a prudent man's standard is? It is a standard used in financial management that you would not make a decision that someone who considers carefully their way would not foolishly make a decision.

If we totally lost all of our common sense, if we lost what we know we should be doing, and we do it anyway then how can we be the salt of the earth? It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world." Let's think of it a different way, yes we need to be a light, our light needs to reflect in every thing that we do, including our financial management.

Verse16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

God Will Help You

In closing, I would like to read to you a couple of Scriptures that I think provide us some great encouragement and at the same time guidance to those who will seek God's help, not only in the difficult times, but in the good times. Even more so, in the difficult times, because God has said, when you have troubles, and you have problems, when you have situations where you need my help come to me and I will help you.

Jeremiah 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. {8} For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes."

Is the heat on right now? I think so. If any of you have a 401(k) go look at it and you may become discouraged.

Continuing in verse 8 "When the heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit." Why? Because "Blessed is the man" as it says in verse seven, "Who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is, for he is going to be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads its roots down by the river." In other words, we are totally connected to God, and we won't worry about it when the heat comes along. We won't worry because our "leaf will be green." In difficult times your fruit tree will not cease from yielding fruit. This is a promise from God.

Psalms 4:1 "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer."

Those of us who have actually put something aside and have done what God has said to do, God has set us apart for Himself and the Lord will hear when you call unto him.

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! {5} Let your gentleness and moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. {6} Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; {7} and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. {8} Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise; meditate on these things."

Think on these things as opposed to the worries that we might have that is causing difficulties going on around us. If we rejoice in God, and if we rejoice in keeping His commandments and we know and understand and believe and have hope and faith and trust in His promises that He has given to us.

Verse 9 "These things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

Paul goes on to say something very interesting in Verse 11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

Paul had a pretty tough life. None of us has been shipwrecked, none of us has been beaten within an inch of our life, bitten by a viper and all the other things that Paul went through. He found that wherever he was, whatever state, because of the promises of God to be content. He knew that he'd never starve. He knew that if it was his time to go, it was going to be because that's what God chose to do, it was God's will and so be it. That may be a crude way of saying it, but I don't know how else to say it. Paul found that whatever state he was in, whatever the situation, whether it be great times or bad times to be content.

What I'd like for us today to take from this message is that we can be content. We can feel safe, we can feel secure, because our faith, our hope and our trust is in God, because we follow his ways, and in all that we do, and especially at this time, as we seek not man's guidance, but as we seek God's fix for our finances.

This article was transcribed with minor editing from a Sermon given by Larry S. Watkins titled: God’s Fix for Finances

0913D - 3-28-2009  -  Transcribed by: bb 7/11/10

You can contact Larry S. Watkins at Christian Educational Ministries

P.O. Box 560 Whitehouse, Texas 75791 Phone: (888) BIBLE-44

Web page: cemnetwork.net