Before I get started, I wanted to let the church know that Dana's mother went to be with the Lord last night.

Please join me in prayer for Dana and her family.

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Proverbs 3 - Diligence, Giving and Wealth

This morning I am going to again share from several chapters of Proverbs.

In my reading through Proverbs I have noticed some consistent themes:

- do not commit adultery
- speak with grace
- diligence in your work
- stay away from bad people

So my title today is:
Diligence, Giving and Wealth

[Slide]
4 Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
Prov 10:4

Diligence brings wealth.

Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

Prov 12:11

Our nation was built on the Judeo-Christian work ethic that comes from Proverbs.

You are going to see that there is ALWAYS room for helping the poor...
the less fortunate...
those in need.

But this verse says it:
"work your land" and you will have abundance.

Chasing fantasies does not bring wealth.
- buying lottery tickets
- going to the casinos looking for the BIG win
- day trading to make your living

None of these is bad.
But none of these can be counted on to bring in consistent income...like a standard job.

You cannot pay the rent looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

...whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Prov 13:11

[6 min]

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PRAYER
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Let me give you FOUR simple rules for growing wealth.

And I will admit up front that I am NOT the shining example.

God has blessed me, but I have not been as diligent as I should have been all these years.

Rule 1
Work Hard
Be diligent in work. Do not do just enough to get by.
Even on a minimum wage job.
IF you are the best employee - you will get the chance to get promoted and make more money.

Rule 2
Give to God
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Prov 3:9,10

Giving to God includes being generous to those in need.

Rule 3
Give to your Future

10% to God
10% to INVEST in your future

Rule 4
Live on less than you WANT.
If you are giving to God and giving to your future,
then you ARE living on LESS than you want.

Non-believers are amazed that Christians give their money away.

How can you afford to give your money away?

NFL Players:
Live like a prince while you are playing...
and you can live like a king once you retire.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

1. God promised that life was going to be difficult.
He told Adam that he would have to work with the sweat of his brow.

Jesus said "in this world you will have tribulation."

2. But we are also given promises.
God DOES want to bless us and financial blessing is part of His plan, generally speaking.

3. But everything in His kingdom works counter-intuitively.

He humbles the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The first shall be last
and the last shall be first.


Part of being financially blessed comes from being generous...according to the Proverbs.

Give your money away...
Give to God.
Give to those in need around you...

You cannot outgive God.

3. We live in a culture that constantly urges you to spend on yourself.
"You deserve that vacation."
"You deserve the best."
The Christian attitude should be,
I deserve Hell...
thank you, God for Your blessings!

4. We have a government that wants you dependent.
This is why conservatives are against government handouts.

When you give people stuff that they did not work for...you are teaching them NOT to work.

I heard a Congressman talking about the budget being passed and how they want to give away more unemployment monies.

He was saying that too many people are not going back to their jobs because they can stay at home and collect unemployment.

That goes directly against the biblical text.
And Christians should try really hard to NOT participate in this scheme.

These rules for growing wealth are important because the biblical text teaches them....

And WE NEED TO WORK.
There is something about having a job and going to work to gives purpose....
....a sense of worth

When I returned from Scotland after completing my PhD we lived with my parents in Dothan.

And I started applying for teaching jobs.

This was a difficult time for me.
I applied for around 120 different positions all around the country.

I had around a dozen phone interviews.
I was short-listed around six times.
It came down to me and one other person 3 times.
Yet I was never hired...

I finally asked a man in our church for a job.
Pat Jones, he was starting his own law practice and needed help in the office.

I took a year of Business Law at Troy Univ.
I taught Business Law at a Business Admin School in Tuscaloosa for 3 years.

Pat said he could not pay me what I needed.
I told him pay was not an issue - I needed to get a job!

I needed to kiss my wife in the morning and say,
"Honey, I'm going to work."

He hired me for around $10/hr.
I WAS THRILLED.
It was one of the best jobs I have ever had.
Pat and I became close friends.
He is now the DA for Houston and Henry Counties.

Pat lived out Rule #2 for me.
He was so generous to everyone around him.
God used him to shove me out of my extreme monkish, frugal ways - to be generous to others around me.

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Four Rules to Grow Wealth
1. Be diligent in work. Work hard.

2. Be generous - give to God
- give to those in need

3. Invest 10%
- invest in your future

4. Live on less than you WANT.

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth... Prov 10:22

Let's Pray.

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Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079