Not every time is a “plea” a joke, however. One day, I was stopped in a parking lot by a seemingly sincere man who asked for money for gas to get back home to Knoxville. Since I don’t carry money at all, I told him to drive up the block to a certain station and I would meet him there and get him some gas. I waited at the gas station about 30 minutes and he never showed. But when I returned to the parking lot, he was gone. I assumed he needed money, not gas.
Several years ago, a friend was telling how a prospective son-in-law came to ask him to marry his daughter. Trying to impress on the young man the “high-maintenance” profile of his daughter, the father told him, “You can’t even afford to buy her stockings.” Nevertheless, the couple married and are now proud grandparents.
So when should a person draw the line on desires? When do the maintenance and upkeep outweigh the pleasure and satisfaction? What is the difference between needs and wants? What are the dangers in becoming “house poor?” ... or “car poor?” How many times can we remember having “eyes bigger than our pocketbooks?”
The American dream has become the American nightmare with overspending and overwhelming debt. Those trying to keep up with the Joneses have succeeded — they are all broke.
Does the Bible help us in financial matters? Absolutely. There are more than 800 Scriptures which deal with money.
Jesus himself addressed the dilemma in Luke 16:13, as He warns about becoming a servant (or slave) to wealth (greed) — “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Acquiring debt above the ability to pay can put a person into bondage, which is as much being a servant to greed as is the grasping for riches. Either can consume a person’s life and he will never have the freedom to serve God with his whole heart.
The child of God is not saved to live in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19 tells us, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”
We must remember to whom we belong: “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23).
We find the answer in Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (KJV).”
James defines Christian living as this: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). In other words, stay free so you can serve God with liberty and grace — don’t be a slave to the cares of this world.
God has a plan for every part of a person’s life — even financial. His plans work.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).