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Andy Stanley - Keep Track



Now here's something that you perhaps have heard about before, and if you haven't heard about it before, you're about to hear about it now. And you can talk about this tomorrow at work and people will think you're smart if you haven't heard about this before. Did you know that it's easier to stay warm than to get warm? And the reason you may not know this is because you live in the South, and we're just pretty much warm all the time, and even when we're not, even when it's cold, it's not really cold and the people from the North laugh at us. But people up north, they know this. But it's much easier to stay warm than to get warm, and the reason is because when you get cold, when your body loses its warmth, your body goes into overdrive and it burns more fuel to create more heat, and the blood vessels, you probably know this, at the surface of your skin begin to contract, right? And it reduces blood flow because your body is smarter than your mind, and your body knows, uh-oh, we have to protect the vital organs. And so it really creates stress for the entire nervous system.

So it's easier to stay warm than than to get warm because when you're getting warm, you're burning more calories, you're burning more fuel, and again your nervous system is stressed out. And the same is true for your money. Sort of, we'll come back to that in just a minute. Okay, so we're wrapping up this series, Money Talks, Three things that it would love to tell you. So if our money started talking, what would our money say? And we decided that none of us would be shocked at what our money would tell us, especially if our money was giving us good financial advice. The shocker is the parallel between what our money would say if it could talk and what Jesus did say when he did talk about money and possessions.

So week one we asked the question, what would our money say if it could actually talk and if it actually started talking. And we said our money might say this, I can add meaning to your life, but I am not the meaning of life. And we talked about the face that money actually becomes most meaningful when it becomes a means to an end that's not you. That when we discover what it is we want our lives to be a means to, our money usually follows. So we asked at the end of that session, that first message, we asked this question, to what ends do we want our lives to be a means? And this is a question that all of us, at some level and at some point in our lives should wrestle to the ground. Because your life, as we said, your life will not be meaningful until it becomes a means to an end that's not you. That's what meaningful means. Meaningful means being a means to an end. And when you discover, when you answer the bigger questions in life, your money follows. And your money becomes a means to an end that's not you.

A second thing our money might say, if our money started talking, is this, I'm a better servant than master. In fact, your self control will actually determine which one of us gets in control and which one of us stays in control. Because money woes generally begin with character issues, not money problems. That money woes often begin with our character rather than our income.

So wrapping up today, I wanna talk about the third thing that our money might say if our money were to begin to talk, and once again it parallels exactly what Jesus said when he did talk about money and possessions. And here's what money might tell us, I'm easy to keep up with. I am easy to keep up with, but I am difficult to catch up with. I'm easy to keep up with, but I'm difficult to catch up with. Keep up or you'll be playing catch up. It's a little bit like staying warm. When you fall behind financially, and specifically when you fall behind knowing where your money's gone and where your money's going, you begin to burn more calories, you begin to burn more energy, you begin to get more stressed out, you begin to get more worried. You burn more energy and create more stress playing catch up financially.

And the truth is, and you're not gonna like me for saying this, there's really no excuse for not knowing where your money has been going. There's really not a good excuse for not knowing where your money went. We should, when it comes to money, not love, and not relationships, and not a lot of other things, but when it comes to money, we should never find ourselves saying, well it seems to me, or well I'm not sure, or well that can't possibly be right. And the reason we should never say these things if it relates to our finances is because a certain amount comes in, and then send it places, right? A certain amount comes in, you know how much comes in or you should know how much comes in, and then you or you and your husband or you and your wife sends it places.

So, and I've said this before if it sounds familiar, so consequently, we should all be knowin' where our money is goin', right? We should all know this. There should be no mystery about where you're money's going. There's mystery when it comes to love and romance, there's a lot of mystery when it comes to raising kids, there's a lot of mystery when they become middle schoolers and high schoolers. There's a lot of mystery around certain decisions, but when it comes to knowing where our money went? There should be absolutely no mystery and the problem is, when you lose track of where it's going, when you lose track of where it's going, it takes over. Because it takes over emotionally, and you know how we feel? You know how we feel because we've all been there. You feel out of control, don't you? You just feel like something has taken over and you're trying to catch up.

So, if your money started talking and was addressing this particular issue, your money may say this, look I am easy to track. But if you lose track of me, I'm so easy to track, but if you lose track of me, you will lose your peace of mind. And if you lose your peace of mind for too long, you may feel like you're losing your mind. So consequently, all of us, Christian, non-Christian, religious, non-religious, theist, non-theist, it doesn't matter. All of us need a plan for tracking our spending so we're all knowin' where our money is goin', And this is true whether you have a little or a lot. And the problem is, when I talk to people on the two extremes, the people who don't have much are like there's no point in keeping up because it's hard to keep up.

The people with a lot are like, well I don't need to keep up because I have so much I don't really need to keep up. But what we're gonna discover today, especially if you're a Jesus follower, is that there's every reason in the world to keep up with where your money is going. We all need a plan to track our spending, whether you have a lot or a little. And I'm not talking about a budget, right? Which for some of you is great news because what is a budget? And you're thinking, well I think it's a waste of time. I know everybody should, to some extent, have a budget, but what is a budget? A budget is a theory, right? It's a theory that rarely reflects reality, right?

Now at work, at work you're super careful because at work somebody's looking over your shoulder and at work there's consequences. Even thought there's a little bit of margin at work. But in terms of our personal budget, our family budget, it's a theory that rarely reflects reality. It assumes a specific future, and none of us can predict the future to that level or to that degree. It's great for estimating, but the other problem with a budget is where it lives. Where do budgets live? Budgets live in desktop folders, right? You created it, it was perfect. You did Excel, or you had colors, it was beautiful. You put it in a desktop folder and it has lived there ever since.

It's safe, you know exactly where it is, but nobody looks at it because it's not dynamic. And if you're gonna get this part of your finances right, and I'm gonna encourage you as hard as I can to get this right, you need something more dynamic than a budget that predicts the future that doesn't actually do anything but just sits there and reminds you of what you have or haven't done, but it's not really a reminder because, again, we don't even know where it is anyway, right? You need a simple way, you need a simple way to track your actual spending. And the thing is, it is so simple now there is no excuse for all of us not to do this.

Now, when I say simple, I mean it's really simple because I'm thinking back to when Sandra and I first got married. And this had been a habit in our marriage for 30 years. We've been married 30 years, we did this from the very beginning. And 30 year ago, we used, some of you have never seen this before, in fact for some of you this is just a desktop, or a wallpaper. You didn't know this was a real ting. We used graph paper. You remember graph paper? You get a pad of graph paper. Some of you are shaking your head like really, that was a real thing? Yeah it was graph paper, and we on the left, down the left we put all the categories. And every time there was a new category, we'd put a new category. Then across the top we put all the dates in the weeks and the months, and we would literally, every single week, I would try to do it every day, she would do it every week, we'd get out our receipts, we'd look at how much we spent.

And we would take a pen, you remember those? Not Apple pencil, like a pen with ink that run out? Yeah. This thing, you remember? Or this thing, you remember? And we would actually write down every day or every week what we spent in the category. It was so onerous, but we did it every single year, year after year after year in our marriage. It is one of the two, it is one of the two best habits that we established and we've been doing it ever since. And every once in a while, Sandra and I will have this discussion and she'll say, do we really need to keep doing this? And I'll say you know, this is so detailed and every time we sort of decide, are we gonna keep doing this?

We decide to keep doing this for two reasons. Number one, I'm gonna share with you in just a second why we keep doing it. But the second reason, and I always tell her this. I say, yeah, I we quit doing this then I can't get up and tell everybody in our church they need to do it. So for the sake of moral authority, I'm gonna keep doing this so I can say I'm not asking you to do something we don't do even though we're married 30 years and honestly, it's not as, it doesn't seem to be important as it was in the beginning. But it's very important for us at this season of life and I'm gonna explain why in just a minute. But if you will develop this habit, and I'm gonna give you a specific challenge in just a minute. If you will develop this habit, then there's no guessing, there's no seeming, and there's less wondering, and there is actually less worrying. Because, and I made this up myself, when you know, when you know you're gonna log it, you're more inclined to hog it. You like that?

So last night we were talking about this, Sandra said that's not good, okay? The word hog sounds like you're being selfish. So she came up with one. So this is ger version of the same thing. Okay, you can decide which one you like. Hers is this, when you know you're going to record it, you'll be more inclined to consider whether you should afford it. So let me see a hand, now okay. Oh you like that better? This is what you do when you're empty-nesters. You sit around and try to make the sermon rhyme, okay? Now, I almost made a mistake at this point in trying to figure out how to say this. I was gonna say, don't raise your hand, I was gonna say it's kind of like keeping track of what you eat, and then I was gonna say, don't raise your hands. I was gonna say, how many of you have ever downloaded one of those apps where you log in everything you eat? And I thought, people shouldn't raise their hands for that. But how many of you have downloaded an app where you log in everything you eat, yes?

I like, this is good, I like that you raised your hand like this, like your were kind of worshiping and admitting at the same time. Yeah, it's kind of an okay, I'm giving it up, yeah. So I have, too. You know it's a great thing. And when you use one of those apps and you think okay, I'm gonna log everything I eat, and you know some of the apps will tell you how many calories, some of 'em you kind of have to figure it up. Then you kind of get in a rhythm 'cause you sorta eat the same things all the time. And what happens when you do that? A lot of you have done this. You realize every time you're about to eat something, you think, oh I'm gonna have to log it. Ooh, I don't wanna log that. Or you do what I did. You're just like okay, well I've got 600 calories left, and if I just don't eat any of these 600 then I can have like an ice cream cone and it's about 800, but anyway.

So you start playing these games. But what happens? It slows you down, doesn't it? You consider, in fact, then you start finding out how many calories foods are, you just, it becomes a little bit of a game. You're more careful, why? Because if you know you're gonna log it, you know you're gonna sort of protect those calories for something better or for something late to make sure you don't go over your 4,000 calorie limit every day, right? Or 3,500, whatever your calorie limit is, right?

Now, in the paycheck to paycheck seasons of life, and for many people and for most people, that's our whole lives, right? But in the paycheck to paycheck seasons, this is so important. This habit actually takes pressure off. This habit takes pressure off because it takes the guesswork out. It's easy to know where to cut back when you have to cut back. It's easy to know where to cut down when you have to cut down. And there were two seasons in our lives as married couples where we had to take significant steps back financially. And going backwards financially is not easy. I don't care how spiritual you are and how mature you are, it's just not easy when you realize, uh-oh, we've got to spend less. And this happens to everybody. You go from two to one income, you lose a job, you move, there's a setback, you decide you one of your kids decides to go out of state to college, and it's like oh my gosh.

We're gonna have to make cuts. But here's the thing, it's never, never easy to go backwards. But for us, in both of those seasons of our lives, it was so much easier because when we, we didn't pull out a budget that we had to find in a file. We were able to say, this is actually how much we actually spend in all of these categories. Where can we cut back? And there was stress in terms of having to cut back, but there was no stress between us because there was no, well it seems to me, well it seems to me, well it seems to me. In fact one year, Sandra still laughs about this. I forget how many years we've been married. One year, well 'cause at the end of the year we would look at all this stuff. One year, and she's here today, one year, that's the only reason I'm sharing this, one year, I spent more on clothes than she did.

And that's embarrassing to admit, I know. "Whoa" is right. But if you had asked me, if you had asked us who spends more on clothes, I'm like, really Sandra, you need to cut back. Oh really, well actually you spent more than me. Because I bought two suits one year. I've never worn 'em, but I bought, I bought two suits and you know, she's kind of buying little things all along the year and she's a good shopper and I'm like, whatever just get it. You know, so anyway. So it took all the guesswork. So when we had to step back financially, it wasn't easy. But it was easier because we knew where our money was actually going.

So in the years where you're kind of paycheck to paycheck and things are tight, this actually makes life easier and it takes the pressure off. But, and for most of us today, probably listening, and for most of us in the room, in the years of plenty where there's margin, and again we never feel like there's plenty, but there's plenty more. There's a little bit more margin. Things aren't so tight. In the years of plenty, this habit actually puts pressure on. And here's what I mean by that and this is why this is such a good thing and this is the second reason we haven't given this up as a couple. As you accumulate more and more and as you make more and as there's more and more margin, when you keep track of where your money is going, you are confronted with how much you are spending on you. And you are confronted with how little you actually give. And it's embarrassing, but it can be motivating, and it can be inspiring.

And for some of you, it takes the fear away of being more generous because you always feel like things are tight. And one of the reasons you feel like things are tight is because you don't know where it went. But one you know where it's going and once you get in the habit of looking at it, it will actually keep a healthy pressure on you. Because the more you have, the more you have and them more you make, the closer attention you should pay to where it's going. Not because you have to, but because as we're about to discover, it is actually in your best interest to.

It's in your best interest to, because to borrow from something Jesus said, here's what he said. He said, If you're not careful, those of you who have extra, those of you who have more, those of you who don't necessarily have to be as careful as you should, if you are not careful, you will begin to horde for the future. You will begin to store up treasure on earth, and it will be a source of embarrassment later. Because let's face it, human nature is this, when you have more of something than you need, you're just not careful, right? When you have more of something than you need and when you have, when there's plenty, you're just not careful. If you don't have to be careful, you're not careful.

This is why you leave the sink running and you go over to the refrigerator to get something, water just runs and runs and runs. It's why you wash your car and you know, you couldn't get the thing to screw, the handle to screw on so ah, forget that, and you just let it kind of spill off into the grass. We let water run all the time, why? We have way more water than we need. It's like water, water everywhere. I mean we don't have to be careful with water. There are places in the world, many of you have visited those places, if they saw how much water we were careless with in a day, they wouldn't even have a category for that, why? Because it's scarce. But when you have more of something than you need, human nature is, since I don't have to be careful, I'm not gonna be careful. But if you're a Christian, if you're a Jesus follower, when it comes to your money, that cannot be a factor. That cannot be a reflection of the reality of what you do with your money because of what Jesus taught.

So here, I'm wanna give you a little challenge, okay? I gave you a challenge last week. I wanna give you a challenge this week. The challenge is this, just for two months, okay? I wanna challenge you to figure out way to document your spending for two months. Just two months, okay? I want you to spy on your money. I want you to follow it. I want you to see where it's going, what it's doing. Create a Google Doc, share it with your husband or your wife, or not, or share it with a roommate or share it with a friend. You know, share it. And the thing is, this is so easy. You don't have to buy any graph paper. You don't have to use a pen. There's so much free software, there are so many apps to do this with. So many of you use the Cash app and Venmo. It's easy to see exactly how much you spend, it's easy to track that. It's just so easy. I just want you to do that for two months, just log it.

And then the second thing is, I just want you to at the end of those two months to sit down and look at it. And then adjust if necessary. For some of you, you're gonna be thrilled. For some of you, you're gonna be shocked. Now if you're married, one of you hates me right now, and the other one wants to come up here and hug me right now. I understand that because opposites attract, right? And somebody's siting here going, this is like my favorite sermon ever. I'm not even a Christian, but I love this guy and this church, right? 'Cause she's, you know, or you're watching and it's like, why isn't he here to hear this? I get that, opposites attract. So don't make a big deal out of this. Don't commit for the rest of your life. This isn't forever. Just for two months, especially if you've got kids and you've got a family, get your kids involved. Just for two months, just track your spending. And then sit down and look at it.

Now one of the objections I get, or one of the responses I get whenever I bring this up is, and it's always the same credit card that gets mentioned, so I'm just gonna use the credit card I always hear. People say, well that's probably a good idea, but Andy, it all shows up on my AmEx bill. I mean I just use AmEx for everything. I use American Express for everything, and it just shows up. Okay, that's not my point. Knowing you can know is not the same as knowing. And the fact that you have access to how much you spend is different than sitting down and looking categorically at how much you spent in each category. So the good news is, if you spend, if you use AmEx for everything, guess what? This should be easier for you than the rest of us. So you have less excuse, okay, to sit down at the end of two months and categorically look at, and sit down with your husband or wife, with your family, or if it's just you, and say okay where did my money go?

Now, you're thinking this isn't much of a sermon, but it's certainly practical. Yeah, this is good, practical advice. And I didn't make any of it up. I learned this from other people through the years. But here's the thing, if you're a Christian, if you're a Jesus follower, this goes way beyond practical, and this goes way beyond helpful. Because Jesus actually talked specifically as to why this is such a big deal. And here's why I say that and here's why I want you to take this extra seriously if you're a Christian, and it goes a little bit back to something I said last week. You're betting, think about this, you are betting your entire eternity of John's word. John who wrote the gospel of John and he was there when Jesus was having a conversation with Nicodemus and he tells Nicodemus, "You must be born again".

And later as an older man, John is recording this conversation and as he's recording the conversation, it's like John gets so exited he's like, I just want my readers to know exactly what Jesus was saying because we weren't sure we understood it, either. And Nicodemus didn't understand it, but now on this side of the cross, on this side of the resurrection, it's so clear. And John kind of breaks into the conversation and he writes these words that many of us memorized as children. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever places their faith in him would not perish," would not fall away from God, would not be lost to God, "but would have eternal life". And many of you, if you're a Christian, you prayed some sort of prayer as a child or teenager or college student or maybe an adult, and what you said is, God I believe Jesus is your son and I'm trusting you through him with my entire eternity.

So you've already trusted the teaching and the words of Jesus for your eternity, right? And beyond that, you've actually defined your relationship with God based on Jesus' invitation to address him as father. That many of you, when you pray, you being your prayer, "Dear Heavenly Father". And the reason you do that is because when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said when you pray, pray like this. "Our father who is in heaven". Besides that, he said your father, your heavenly father, knows what you need before you even ask, and you've accepted that. So you've trusted God with your eternity. You've defined your relationship with God based on what Jesus taught. So, why? Why would you, why would I, why would we not lean just as heavily on what he said about money and possessions?

I mean, when you're sick you ask him to intervene in your health. When your children are prodigal, you ask him to intervene on behalf of your children. When your children are about to go away to college, you pray for God's protection. In other words, if you're a Christian, you invite God in on everything you can invited God in on. Why in the world would we hold back when it comes to our money and our possessions? And let me answer that for you. Because on all those other categories, you have no control over them anyway, so it's easy. And number two, many of those categories you can't see, and this is why Jesus is so brilliant. This is why I believe the New Testament actually reflects his teaching. This is why he's the master teacher, the master storyteller, and even if you're not convinced he's the son of God, it's why you should lean into the teachings of Jesus. Because Jesus, 2000 years ago, knew your money and your possessions is where the rubber meets the road in terms of your ultimate devotion. And it's so much easier for you to give your heart to Jesus than your money to Jesus.

So when Jesus started talking about where your heart is, there your treasure will be, also, and the ultimate measure of the litmus test, if your devotion to God is what you do with your money and a person can't have more than one master, if you're gonna serve God or the Devil? Nope, God or Money, why? Because he knew this. And so over and over and over he says, come on, you're gonna trust me with your eternity, your health, your children, your marriage, your singleness, your joblessness, your opportunities. Why would you hold back when it comes to your money and your possessions? It doesn't make any sense, does it? And what did Jesus say about money and possessions? He was so clear. He said this, it's not even yours. It belongs to my father in heaven. You're not an owner, don't kid yourself. You're a manager.

In fact, in Matthew 25, Matthew was the tax collector who followed Jesus, such a cool story, right? Matthew follow me. Where are we going to, your house? It was such a great story. Matthew the tax collector followed Jesus. His gospel associated with his name, he records a bunch of the parables of Jesus. And Jesus' parables for the most part, explain how heaven meets earth. They explain the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God isn't some place you go someday. The kingdom of God is the value system of God that touched down on planet earth in Jesus. And Jesus' parables constantly said, here's what the kingdom of God looks like when you live it out on planet earth, when you live it out in your life as a teenager or a single or a married adult or a senior adult. And over and over and over, these parables would intersect with the topic of money and possessions because he knew this was such a key area for us to follow him.

So in one of these parables, it's one that if you grew up in church you've heard before. Here's how Jesus begins this particular famous parable. In fact, it's so famous, I'm not even gonna read the whole parable. I'm just gonna read the first part of it. Here's what he said. He said, again, because he's talking about something he's talked about many times, again it, the kingdom of heaven, the value system of God that he wants lived out on earth, again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.

Now in a parable, as you hopefully know, if you've been around for a while, a parable, there's always a God figure and there's always an us figure. Somebody in the parable represents Jesus' audience, somebody in the parable represents God the father. And if you read this whole parable it becomes clear that the wealthy man who is entrusting his wealth to these servants is God, and the servants to whom the wealth is entrusted is me and is you and is the followers of Jesus or the potential followers of Jesus. But here's the question that's not a trick question. What percentage of the man who bestowed his wealth to the servants, what percentage of the wealth belonged to the man? All of it, exactly, 100%. And what percentage belonged to the servants? 0%, exactly. And I'm not, even I can do that math, right? It was all the master's and he said, I'm gonna give it to you.

And if you read this parable, it's kind of interesting. He gives one guy five bags of something of value, another person two bags of something of value, and the other guy got one bag. And he said now, while I'm gone, I expect you to go do with my wealth what I would do with my wealth, and when I get back I hope to have a return on my money. I want you to manage it the way you think I would. And when I get back then I wanna know what kind of return. So I want you to work on a return so that when I return I get the return on my wealth. And if you remember the parable, or if you read it, you should read it later. Two of 'em do really well. They go an basically double their master's money. And then one of 'em doesn't do so well, he buries it.

But the point of the parable is this, do you remember the difference? Do you remember what made the difference in the outcome of the story? Do you remember what made the difference when the master returned and asked them to give an account? The issue was not the amount each of them were asked to manage. The issue was what they did with what they were asked to manage. And the point of the parable that Jesus is making is, that 100% of it belonged to the master, and 0% of it belonged to the servants. They were managers, not owners. This is one reason, and some of you have asked about this through the years, this is one reason I don't preach heavily on the tithe.

A lot of churches are all about tithe, tithe, tithe, tithe. Give 10% to God and here's why I don't teach the tithe specifically. And I've tithed plus all my life, 'cause I was raised that 10% goes to God. But here's why I've never pressed that hard at any of our churches. Because the idea of a tithe leaves the false impression that 100% of it's yours, and if you're a really good Christian, you're going to give 10% of it to God. And then when you give your 10% to God, God is so happy. He's like, what? Thank you so much! You gave me a dime out of that dollar. I don't know, I mean your crops are gonna grow. I mean, I'm just gonna bless you. Oh my gosh, you gave me a dollar out of 10. Then you gave me 100 out of 1,000. Then you gave me 1,000 out of 10,000.

And that's generally where it stops for most people, right there. Once they get two circles at the end of a one or a two or a three or the four, they think, you know what? I'm giving so much more than most people and when I think about what I could have done with that money, and that's where it ends. And God's going, seriously? You're hung up over a zero? You think that' a lot of money? Okay, wait, wait, wait, you think that's a lot of money? And so what happens is we, tithing gives the impression that it's ours and we're giving some to God.

So just so you know, and if you're not a Christian, this may be new news, this is something to think about, Jesus did not teach that. Jesus didn't even hint at that. Jesus showed up an said, the kingdom of God is like this. It's like someone who allowed someone to, a wealthy man who allowed someone to manage some of his money. It was all his, they managed it, then they had an opportunity to give an account about how well they did and what they did with the wealthy man's money. It's all his. And here's the great news about that paradigm, and that idea, and that picture, and that approach, and again, Jesus, so brilliant You see, no matter how much money you have and no matter how much money you make and no matter what you possess, you should never ever, ever, ever feel guilty and you should never allow anyone to make you feel guilty.

And here's why, Because money manages don't feel guilty. It's not their wealth. Money managers feel responsible and accountable for how much of it? For all of it. This was such a paradigm shift in the first century. And it's a paradigm shift that the church struggles with and continues to struggle with. But Jesus could not have been any clearer. The reason you should keep track of where your money is going, it's not your money. We should be knowin', we should be knowin' where our master's money is goin'. So you should pay attention. And the more you have, the closer attention you should pay.

So create a system. Just do this for two months. Create a system where you monitor where your money goes, and then sit down and look at it. Stop every once in a while and just take a look. And if you don't like what you see, adjust. And if you realize, good grief, how could two people spend that much money on themselves? Good grief, how could one person eat that much money? How could one person wear that much money? How could one person spend that much money on travel? Oh my goodness, this is embarrassing. And then you adjust because, and this is the bottom line, this is throughout the teaching of Jesus.

And this may seem one sided, this may seem too heavily weighted on the side of money and possessions, but I would challenge you to read the gospels and read the parables. How you and how I, how we manage our money speaks volumes about who and whose we are. Here's how you know this already. It's not because of what you do with your money that convinces you of this. It's people you've met along the way, because you have met some very generous people. You've met some generous people who had a little, who had a middle, and who had a lot, right? And when you saw what they did with their home, when you saw how generous they were with their car, when you saw how generous they were with their possessions, you walked away from those conversations or those encounters thinking, wow, that person is the real deal.

I can't hear their prayers. I don't know about their secret habits. I don't know what happens behind closed doors. I don't know how they parented their children. I don't know what's going through their mind in church. I don't even know their church attendance habits. I don't know any of that. But my goodness, they are the real deal because of how they manage their money and their possessions. And Jesus, so brilliant, knew the very same thing. So how you manage your money says so much. It says probably more than anything else about who and whose you are.

So come on, pay attention. If you pay attention, you will live better, you will love better, you'll definitely be more generous. You will have less fear and you will have far more purpose. If our money could actually talk, what would it tell us? I think it would begin with telling us, hey, I can add meaning to your life, but I'm not the meaning of life. Our money would tell us, I'm a better servant than I am a master. That ultimately it's your self control that determines which one of us gets in control. Our money would tell us, hey, I'm actually pretty easy to keep up with, but I am difficult to catch up with. And you will stress yourself out if you lose track of me. And then ultimately, reflecting the words and the teachings of Jesus throughout his ministry, what you choose to do with me speaks volumes, speaks volumes about who and whose you are.
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