Financial Survival For Christians: “Go In The Strength You Have”

Title: Financial Survival For Christians: Go In The Strength You Have
Text: Judges 6:14
Time: May 10th, 2015

A few years back I started a sermon series called “Financial Survival for Christians” which has proven to be extremely popular; if fact, it’s the most popular sermon series I’ve ever produced based on views and feedback. Now I’m not exactly excited about the fact that a sermon series on money is my most famous series but be that as it may I’m happy that people are finding it helpful. Obviously people are looking for answers in the area finances, so I’m glad they are looking to God’s Word for help. Today I’d like to talk about how to pay your bills when you don’t see how you have enough money to pay them. In other words, you look at all the bills that are coming due, then you look at the available money to pay those bills, or even look ahead to the income you expect to receive, and the sinking feeling hits you that even then there still won’t be enough to pay them all. What do you do when you simply don’t have enough money to pay all your bills for the month? – I’m assuming you tackle your bills on a monthly basis because that’s usually when bills are due, each month. What do you do when you don’t have enough to pay them all? You have to do something. You can’t just pay them when you don’t have the money. Of course, you could try to pay them by writing out checks and sending them in, but that will only compound the problems when the checks bounce! I only recommend writing a check when the funds aren’t there presently only, and I do mean only, when you are absolutely, totally, 100% certain that the funds will be there by the time the check clears. Otherwise, you will create, like I said, a bigger mess for yourself when the checks bounce. Not a good idea. So what do you do when you don’t have enough money to pay your bills that are due? I was facing this situation one day when I happened to be reading my daily reading of the One Year Bible – which I highly recommend, by the way, to anyone looking for a way to read the Bible on a daily basis because it organizes the readings in manageable portions each day so that you can read the Bible in one year. I came across the passage in Judges 6:14 where the angel of the Lord is talking to Gideon and telling him to attack the Midianites. Gideon objects because he can’t see how he can lead the Jews to victory against the enemy, and here’s what the angel of the Lord says, “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” How is this related to paying bills? Let me explain.

First, as in any area of life, we should do the best we can with what we have to work with. Judges 6:14, “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Life doesn’t always present itself under the ideal circumstances and situations, so we’ve got to be able to look to the Lord and make the best of things. That’s what the angel of the Lord is telling Gideon. “Go in the strength you have.” Now in the context of battle, the angel is telling Gideon to look to God and then do your best, which doesn’t mean that he should rely solely on his own powers, but to take into consideration everything that he has, both natural and supernatural, in order to lead the Jews to victory in battle. Now in respect to paying our bills each month, if we run into a situation where we simply don’t see how we have enough money to pay all our bills, we should follow the advice of the angel of the Lord who spoke to Gideon, “Go in the strength you have.” Or in other words, pay as many bills as you can and pay as much as you can of the bills you can’t pay fully. In other words, go as far as you can go financially. Do all you can do financially after you’ve done all you could do to raise the money to pay your bills. Thankfully, not all bills are due on the same due date; some are due earlier, some are due later in the month. Which ones do you owe really soon, which ones do you owe a little later, and which ones do you owe at the end of the month? Okay, try to pay the ones due early in the month. Can you pay these now? Make a list of all the bills due for the month and then rank them in order of importance. Which is most important, based on what you know of your total situation and circumstances? So make a ranking of your bills. Then pay the most important and critical bills with the money you do have, even though that won’t leave any money, at this point, to pay the bills due later. Try to do the best you can with the ones due now without worrying too much about the ones due later, or the ones that aren’t as important to pay. Note: all bills are in one sense important to pay, but in the grand scheme of things, if you had to skip paying one or more, which ones could be left for later to pay, or even pay late? That’s what I mean. The angel says, “Go in the strength you have,” or in other words, “Go, pay what you can, you can do no more than that.” If you can’t pay all your bills, pay the ones you can pay. Do you best under the circumstances. Go as far as you can go. Play the hand you are dealt, as they say. Do all you can do. Pray, search, work, but in the end, you can only do so much. But do as much as you can. That’s all God asks of us. If you can’t pay all your bills, at least you tried, at least you paid as many as you could.

Second, we should consider all the resources that we have both natural and supernatural. Judges 6:14, “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” The angel tells Gideon to go as far as he can go, do as best he can, play out the hand he’s got, or in terms of finances, pay what you can pay. Isn’t that what George Washington did during the Revolutionary War? If you’ve ever read the history of the Revolutionary War you’ll realize that the colonial army never had enough resources, never had enough money or supply or food. They were always lacking. We’ve all seen the paintings, for the most part true, of soldiers marching in bare feet during the winter, bloodying the ground where they walked because they lacked shoes. I’m sure it was pretty tough for those soldiers. Washington was constantly petitioning for more resources, but there was never enough. Yet, he and these soldiers eventually won the war. How? By going as far as they could go with what they had to work with. If they didn’t have enough food, they had to survive on what they had. If they didn’t have shoes, then they walked barefoot. If they didn’t have enough shelter, then they had to sleep out in the cold. Whatever they needed to do, they did. And in the end, they won the battles and eventually won the war. Well, a second part of the angel’s advice to Gideon was to consider what strength he had. The first part was to go, do, try. The second part was to do so in whatever strength he had. Now to go in whatever strength he had meant he had to think something about what strength he in fact had. In other words, he had to take stock in the resources he had. So in respect to paying our bills when we don’t have enough money to do so, we need to really get a good estimation of what kind of resources we have and what kind of resources we can anticipate we’ll have by the end of the month. Now on a minimal level this means getting an accurate count of the cash on hand. How much do you have right now to pay bills? Then consider what kinds of things that you could do to get more cash. Will you be getting paid soon from your work? When will you be getting paid? How much will this cover toward the bills due? Are there items you could sell to raise more cash? What are the total possibilities for raising the needed cash to pay your bills? Now this isn’t something you can do in one setting. You’ll probably need to pray and reflect a lot on this. But don’t worry because you’ve got the whole month to work through all the possibilities. Pray God shows you how to raise the money. Ask him to show you all your options. In respect to the angel’s words, this is “the strength you have,” or in other words, your financial strength or power or possibilities for the month. So you should exhaust all the options possible, all the ideas the Lord gives you.

Third, we should work out whatever financial plans the Lord gives us to pay our bills. Judges 6:14, “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Are you doing the best you can? Honestly? Are you exhausting every possible, conceivable option in order to raise the needed funds to pay your bills for the month? Has the Lord revealed any plan or plans to get the money to pay the bills? Certainly through prayer and reflection and maybe even asking for financial advice from others, God has given you something in the way of a plan or plans for getting the money. Ok, the final step is to work the plan or plans. Some of the plans will involve time – if you pay this bill a few days late, then you can pay this other bill on time, for example, which will then let you go back and pay the bill due first when your paycheck comes in and at the same time ask them to remove any late payment fee and pray they do, and so forth. So you get an action plan of what bills are going to get paid on time, which ones aren’t, which ones can then get paid later and how to pay them in order to not be penalized to badly. There is a best way of going about paying bills, even if a few will be paid late. So we need to go to the Lord and ask him to supply enough money to pay all our bills, but if for whatever reason we don’t have enough to pay all the bills on time, then we need to have a plan that tells us how to make the best of a difficult situation and at least make the best of it. God can help us in either case. I’ve found that if I make the best of the situation, if I come up with a best-case scenario when I know that funds will be a little short for the month, if I keep on praying and seeking solutions from the Lord, often he’ll send financial miracles to help me out. That is, unexpected resources come in to help me meet my obligations. And he’ll do the same for you if you keep your eyes on the Lord. But the passage we’ve been considering today has been an inspiration for me in tight financial times. What it’s saying is “Do your best in the Lord.” It’s not saying rely on only your own natural strength – after all, Gideon was talking to a supernatural being, an angel! It’s saying to go in your combined natural and supernatural resources. That angel was an encouragement to Gideon because he realized that God was with him! So we’ve got to go in the total strength we have, which includes the power and promises of God. Do stand on God’s promises found in the Bible concerning finances. Do stand on prayer daily. Do your best in the Lord, and he will help you make it one way or another.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not promising you that you’ll always have enough money at the end of the month to pay all your bills. No. You may or may not, depending on how God is going to work things out. But what I’m saying is that God is with you if you are seeking answers from him. He will guide and direct you to solve all your financial difficulties and problems. If you continue to pray about the situation; If you keep the faith and don’t get discouraged; If you look to him for a plan, a way to make it through the month financially, he will help make it. If worst comes to worst you carry over a few bills into the next month to pay them later. Sometimes that might happen. That can be discouraging, that is, not being able to pay each and every bill due for the month, but sometimes it might happen. It’s not the end of the world. The sky won’t fall if it happens. You just do the best you can; that’s all God asks of any of us. I know sometimes small business people get into what is called a “cash-crunch” where they are making money but just not always having income coming in at the necessary time when the bills are due. So there needs to be a lot of juggling going. Some small business people feel light professional circus jugglers as they juggle this bill to pay that bill and so forth. Sometimes that’s what we have to do in order to make it. Thankfully though, for the average person struggling to pay their bills, the total amounts are not usually that great, thank the Lord. We need to keep things in perspective. How would you like to be a big business and have to juggle millions of dollars each month? Now that would be a headache! Thankfully, most people don’t have to worry about raising millions of dollars to pay bills each month. They only deal in the low thousands or hundreds of dollars. But even these amounts can seem insurmountable if we take our eyes off the Lord. But if we keep our eyes on the Lord he will help work through the process of paying our bills until we can get on a firmer financial foundation. Are you struggling today with finances? Does it seem impossible to pay the bills due? Well, look at the words of the angel to Gideon and be encouraged. The Lord is with you and will help you make it. Keep your faith in God and look to him, praying and standing on his promises, and you will make, someway, somehow, you’ll make it. God bless you. Let’s pray.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: