Giving Meaning to Money® Devotional
EDITOR — JON C. WIEBE
WRITER — MATT BELL
Matt Bell is Sound Mind Investing's Associate Editor. He is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, leads workshops at churches and universities throughout the country, and has been quoted in USA TODAY, U.S. News & World Report, and many other media outlets. To read his blog and learn more about his work, visit www.soundmindinvesting.com.
What Will Be Said About You?
March 1, 2019
Last month, we started looking at a series of messages called, “How to Get What You Really Want” by North Point Community Church Senior Pastor Andy Stanley. The series from January 2017 can be found online here, or you can search for “North Point Community Church” through your podcasts app. Discussion questions are also available.
As a brief recap from Messages 1 & 2, “What do I want?” turns out to be a surprisingly tricky question to answer. We’ve all had the experience of getting something we thought we wanted only to discover it wasn’t what we really wanted. A better question is, “What do I value?” because we will never get what we really want until we discover what we value.
Message 3 – ‘Last Things First’
In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” author Stephen Covey encouraged readers to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would want family and friends to say about them. Covey said, “If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you… you will find your definition of success.” If you take this exercise to heart, you’ll probably find that what you want to be said about you won’t be what you accomplished; it will be about your character, how you treated people, how you lived your life, and what you lived your life for.
For Christians, the question, “What do I want?” often leads to another question: “What does God really want for me?” When we bring God into the equation, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking the question is, “What does God want from me?” When Jesus taught his early followers how to pray, he said to start with, “Our Father…” A good earthly father doesn’t want anything from his kids; he wants things for them. The same is true of our Heavenly Father.
The eulogy exercise not only draws you closer to what you really want, it hints at what you were created for. Much of what God wants for us is found in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the spirit.
If you keep digging into the question, “What do I want,” eventually you get to certain character traits; you get to meaning and significance and legacy. It’s in that realm that you may find yourself face to face with the will of your Heavenly Father for your life. What you really want and what God wants for you are closer than you ever imagined. When you discover this — what you really value, what God wants for you — you will be less prone to settle for what you merely want.
Message 4 – ‘Thinking It Through’
In his final message in the series, Stanley taught from Romans 12:1-2. His comments are in parentheses. “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice (Die to yourself and what you naturally want), holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship (In view of God’s mercy and kindness, this is the most logical thing you could do). Do not conform to the pattern of this world (Don’t be distracted by upgrades and experiences), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve (discern) what God’s will is — His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
The culture presses us into the mold of what we want naturally. Yet, when we see as God sees, we are more inclined to do as God says. We can’t just focus on behavior––we have to change how we think. Such transformation does not come about by the commitment of our will, rather it comes by the renewing of our mind through prayer, reading, and meditating on God’s Word.
Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches us to put off our old self and be made new. The old is things. The new is character.
This was a great series for me personally. One of my key take-aways was this: When our lives are over, we're not going to want to be remembered for what we owned. We're going to want to be remembered for our character - how well we loved others, how we lived our life, and what eternally significant causes we pursued.
However, in the midst of pursing what really matters, there are things to buy — some that we need and some that we want — and wonderful experiences to have. As Stanley said, these things are not inherently bad, as long as they don’t become all that we live for.
That’s the challenge, isn’t it? On the one hand, the Bible says, God gives us “all things for our enjoyment” in 1 Timothy 6:17. And it says, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” in Luke 12:15. It’s the tension between living in the world but not being of the world.
What do you really want? What do you actually value? And, what does God want for you?