"I've been at my store for seven months, I make way over $9.75 and I bust my butt everyday and I've earned every penny of it”  Big Box Store Employee 

I’d like to tell you that I’ve always respected money. But that’s not the case. I’ve abused money. Ignored it. Hated it. Pleaded for it. Made some and lost it. I could say I’ve had a rocky relationship with money. Sometimes I went for a long time not talking about it and that’s okay with money. Money doesn't care. It seems like money can just fly out the window and never return.

So, rather than feel rejected by money, I stopped acting like a victim and took action. I really took a hard look at my money habits and considered what I really knew about money. I grew up in a household of mixed messages. This was certainly the case when it came to money. I had my first piggy bank as a very young girl, maybe when I was three or four years old. Saving my pennies was a fun thing because I put them into this neat little bank. But, as I grew up, I was told I couldn’t do certain things because we had no money. Huh? I couldn’t play a sport because of money? Doesn’t that sound crazy?

I was told that if I really wanted something, I would have to pay for it myself. So I began earning money at a very young age. I worked in the barn early in the morning before school feeding calves, cleaning the barn and doing basic farm tasks. I started working at my mother’s flower shop and greenhouse when I was ten. I thrived in the workplace because I knew I was earning all my money and I could spend it on what I wanted! That money was mine!

My parents dropped my brother and I off at Sunday school most of our growing up years. I learned from very dedicated Sunday school teachers that it pleased God to give him a portion—a tenth— of our earnings. I had money. It felt great to give dollars in the plate—not the quarters that parents gave their kids to drop in the brass plate. I was generous with my money and it felt great.

I loved the feeling of being generous with my money. I felt a sense of accomplishment and confidence. I could control it and tell it what to do and where to go. As you may already know, trying to control something or someone never works. Soon, I was consumed with the thought of making more because I spent more. Saving money never occurred to me. I could always make more. My earning theory came to a screeching halt when I was fired from a job. I depended upon money and that experience of having my power ripped away affected me deeply.

Now, I am 50 years old and married for almost 20 years. My husband and I have learned about money together. We’ve learned a lot as we’ve met and overcome obstacles built from histories of bad money decisions. We recognized years ago that our resources really aren’t ‘ours.’ Neither of us earned or deserved or were entitled to them. They come from God. God was our source-not our earning potential nor our job. There was not a special ‘aha!’ moment. Over time, Bill and I could recognize God’s provision or his withholding was the way a great parent teaches about money. As our relationship with God matured, our relationship with money matured. We still have a lot to learn. I hope you will come along and we can all learn together.

This weekend we will talk about the third money myth, “I made this money, it’s mine.” Bring your bible. We will all learn from one of the bible greats, King David. I Chronicles 29 captures the essence of what a great leader or parent can leave as a legacy for the next generation: a healthy respect for all the resources that ultimately come from our God. See you Sunday.

Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great. And to give strength to all. I Chronicles 29:12 NKJV