“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”– Martin Luther
The 18th century was a time of economic and social tension. The gap between the rich and poor was growing wider and more tenuous, much like our own times. In the midst of this, John Wesley came on to the scene with a message of transformation that impacted social, political, and economic patterns of his society.
One of Wesley’s most famous sermons was on The Use of Money. Wesley believed money was a good thing. Wesley declared: “The fault of this world does not lie in the money, but in them that use it … [Money] is an excellent gift of God, answering the noblest ends.” To reach those “noblest ends,” Wesley offered three simple rules that continue to provide a framework for a healthy, productive, and faithful use of money:
Rule #1 – Earn All You Can. Wesley is not telling us to be greedy. Nor is he telling us to cheat our neighbor for financial gain. Instead, we are to earn all we can through honest work.
Rule #2 – Save All You Can. Wesley encouraged people to live modestly and within their means. He encouraged people to use money wisely with an eye on long-term values and goals.
Rule #3 – Give All You Can. Wesley’s purpose was not primarily to raise money for a church, but rather to help people have a healthier view of money so that in giving all they can they would bless others, free themselves of greed, and lay up treasures in heaven.
For many in this congregation, you know the wisdom of these rules as you have lived by them throughout your lives. However, as a new generation comes to age during uncertain financial times, these words can help them navigate their own lives. So pass these rules on to them and encourage them to earn, save, and give. There is great wisdom in this.