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How to Overcome the Love of Money

How to Overcome the Love of Money by Howard Dayton
stack-of-money

Let’s face it — most people want to get rich. That has consequences I witnessed both firsthand and on a larger scale.

Mike, a close friend, became consumed by a desire to get rich. He finally abandoned his wife and four young sons, and later denied Christ.

Government-sanctioned lotteries and all types of gambling are sweeping our nation. Sadly, there are hundreds of thousands of compulsive gamblers who, in an attempt to get rich quickly, regularly deplete their family income. Their stories are heartbreaking.

For much of my life I, too, wanted to become rich. Not just a little rich, but filthy rich!

I’ll never forget how surprised I was the first time I realized the Bible’s caution against it: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction”(1 Timothy 6:9). This verse declares that those who want to get rich give in to temptations and desires that ultimately lead to ruin. Wanting to get rich is incredibly dangerous, but why?

The next verse answers that question: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 

–1 Timothy 6:10

When We want to get rich, we actually love money.

Dealing with this attitude in my own heart has been difficult. Here’s what I discovered: When I wanted to get rich, my motivations were pride, greed, or an unhealthy urge to prepare for uncertain economic times.

I loved money. However, after I learned God’s perspective, my motive completely changed. I wanted to be a faithful steward, wisely investing the money God entrusted to me. I simply wanted to please Him. I loved God…

Is it wrong, then, to become rich? No, that’s not what I’m saying here.

Many heroes of the faith, such as Job, Abraham and David, were rich. In fact, I rejoice when God enables a person who has been a faithful steward to prosper. Nothing is wrong with becoming wealthy if it is a byproduct of being faithful.

How then, can a believer in Christ overcome the love of money and the desire to become rich? Let me put it in two words: split and submit.

Paul told Timothy to “flee from [the desire to get rich], you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness”(1 Timothy 6:11). When you become aware of a desire to get rich, run from it!

You might begin by analyzing just what it is that triggers your desire.

I discovered a habit of dreaming about wealth when I would take a long car trip. I broke the habit by listening to Christian radio and music to help me concentrate on the Lord instead.

The ultimate way of escape is submitting to the Lord. We can do this confidently because Jesus overcame a huge temptation to become rich. After fasting for 40 days, He was tempted three times by the devil. Here’s the final temptation: “[the devil] led [Jesus] up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory . . . if You worship before me’” (Luke 4:5-7).

Jesus was offered all the kingdoms of the world in an instant. Because of His complete submission to God the Father, He was empowered by the same Holy Spirit who lives in us to resist that temptation.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

–1 Timothy 6:11

I believe that our heavenly Father does not usually allow His children to prosper when they are motivated to get rich. Wanting to get rich—loving money—closely parallels greed. And “. . . greed . . . amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). It is for our sake that the Father protects us from loving anything that would draw us away from Him.

I firmly believe we need to make a commitment never to participate in gambling or lotteries, even just for entertainment. We should not expose ourselves to the risk of ­becoming compulsive gamblers, nor should we support an industry that enslaves so many. We should never work or participate in anything motivated by the desire to be rich.

As men and women who serve a holy God, we are called to be salt and light to a lost world.

In Christ,
Howard Dayton
Founder

 

AUTHOR BIO

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

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Exciting Changes to the Compass Leadership Team

Howard Dayton

As we approach the end of the year, we are grateful for all the Lord is doing through Compass.23. We have momentum, we are growing, and we are blessed with a phenomenal team. Praise God!

  • We now have over 200 resources to help others learn and apply finances God’s way and are in the best position we’ve been to serve everyone, everywhere.
  • We are multiplying with new partners, new customers, and new countries around the world.
  • Our family of supporters is growing and is excited about our vision and progress.
  • We are seeing a transformational impact on families, churches, businesses, and communities, as we do our part to equip them to glorify God through their finances and find the eternal freedom found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Glory to God!

Our progress over the past five years is due to our committed team of leaders, staff, affiliates, and volunteers. Thank you for all you do! As a result, we have the infrastructure and capability needed to serve the market with excellence and are developing strong leaders to lead others in their financial discipleship journey. To ensure we have the foundation for long-term vitality, growth, and sustainability we also created a continuity plan over the last several years. These steps have been important for Howard Dayton, Compass Founder, and we are now prepared to take the next step in our evolution.

It is with this in mind we are excited to share three leadership changes coming in 2024:

1. Effective January 1st, Howard will transition from Chairman of the Board to focus on his Board Directorship, Author, and Study Leader responsibilities. Currently, Howard is writing a biography and a booklet on handling money God’s way in a crisis, and we do not see him slowing down any time soon! His relationship with the Lord is unparalleled and will continue to set the tone for all Compass does. It is through his Christ-Centered leadership we are empowered to advance our vision to see everyone, everywhere manage their finances God’s way.

2. Brandon Sieben will transition from his current CEO role and become Chairman of the Board. We are excited to see Brandon add his expertise to the Compass Board, where he will also provide leadership to help Compass enhance partner and supporter relationships. Brandon’s business background, years of mentoring by Howard, and his time as Compass CEO uniquely position him to succeed in his new role.

3. COO Brian Holtz has accepted the CEO position. His heart for the Lord, time as Compass COO and as a Pastor, and his leadership experience, make him well-suited to lead Compass. As COO, Brian was responsible for ministry operations, making a significant impact while positioning us for the future. His working relationship with Brandon goes back over a decade and provides for a one-of-a-kind opportunity between the CEO and Board of Directors.

Please join us in encouraging Howard, Brandon and Brian in their new roles and praying for continued wisdom and guidance from the Lord. We are excited about our future and all God has planned for Compass!

In Christ,
Your Compass Leadership Team

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Are You the Person God is Looking For?

One evening I received a phone call I will never forget. It was from Allen Hitchcock.

“You won’t believe what just happened to me!” he said.

“I went to my local gas station and pumped $20 worth of gas. When I asked for a receipt, the attendant made the receipt for $25. When I pointed out this mistake, the attendant replied, ‘Oh, just turn in the receipt to your company, and you’ll make a fast five bucks. After all, a lot of the mailmen do that.’”

Like Allen, all of us—the executive, the employee and the homemaker—have to make daily decisions about whether or not to handle money honestly.

Do you tell the cashier at the grocery store when you receive too much change? Have you ever tried to sell something and been tempted not to tell the whole truth because you might lose a sale?

These decisions are made more difficult because everyone around us seems to be dishonest. For example, employee theft in the workplace is around $50 billion a year.

We live in an age of “relative honesty” in which people formulate their own standards of honesty which change with the circumstances.

The Bible speaks of a similar time which was a turbulent period in Israel’s history. “Everyone did whatever he wanted to—whatever seemed right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).

Relative honesty contrasts sharply with the standard we find in Scripture. God demands absolute honesty.

Proverbs 20:23 reads, “The Lord loathes all cheating and dishonesty.” And Proverbs 12:22 states, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” Leviticus 19:11 says, “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”

Unfortunately, all of us are dishonest from time to time; but once we recognize that we have acted dishonestly, we need to do three things:

  1. Restore our fellowship with God.

Anytime we sin, our fellowship with the Lord is broken. This needs to be restored. In 1 John 1:9 we read how: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We must agree with God that our dishonesty is sin and then accept His gracious forgiveness so we can again enjoy His fellowship.

  1. Restore our fellowship with people.

We need to confess our dishonesty to the person we offended. “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16).

This has been difficult for me. After years of avoiding this step, I have started confessing my dishonesty to others.

A person’s lack of financial prosperity may be a consequence of violating this principle. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).

  1. Restore any dishonestly acquired property.

If we have acquired anything dishonestly, we must return it to its rightful owner. “Then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery . . . or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full, and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs” (Leviticus 6:4-5).

Restitution is a tangible expression of repentance and an effort to correct a wrong. If it’s not possible for restitution to be made to the injured party, then the property should be given to the Lord. Numbers 5:8 teaches, “But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution . . . must go to the Lord for the priest.”

I believe we seriously underestimate the impact that one honest person can have. Read Jeremiah 5:1 carefully: “Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now, and take note . . . if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I [the Lord] will pardon her.”

The destiny of an entire city hung in the balance. Its future depended upon there being one absolutely honest person.

You may not receive the acclaim of the media, the business community or politicians, but in God’s economy, your commitment to honesty can have a massive influence on your city.

Will you be that person for your community?

In Christ,

Howard Dayton

Founder

AUTHOR BIO

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

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2 Truths About Money & Possessions

Imagine a cable running through the room where you are now.

To your right, the cable runs billions of lightyears, all the way to the end of the universe; to your left, it runs to the other end of the universe.

Now imagine that the cable to your left represents eternity past, and the cable to your right, eternity future.

Imagine taking out a marker and making a tiny line on the cable in front of you.

That tiny mark represents your brief life on earth.

Most people, however, lacking such an eternal perspective, live their lives as if the mark was everything.

They make mark choices, live in mark houses, drive mark cars, wear mark clothes, raise mark children, and dream mark dreams.

One of the most crucial perspectives for us to embrace when handling money is the reality of eternity; and these two truths will help us gain a proper perspective of our money and possessions:

1. We leave it all behind.

After John D. Rockefeller died, it was reported that his accountant was asked how much he left. The accountant’s response was classic, “He left it all.”

Job said it this way, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there” (Job 1:21).

Paul wrote, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either” (1 Timothy 6:7).

2. Everything will be destroyed.

Earthly goods are destined to be destroyed or become dust.

“The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives” (2 Peter 3:10-11).

The temporal nature of things should help us handle them with an eternal perspective.

I encourage you to actually number the estimated days you have left on earth. This has helped me focus on investing my life and resources in eternally important matters.

Thomas à Kempis, author of The Imitation of Christ, said it this way: “Let temporal things serve your use, but the eternal be the object of your desire.”

In Christ,

Howard Dayton

Founder

AUTHOR BIO

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

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Why Most of Us Are Poor Savers

Our culture screams that we “deserve” to get what we want, and when we want it! That’s why most people are poor savers. Because they don’t see the value in practicing self-denial.

But the Bible encourages us to save: “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20, TLB). 

You may not be in a position to save a lot right now, but begin the habit.

When beginning to save, first focus on saving $1,000 toward one month’s living expenses for emergencies — unexpected, unbudgeted expenses that whack us all. The refrigerator goes on the fritz, the car brakes have worn out, there’s a health crisis in the family. If you have saved for the emergencies, you don’t have to pile up more debt to pay for them.

Joseph saved during “seven years of great plenty” (Genesis 41:29) in order to survive during “seven years of famine” (Genesis 41:30). That’s what saving is all about: not spending today so that you’ll have something to spend in the future. 

The most effective way to save is to make it automatic. When you receive income, the first money you spend should be a gift to the Lord, and the second should go to savings. 

An automatic payroll deduction is a great way to save. Some people save their tax refunds or bonuses. Remember this: if you immediately save, you’ll save more.

The Bible doesn’t teach an amount to save. We recommend saving 10% of your income.

This may not be possible initially. But begin the habit of saving — even if it’s only a dollar a month.

God commends the ant for saving. “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer” (Proverbs 30:24-25, NIV).

We need to think like ants! Even though they are small, they save.

In Christ,

Howard Dayton 

Founder

AUTHOR BIO 

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

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The 8th Wonder

Have you ever seen the Grand Canyon? 

What about the Pyramids of Egypt? 

Or the Great Wall of China?  

These are often referred to as Wonders of the World. 

Wealthy Baron Rothschild was once asked if he had seen the seven wonders of the world. He responded, “No, but I do know the advantages of the eighth wonder of the world—compound interest.” 

And Albert Einstein went so far to say that the greatest mathematical discovery of all time wasn’t E=MC2—it was compounding.

Who do you think would end up with more by age 65? A 21-year-old who started saving $1,000 a year for only the next eight years, or a 29-year-old who saved $1,000 a year for the next 37 years? 

Is it the 21-year-old who saved a total of $8,000? Or is it the 29-year-old who saved $37,000? 

Compounding can be your friend! Surprisingly, the person who saved only $8,000 accumulated more. Because he started earlier, he ended up with $64,000 more.

Understanding compounding is important. There are three variables to it: the length of time you save, the amount you save, and the percentage rate you earn while you save. 

We’ve already seen that the earlier you start the better.

As for the second variable, the amount you can save, to save $1,000 a year means you need to save an average of $2.74 a day. The key is to save consistently. 

As for the third variable, the rate of return you earn, if you invest $1,000 a year for 40 years and earn 6%, you’ll end up with $164,000. If you earn 8%, you’ll have $280,000!

You don’t have to be a world traveler to see the entire list of the Wonders of the World. Compounding is the one Wonder you can see from wherever you are!

In Christ,

Howard Dayton 

Founder

AUTHOR BIO 

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

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Can Money Buy Happiness?

In today’s money, Solomon, the wisest human who ever lived, possessed what would make him one of the top five richest men in the world. 

He lived in a palace that took 13 years to build (1 Kings 7:1). He owned 40,000 stalls of horses (1 Kings 4:26).

In Ecclesiastes 5 he writes, “He who loves money shall never have enough. The foolishness of thinking that wealth brings happiness! The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income.”

Obviously, Solomon was in a position to know whether money would bring happiness, and he didn’t hesitate to say that it does not.

Many people, however, believe you can buy happiness. 

“If only I had a new car.” “If only I lived in that nice house.” “If only… then, I’d be happy.” 

The list is endless. 

The Lord evaluates true riches based on His spiritual value system. Those who are wealthy yet do not enjoy a close relationship with Christ are actually poor. 

Revelation 3:17 reads, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

True prosperity extends far beyond material possessions. True prosperity is gauged by how well we know Jesus Christ and how closely we follow Him. 

It all boils down to this… 

True joy is based on our relationship with Christ. 

In Christ,

Howard Dayton 

Founder

AUTHOR BIO 

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

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Humility

When I was supposed to speak at a leadership forum on practical suggestions on how to live in humility, to say the least, it was the last topic I wanted to speak on. 

It’s OK to have others use you as an example, but it is very uncomfortable to speak about yourself, especially under the heading of humility!

Although that was my initial reaction, I changed my mind after reading the only words Jesus used to describe himself found in Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

If you are like me, you desire to be like Jesus. In fact Paul in Ephesians 5 indicates that we should be imitators of God! How does one get to the place where others refer to them as “gentle and humble in heart”?

As my friend Boyd so eloquently put it, “Humility is a demeanor dependent on the Lord. Gentleness and humility lubricate the relational machinery of a home or enterprise. Gentleness is aggression under the control of the Holy Spirit, and humility is courage that is first committed to Christ.”

Humility is not something that comes with a unique formula or process to attain it; it is awareness that God’s standards of conduct are different and that humility is a condition of the heart!

Philippians 2:5-8 states that our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ who was truly God but did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave when he became human like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God by being willing to die for us on a cross.”

The move towards a humble approach normally starts with awareness that we are not living in a way that brings the most glory and honor to God. The awareness that this is what Christ was like and men like Moses were known for (Numbers 12:3), an awareness that has come through a rebuke about our arrogance or prideful behavior. Awareness, over time, that those who genuinely serve others get better results and tend to have better, more meaningful and lasting relationships!

For me, all of these scenarios were true. I realized ever so slowly that the life God wanted for me was one of submission to Him (He is God and I’m not!) and one that honors others by serving them. Both required dying to myself and adopting a new attitude of daily life. No longer desiring to be served but to seek opportunities to serve others.

I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you daily opportunities to joyfully serve others in order to live a life of humility that God will honor and bless.  

In Christ,

Howard Dayton 

Founder

AUTHOR BIO 

Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.