Jesus talks about…
Mark 12:41-44, Luke 16:10-13
June 9, 2019
Intro: Money is a dangerous topic for pastors to talk about. It is dangerous because the church has a reputation for always wanting money. Let me say God doesn’t need your money. He owns the cattle of a thousand hills.
The church doesn’t need your money either. Why? Because if His people will learn a few things about trust, obedience and dependence on God the church will have the money it needs and so will you. This is not a prosperity gospel message. You can’t just give and think you will have your hearts desire in money. God does give you more than you give. If you give 10% God gave you that and the other 90%. Pray over this, and think about it as you make plans to give next week.
Before I jump into the message full bore, let me say…
As followers of Jesus we must pay taxes.
Jesus ask his disciples whose picture was on their money, They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
We must care for the needy and sometimes that calls for money.
Jesus simply says in Matthew 25 – to those who asked “when did we see you hungry and feed you? When you fed those who were hungry.”
We need to care for our families. We know how to give good gifts to our children. But we must trust God to provide for our family as we are faithful to Him.
If we are going to do these basic things then we need to understand what Jesus says about money and trust. It starts with…
Faithful Living With God
10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Luke 16:10-13
This story begins in verse 1. It is the story of a steward or servant and his master who received payment in produce, for the renting of land. It seems that this may be share cropping. The unscrupulous servant or steward handled his masters money as his own then he took advantage of his master by falsifying the documents that showed what the debtors owed the master. What is odd, is that the master thought his servant was wise, too.
First, Jesus recognizes how the servant planned for his future. He knew he was going to lose his job so he made friends or blackmailed the debtors who owed his master. When he lost his job he could live with the people whom he help and blackmailed.
In keeping with last week’s message this servant was investing in his future. Not an eternity with God but a temporary future. What Jesus was pointing out is that we should be that intentional(not unscroupulous) with using our financial resources in ways that prepare us for eternity with God. Not for our financial security now, but for our spiritual security in eternity.
The best this servant had to look forward to was a place to sleep but when we do all we can do to grow in Christ we have all of heaven and all of eternity to hope for. As we wait for that day, Jesus will bless us everyday, in this world.
Starting in verse 10, Jesus contrasts the unscrupulous servant with the one who is faithful to God. Disobedience in little things means disobedience in bigger things. If we are disobedient with our secular work, what makes us think we can be faithful with what God gives us to be responsible for?
We cannot divide life into segments, with Christ being just one of those segments. If we claim to walk with Christ, He is center of all we do. If we can’t use our money with integrity with Christ can we expect God to bless us financially or to provide for us? Jesus says no. We must trust God with all we have and not put our trust in paychecks, savings, investment or even in the lottery.
We must learn to trust God with all aspects of our lives and that includes how we spend our money and how we use the resources that life affords us. We do that by, doing a good and faithful job at work. Caring for the friendships we develop. Being a good and godly spouse or a parent in our family. We need to live like we are in the presence of God each day and then we will be prepared to live in God’s presence for all of eternity.
If we can trust Him with our spiritual life we will begin to trust God in all aspects of life and that includes our money. Our quest for money is a constant competitor to our desire to be like Christ. It will always lead us to think it is more trustworthy than God. That it provides more security than God. It makes us think that we have to compromise our commitment to Jesus to keep a job or our standard of living. If we do this, Jesus becomes equal to our money. Jesus is our Master, not our money. Money doesn’t decide what we do with Jesus. Jesus decides what we do with our money.
Never become more faithful to money than to Christ . It will fail you now and prevent you from a great eternity with God.
If that was not hard enough God expects..
Total Dependence on God
To what would you give your first dollar? To what would you give your last dollar? The answer to the first question really dictates what the answer to the second will be. As a teen how did you spend your first paycheck? A good time, a new possession, savings, clothes? How about your next paycheck? Now consider what would you do with your last little bit of money? To have one more good time? Buy your last cel phone? Or would you save it?
In the Old Testament God instructed the Israelites to bring as a gift and a sacrifice the first fruits of thier labor. Their first dollar or 10 percent was to be brought to the Lord. Where your treasure is there will you heart be also.
That is where your heart will be at that moment when you have only 1 dollar left. Listen to this from Mark.
41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
This woman had learned to trust long before this day. This woman gave all she had.
I bet you are thinking, “Steve, are you trying to say I should give all of my money to the church’s?” Yes, yes I am? No, I am not.
But this is what Jesus says about money.
This woman laid all she had in God’s hand. She was not instructed to do that but Jesus saw it as an act of complete trust in God.
A one penny offering. Have any of you given a 1 penny offering? Maybe in VBS as a child. If you earned it or you planned on buying something you wanted, and you gave it anyway, it was a big gift from you to God.
Jesus saw wealthy people giving very little of their abundance of money. He saw the widow give an abundance of the little she had. Proportionally the widows gift was far beyond all of what was given that day.
You are thinking how do you give all you have when you don’t have anything else? She may have had a few bites of food at home. But it is safe to say that she didn’t have any other means to purchase anything that she may need for the next day. Is that crazy or is that trust? It is crazy if she had a way to make money and didn’t do it. It is crazy if she spent what she had frivously and now this is all she had left and she was trying to force God to give to her to make up for what she wasted before.
But to have this kind of faith in an act of obedience and trust in God her Father is praiseworthy and something we should practice as well.
Here is another story about trust from I Kings 17:8-16. This is a story about a widow who lived in Zarephath who trusted Elijah who trusted God with all they had. God sent Elijah with nothing and told him that a widow would be a servant of God to him. The woman had no resources in which to help Elijah. She had a little oil and a little flour for one small loaf of bread. Elijah told her to make bread for him, her son and herself. God would then make sure that until the draught ended she would have enough flour and oil to keep making bread for all of them. She first had to use the last bit she had. She had to trust. She did and God did what Elijah told her God would do. It started with total trust.
God provided for Elijah who had nothing and God provide for the widow and her son who had nothing.
There are two more stories that we are familiar with about giving our all to God rather than trusting in wealth, wisdom or effort.
The the rich young ruler who wanted to trust God but wouldn’t do it. He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Luke 18:21 His response was I can’t do that and he didn’t.
And then we have the story of Zaccheus who gave all he had or at least most all he had. He spent time with Jesus and saw that God was trustworthy and Zaccheus wanted to Him. He did! This is what he said…
8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” Luke 18:8
Not only did he trust God enough to give all of his money away he trusted God to provide for him as he began to trust God while doing his job with integrity and honesty. All of this came about because he trusted God completely.
When we trust God with our money, giving is sacrificial, reckless and demonstrates total trust.
Challenge: Faith in Action
I have stated some things that Jesus said about money but we have to put our faith it action. Money in the hands of God can do so much. This widow, the widow of Zarephath, Elijah and Zaccheus put their faith into action and trust God for their financial needs.
It is okay to pay taxes.
It is okay to invest money.
It is okay to save money.
It is never okay to think that your money is yours.
It is never okay to think that you should decide how you spend your money.
You should never trust in your money more than God.
We can trust God to do more with His money, that we are stewards of, than we can on our own.
Jesus does mention tithing but it is in the context of a holier than thou people. The Pharisees tithed to the “T” and would not obey God for anything. They abused others for not being as spiritual as they.
Let your tithe be an testimony of God’s faithfulness to you. Let it be evidence of your trust and dependence upon God. Let it become worship from you to God.
Money in our hands makes us want to hold on tight.
Us in the hands of God allows us to be as open with money as is God who gave it to us.
Is your trust in your money making it hard to put your trust in God?
Today begin to trust God more. Trust God as you give. Don’t hold it back from Him and don’t hold your trust back from Him. Your life will be different if trust God is what you do.