Review from last week:
- Blessed means happy. When God blesses you, He is smiling on you , empowering you, and giving you things way beyond what you deserve.
- A tithe is 10% of your income returned to God for His work. We give this out of appreciation, realizing that all of our income is a gift from God.
- Tithing is taught inside and outside Old Testament law.
- Grace has a higher standard than law. Living by grace doesn't mean there are no rules in your life. You are not obligated to do anything, but your actions always have consequences. You don't benefit when you don't do as God asks.
- Only non-tithers are tithe haters. Matthew 6:21
- Tithing is a heart issue, not a money issue. Matthew 6:21 30% of Jesus' parable are about money. God knows the perception we have about money and how we want to hold onto it.
- God gets paid first: First fruits (Proverbs 3:9-10) and firstborn (Exodus 13:2)
Do you want to experience the fullness of God's blessing for you?
As with the rest of our community, our church is currently having financial challenges. That said, Pastor Miles shared his hope that we will all believe what the Bible says, that God has a storehouse of blessing available to us (Ephesians 1:3) and that we will each pass that on to the church and to the community through our giving. As we have seen many times throughout Scripture (such as the harm that befell the Egyptians while protection fell over the captive Jews), God is the One who decides our course not our jobs, the government, the economy, or anything else.
In today's passage from Luke 16, a boss has a manager to manage his goods. The boss discovers that the manager is stealing, so he resolves to fire the manager. When the manager realizes he is about to lose options and has no further opportunities, he goes to all the debtors of his boss and cuts the amount of their debts, ensuring that he will have friends after he loses his job.When you aspire to a job or a career, you often are required to take a test which reveals your knowledge and skill level in that area. Today's message is a "money test" to determine:
- How faithful you are currently being with what God has given you;
- How your current faithfulness will affect your future trustworthiness; and
- Which God/god you actually serve
1. The "Money Test" will reveal your current level of faithfulness and shrewdness. Luke 16:8-9
Jesus tells this parable in the Book of Luke in order to praise the manager, not for stealing from his boss, for realizing his need to be shrewd, make friends, and prepare for the future.
You may know people who are very hardworking and shrewd everywhere but in their spiritual lives. They may excel in career, education, fitness, or may even contribute to society with private foundations or social help organizations. But wouldn't it be sad if they invested in bettering earthly conditions while neglecting eternity?
God promises reward for using our current resources to invest in eternal things that we can't see. Therefore, let's not waste our time simply being industrious in the world without having any eternal impact. Our money should be a tool for God's kingdom!
Are you investing in God's kingdom with the financial resources He has given you?
2. The "Money Test" will indicate the amount of true riches that will be entrusted to you in the future. Luke 16:10-12
You may say you don't have enough money to give to the church, but this may be why you don't have enough money. In honoring God as the Giver of all you have, you can give Him back the first fruits of that blessing, trusting that He will continue to give you what we need.
Giving the first fruits also trains you not to be selfish. If you are not tithing with the little you have now, you won't give when you have more. You will be living for yourself and you will always believe you need more in order to share it.
But when you do give of the little you have, God will entrust you with more and more true richespeople and eternal relationships (see Luke 16:10-12). Remember, you are not taking any "stuff" with you to the grave. All you will take is your investment in eternal life.
3. The "Money Test" will reveal which God you actually serve. Luke 16:13
Some people think they serve Jesus, but they actually serve mammon.
Mammon is "Wealth"Maybe you have heard that money is the root of all evil. But the root of evil is not money, but GREED or the LOVE of money. (1Timothy 6:10)
- Mammon demands your loyalty and wants to be served.
- Mammon promises to give you what only God can deliver.
- When mammon fails to deliver, it blames God.
- Result: You despise and resent God for your own dissatisfaction with money.
Your god is whatever is first in your life. Must you have a 5-bedroom house? A new car? New shoes? Jesus didn't have these things. If you believe you need them, then mammon has lied to you because it wants to be first in your life.
Are you willing to give up some wealth, a cushy job, or a big house if God asks you to in order to serve Him better? You can't serve God and your greed at the same time.
God wants to bless you even more than He already does. Don't be deceived by thinking this doesn't apply to you. It's time for all of us to examine our hearts and commit wholeheartedly to God, even with our finances.