We want to be all-in for the mission of our church, to provide a way for the lost to be saved. There are many tests or heart-checks to give ourselves along the way, and today's test concerns money. Pastor Miles encouraged everyone to listen and understand so that we can be informed givers, knowing that as we place money into the offering baskets, we are not giving to the Lord, but returning.
Thirty percent of Jesus' parables are about money, and there are over 2000 verses in the Bible that speak to this topic (whereas there are only about 500 about love and 500 about faith).
Thirty percent of Jesus' parables are about money, and there are over 2000 verses in the Bible that speak to this topic (whereas there are only about 500 about love and 500 about faith). Why is this such a hot topic? Money is important to man, and God wants to teach us to let it go. He also wants to grab our attention and teach us about value, stewardship, and spiritual wealth.
What is our responsibility when it comes to money?
- You are called to tithe 10% of your income to the Lord.
- Should you tithe 10% of your net income or gross income? (Pastor Miles asks, "Do you want to bless your net or your gross?)
- Realize how fortunate you are. If you make minimum wage in this country, you are in top 11% of wealth of all the world.
- Do you love God, yet hold back from Him? That's a conflict! God wants you to give freely and cheerfully.
- Tithing all about heart – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
- Financial blessing should come through us to touch others, not to us for us to hoard.
It is also important to realize the spiritual significance of today's teaching in all areas of stewardship: physical and mental health, relationships, resources, talents, etc.
In Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of manager who is found to be cheating his boss. When the boss calls him in to give an account, the manager does something very wise: he begins to line up relationships with his business associates so that when he gets fired, he will have somewhere to turn for a new job.
1. The 'Money Test' will reveal your current level of faithfulness and shrewdness. Luke 16:8-9
"So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly." Luke 16:8
The manager in this story, though cheating his boss, uses all the resources in his power to secure his future. Are you using all of your natural resources, including your finances, to invest in eternal things? Prepare your eternal home by using your earthly life wisely. This doesn't mean that you should give away all you have to charity, but it does mean that you should use whatever is in your stewardship to honor God, further His kingdom, and store riches in heaven. Involve God in all areas of your life so that he can guide you and bless you in all areas.
2. The 'Money Test' will indicate the amount of true riches you will be entrusted with in the future. Luke 16:10-12
"He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." Luke 16:10
If you want to be blessed tomorrow, be faithful today. God monitors our faithfulness. If we are faithful with what little we have, He gives us more. This does not mean that tithing will make you rich. But if you open your hands and acknowledge that it all belongs to God, then you will be blessed, having contentment and joy. God doesn't desire us to hoard away what He gives us, but to serve as a conduit, letting resources, talents, time and finances pass through our hands as a blessing to others.
Think of the Rock's upcoming venture to start new churches throughout San Diego. Are you stuck in a rut of selfishness right now, planning to refuse to budge from your seat in Point Loma? Open your hands and allow God to show you the possibility of blessing you could share and receive by moving to a new campus. Think of how God's word and ministry could be spread – through you!
3. The 'Money Test' will reveal which God you actually serve. Luke 16:13No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13
- Mammon – 'Wealth' – A jealous spirit greedy for wealth. 1 Timothy 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 being unsatisfied with money
Money or having a lot of it is not evil in and of itself. It's the worship of money that is evil. Money will tell you that it can give you security and make you valuable, important, and loved, but that's not true. Only God can do those things. God won't force you to trust and serve Him, but He is very clear that you must make a choice to worship Him or worship the dollar.
So take stock today and be an informed and faithful giver. Don't make God pry your fingers open—open your hand and let it go.