Sometimes we’ll hear talks on stewardship that basically try to guilt us into giving. That’s not our intent today. I want to follow the example of Jesus and remind us how to increase our joy in giving because we know that we are getting more and more for our future.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
For your heart will always be where your riches are.
My heart always goes where I put my money. Our hearts always follow our treasure. Jesus is saying, “Show Me your checkbook, your Mastercard statement, your online banking account, and your receipts, and I’ll show you where your heart is.
Suppose you buy shares of General Motors. What happens? You have an interest in GM. You check the finance pages. You see an article about GM and you read it. Only days before, you would have ignored it. You care about GM because you’ve invested in GM.
As Pastor Randy Alcorn says, “As surely as the compass needle follows north, your heart will follow your treasure. Money leads; hearts follow.” Your heart moves toward what you cherish, and God wants you to move toward Him.
You want to care more about the poor? You want to care more about world missions? Give some money to the poor. Give some money to missions. Your heart will follow.
If you want to have a heart that’s focused on spiritual and eternal things, then reallocate more of your money away from material and temporal things to God’s work.
…where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
Where your treasure is
Series: Cath Lab
(Cardiac Catheterization Lab)
Where Jesus does battle against your heart disease
Texts: Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 12:13-21
A few years ago, I was out running on a cold morning and felt a pain in y chest. I drove myself to the emergency room for an EKG – an electrocardiogram. It turned out that my heart was OK.
Periodically, we all need a heart check – especially a spiritual heart check. There is a connection between our hearts and how we handle our money. We can’t divorce our faith from our finances.
1. Guard against your greed. v. 15
Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
The fight against greed is a constant, ongoing struggle. We must be constantly vigilant against greed. It simply does not go away. Just when we think we have greed licked, Satan will dangle another prize in front of us.
A financial advisor named Ron Blue visited a rural village in Africa. He asked one of the villagers, “What is the biggest problem in your village?” He fully expected to hear about a food shortage or lack of medical supplies. He was hot prepared for the response he received. The man said, “materialism.” He explained, “If a man had a mud hut, he wants one made of stone. If he has a thatch roof, he wants a tin roof. If he has one acre, he wants two. Materialism is a disease of the heart.” You see, friends, even in a place that is completely lacking in all of the luxuries that we take for granted, materialism is alive and well.
A young couple had been married for about a year. They were struggling financially and decided to do something about it. They would develop a strategy. They sat down one day to talk about their finances, and after much analysis, the young wife said to her husband, “If we miss two payments on the refrigerator and one payment on the washing machine, we’ll have enough money to make a down payment on a new television set.”
We always want more that we already have.
“I think I’ll go to Radio Shak and get something that will make me happy.” More square footage will not bring greater happiness. More clothes will not bring greater happiness. Empty lives are still just as empty.
Someone once asked John D. Rockefeller the question, "How many millions does it take to satisfy a man?" The answer was: "The next million."
Write a big check!
Guard against your greed.
2. Give your stuff to God. vv. 16-18
And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ’What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ’This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
He’s not condemned for making or saving money. He’s not condemned for success in business. You ought to be the brightest star in the place where you work. Foolishness is in investing for Himself and not for God.
Do you see this guy’s problem? He had a problem of ownership. “My crops.” “My barns.” “My grain.” “My goods.” He thought he owned it all.
But what’s the truth? We own nothing and God owns everything.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
I Chronicles 29:14
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
Everything under heaven belongs to me.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
God owns everything. I’m His money manager.
That means that we have to adopt a manger’s mentality toward the assets He has entrusted – not deeded over – to us.
A manager manages assets for the owner’s benefit. He’s using the owner’s stuff to accomplish the owner’s purposes. He doesn’t think he owns anything. It’s his job to find out what the owner wants done and then to carry out the owner’s wishes?
This is such a freeing truth.
John Wesley was a great Christian leader in the 18th century. Once, a man rode his horse up to Wesley shouting, “Mr. Wesley, something terrible happened! Your house burned to the ground!” Wesley replied, “No. The Lord’s house burned to the ground. That means one less responsibility for me.”
Was Wesley living in la-la land? No. He knew the truth. God is the owner of all things and we are merely His managers.
Put on some stickers: “Property of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Put it on the Bible? Wallet. Car. Checkbook. House. Purse. Kids.
Give your stuff to God.
3. Fight the “me/more” factor. vv. 17-19
Then he said, ’This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ’And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."’
Did you notice all the “I’s”and “my’s”? We see two “I’s” in verse 17, four “I’s” in verse 18, and a last “I” in verse 19. He was all about my crops, my barn, my grain, my goods, and my soul.
This guy was really wrapped up in himself, wasn’t he? He had a great crop, a great opportunity, so what did he decide to do? Build more and bigger barns so that he could store all of his stuff and more! He gave absolutely no thought to blessing anyone else with what he had received. He simply had more, and he wanted more.
That is the cycle of greed. Once it has its grip on you, it is so difficult to escape. Once you get a taste of something more, you have this unquenchable desire for even more. Greed can never be satisfied. It can never be happy and fulfilled. It can only consume and destroy.
According to statistics from George Barna, many believers here in the US are committed to the “me/more” factor.
• In 2001, 14% of adults who claim to be followers of Christ tithed. In 2002, 6% of adults who claim to be followers of Christ tithed.
• More Americans claim to tithe than actually do: 17% of adults claim to tithe while 6% actually do so.
• 36% of adults in their 30s give to a church in any given month. 58% of adults in their 40s and 50s give to a church in any given month. 68% of people in their 60s and 70s give to a church in any given month.
Hudson Taylor, he great missionary to China, said, “The less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.”
Why does God give us more?
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that…
II Corinthians 9:10-11a
So that what? How will he finish this sentence? “So we can have a lot and show the world how much God blesses His children?” No. He says,
so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
II Corinthians 9:11b
I love the way Randy Alcorn puts it. “God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but my standard of giving.” Why does God give us more money than we need? It’s not so we can find more ways to spoil ourselves and our children. It’s so we can give – generously.
A little example in the book The Treasure Principle helps make the point. “Suppose you have something important you want to get to someone who needs it. You wrap it up and hand it over to the FedEx guy. What would you think if instead of delivering the package, he took it hoe, opened it, and kept it for himself? You’d say, ‘This guy doesn’t get it. The packages don’t belong to him. He’s just the middleman. His job is to get them from me to the person I want him to hand them off to.’ And Just because God puts His money in our hands doesn’t mean He intends for it to stay there!”
Why does he have more that me? Why do I have more than her? God gives out His wealth unevenly not because He loves some of us more then others. He gives more to some of us so we can give it away to His other children in His behalf.
God gives me money not to build my kingdom on earth, but to build His kingdom in heaven.
When I give, it reminds me that it’s not about me. It’s about Him. I’m not the point. He is. I’m not the center of the universe. He is. Giving is not about my increasing my affluence. It’s about increasing his influence. Giving dethrones me and enthrones Him.
Giving is the way we forsake the “me/mine” factor and the way we embrace the “you/your” factor.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
“It is when we forget ourselves that we do things that are remembered.”
Fight the “me/more” factor.
4. Do your living in light of your leaving. v. 20
But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
We should give because we might lose our wealth, right? No! We should give because we will lose our wealth. Either it leaves us while we live or we leave it when we die. No exceptions.
The great leader John Wesley once toured an estate with the proud owner. They rode horses for hours and only saw a fraction of the man’s property. At the end of the day, they sat down to dinner. The owner asked, “Well, what do you think?” Wesley said, “I think you’re going to have a hard time leaving all this.”
If you spend your life laying up treasure here, you’ll spend your life backing away from your treasures. Death will be a loss for you. But if you spend your life laying up treasure in heaven, you’ll spend your life moving toward your treasure. To you, death is gain.
Matthew Henry said, “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.”
I’ve recently been reading the civil war trilogy: Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full Measure.
What if you were from the North but living in the South during the Civil War. You’re going to move back north as soon as the war is over. But while you were in the South, you accumulated a lot of Confederate money. If you knew that the North was going to win and the war was going to be over soon, what would you do with your confederate money? Well, you would cash in your Confederate money for U.S. money because the U.S. currency is the only money that will have value after the war. You’d keep just enough Confederate money to meet your short-term needs.
Listen, it’s all over when Jesus comes back or when you die. Then, this war will be over. And then this world’s money won’t matter. This world’s currency will become worthless. So, the smart investor will transfer funds from earth to heaven. All your investments here will one day take a permanent dive. The forecast is bleak. So, invest in heaven. As Randy Alcorn says, “Christ is unreservedly bullish about investing in heaven, where every market indicator is eternally positive.”
Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases;
for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Now, listen you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Someone said, “Five minutes after we die, we’ll know exactly how we should have lived.” So, why not spend the rest of our lives closing the gap between what we wish we would have given and what we really are giving?
Do your living in light of your leaving.
5. Send your assets on ahead of you. v. 21
So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Don’t miss this. This summary statement from Jesus says that I can be “rich toward God.” If you look at cost-to-benefit ratios, you’ll quickly see that the benefits far outweigh the costs. When you give here, the short-term sacrifice yields a long-term reward.
I hope you are seeing that the emphasis in this talk is not to guilt you into giving, but to encourage you to give because it will enhance your ultimate joy. The sacrifice pales in comparison to the reward.
How can I become rich toward God?
• Give a bike or clothes or tuition to a poor kid.
• Give books to prisoners.
• Give your regular tithe to the church.
• Support missionaries.
• Help to feed the hungry.
• Help to clothe the poor.
• Give to support a crisis pregnancy center.
“Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” A. W. Tozer
Wait a minute. Isn’t it wrong to be motivated by a reward? Nope! If it were wrong, Jesus wouldn’t have given us the opportunity to be motivated this way. Reward is His idea, not ours. He wants us to be rich toward God. He wants us to store up treasure. He’s just telling us to stop storing it up in the wrong place and start storing them in the right place.
Missionary Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Gain is what Jim Elliot was thinking about! He just wanted the kind of gain that he couldn’t lose. He wanted his treasures in heaven.
All this rich fool was thinking about was the “here and now,” not the “here and after.”
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.
George W. Truett, a well-know pastor in Texas, was invited to dinner at the home of a very wealthy Texas man. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area. Pointing to the oil wells covering the landscape, the Texan boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, it’s all mine.” Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of grain, he bragged, “They’re all mine.” Then he turned east toward huge herds of cattle, and bragged, “They’re all mine.” Then pointing to the west at a beautiful forest, he said, “That, too, is all mine.” Then he paused, expecting Dr. Truett to compliment him on his great success. But Dr. Truett placed one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointed heavenward, toward the sky, and simply asked, “How much do you have in that direction?” Then the man hung his head and confessed. “I never thought of that.”
Every day is an opportunity to buy up more shares in His kingdom.
Send your assets on ahead of you.
1. Stop living from month to month. Attend the Money Matters class.
2. Look at your bank statement, your checkbook, your online account, and your receipts to see what your priorities really are.
3. Start praying before you purchase. “God, is this a wise use of Your money?”
A point to ponder: I can’t take it with me, but I can send it on ahead of me.
A verse to remember: Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21
Questions to consider: How will your investments be paying off in 30,000,000 years? What’s it going to take for you to be rich toward God?
Worship is what we do here together on Sunday morning. The forms of worship are teaching and hearing the word of God, praying, singing, sharing the Lord’s Supper, and so on. One of those acts of public worship here at CVCC is what we call “the offering” - a point near the end of our public worship where we worship with our money, by putting it out of our hands and our banks, and into the mission and ministry of Christ.
All of our use of money becomes a manifestation of how much we delight in God above money and things. And that is worship.
This time in our service can be worship for you, regardless of the amount you give if by giving you say from the heart:
1) with this offering, I’m trusting you, God, to meet my needs. You’re my Shepherd and I shall not want. I need not be afraid when I have less money for myself because I’m supplying the needs of others;
2) with this offering, I resist the pressure in our culture to accumulate more and more. I choose to live more simply for the sake of others;
3) and with this offering, I’m saying that my treasure isn’t here. It’s in heaven. Therefore, my heart goes after God.