Summary: First part of a series on stewardship.
Introduction. Who can tell me the top news story the past two weeks? (this was when the stimulus plan was being proposed) Sure it’s the Economic Stimulus plan. This has been the main item of discussion by congress, the president, and experts on all the networks. The premise is the economy needs help and we can fix it. Each side has issues they support, emotions run strong, and who knows what will come of it? The lesson here is economics is important – important to the success of businesses, governments, and individual families. Misguided or incorrect economic practices can bankrupt an individual and destroy an entire country. Look at Zimbabwe today. A once thriving agricultural economy, known as the bread-basket of Africa is seeing inflation percentages in the millions and mass starvation.
Economics impacts so much of life. I deal directly with economics at least twice each month when I sit down to balance my check book, adjust my budget, and pay the things I owe. I find I must often make decisions, sometimes hard, about how to handle my family’s economics. I’m not always sure what is the best. I venture to guess that you also wonder if you make right decisions and I am sure economics often adds stress to you life. One survey found the primary reason for 50% of divorces was economic pressure. Someone said, “I’m so broke, American Express tells me, ’Leave home without it.’”
Do you know Bible says plenty about economics? In fact, there are over 2,000 passages that deal with money and possessions. Jesus said more about this than any other topic (i.e. faith, love, heaven, etc.). Over half of His parables deal with greed, generosity, giving, etc. God gives so much time to economics because it’s the stuff of life and He does not want you to live under constant stress in this realm.
Today we start a new series: Heavenomics 101 or "God’s take on economics." He wrote the book! Principles of economics are found throughout God’s Word. He gave us these directions because they’re the best for us, they reflect His nature, the help us live free of bondage to things that can distort life. Today we will address the First principle of Heavenomics.
The First Principle of Heavenomics – It’s Not Yours!
(read Luke 12:13-21)
This parable is quite interesting since it redefines what is mine and concludes that actually nothing is. From what my parents leave, to what I go after and accumulate, to my body and soul, everything is God’s. That’s the assertion of the Psalmist in Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein." This is good because if it’s not mine, that relieves me of a lot of the stress and misdirection I face in life. Listen, if it’s not mine greed doesn’t make any sense! Life becomes much simpler and decisions less complicated. If there’s anything we should get out of this passage today it’s that It’s Not Yours and if we get that we get benefits from getting it.
If It’s Not Yours It Can’t Distract You
(verse 13) "Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Here’s a guy in the audience who gets to listen to Jesus teach profound and provocative lessons (i.e. hypocrisy, God’s judgment, hell, man’s value to God, empowering of Holy Spirit) but all he thinks about is the will, and I didn’t get my share, my brother cheated me, I want what’s mine. Instead of seeing Jesus as the Savior from sin, he thinks, "Here’s a guy who can help me get what’s mine!"
1. Possessions distract from what’s really important.
a. They distract us from Jesus. Matthew 13:22 "He who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word..." We get so wrapped up in getting and taking care of stuff that we can’t think of anything else, we have no time to really listen to spiritual issues because we think our stuff or lack thereof is the source or cure of all our problems.
1) External pressures to get what’s mine cause me to walk by sight rather than faith, to miss the internal presence of God and the voice of the Spirit tending to real issues of life (loving God & people).
2) We develop attitudes pursuing stuff that prompt wrong actions and damage relationships. Instead of relating to Jesus as Master and King, we approach Him as Fixer of problems.
b. They distract us from relationships. Possessions, wealth, stuff have a way of coming between even the closest family members. I’ve heard stories about rifts between siblings over what’s left by parents. Husbands and wives split due to disagreements over stuff.