Summary: In this message we are considering how God blesses us with abundance in order to reveal our inner character.
Last week we discovered that the most expensive piece of property on the planet was the cemetery because it was the place where unrealized dreams, unsung songs, unwritten books, unbuilt churches, etc, resided. As we considered the actions of the man who sold everything in order to purchase a piece of property that held a buried treasure we were confronted with a painful reality - If we bury our treasure someone else will eventually receive the blessing. If you missed the message or would like to hear it again you can download the message at www.Umatter2GodandUs.com. Today we will continue our journey of discovering the hidden treasure of Christian living by considering another reality - God blesses us with abundance in order to reveal our character.
My financial intelligence is not the result of being raised by parents who survived the Great Depression. My financial intelligence is the result of growing up in a family that did not have wealth or squandered wealth because of poor management skills. The point is that when the money seemed to come in the form of abundance it was easier to save and to be honest that savings is what helped us when Matthew was born and Jackie stopped working and helped when I found myself unemployed.
So let’s imagine that your retirement is producing a living income of about $2,500 a month. Now rather than ask you what you would do with that extra income let me tell you that you took responsible action - you put it into a savings account, to serve as a safety net.
I am pretty sure all Christians want to hear well done good and faithful servant. I am equally certain that none of us wants to hear God call us fools or morons. So how did the rich man fail this test?
Recall that the story Jesus tells is set-up by a brother complaining about another brother’s unwillingness to divide the inheritance appropriately.
The rich man did not fail the test because he was greedy. The farmer practiced the discipline of farming consistently. Each day he would show up and do the work of a farmer. He did not really fail the test because after producing a bumper crop he decided to build a bigger barn for his bumper crop.
He failed this test because he did not realize it was a test. He believed he was the source of his bumper crop. The land he worked was not his land, but God’s land.
He failed the test because he asked the wrong question. Recall his question following the production of a good crop, “What shall I do?” Again this is another example of an ownership conflict - The rich man believes he is the owner of the abundance because it was his work that produced the crop. Unfortunately, he is not the owner, he is a steward who has performed exceptionally well for his master, he has produced a bumper crop. The correct question would be - “God what do you want to do with this bumper crop?”
He did not have a strategy on how to share his inheritance with others. God says to the rich man, “Who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” The rich man’s inability or unwillingness to make a plan reveals the self-centeredness of his character. Perhaps he thought - I paid my dues, I started with nothing, why should the next generation have it any easier than I did? Apparently in God’s economy He evaluates our success by the way we use His treasure for the benefit of others.
I have tremendous confidence that like me you want to pass this test. It is important for us to understand this is a test to reveal our character when we are experiencing a time of abundance in our life. Next week I will challenge us to see another test that God uses to reveal our character - what we do when we are experiencing deficits in our life.
First - We must never forget that our abundance is first and foremost a gift from God. Typically we experience these gifts because we have done the right things consistently which end up producing desired results and it can lead us towards a false conclusion - my results are evidence of my work and discipline. No the results are God’s gifts to the servants who do the work expected of them in a disciplined and consistent manner.
Second - When your work, your efforts produce an abundance it is expected that you will ask God - What do you want to do with this abundance? Several of you spoke to me last Sunday regarding my $100 bill story. You resonated with my point - “The money did not belong to me?” This is how we pass the test when we remember that God is the owner of the abundance, therefore it is God’s call to make.