Summary: A stewardship sermon.
“Being Christ to Our Community: It’s in the Way that You Use It”
An extremely wealthy man was on his deathbed.
He called his wife to him and gave her his final instructions.
“What I want you to do is this,” he said, “I want to you go get two of the biggest and strongest bags you can find.
Then, I want you to take those bags down to the bank, open my account and fill those bags with as much cash as they will hold.”
“Then, haul the bags up to the attic and hang them from the rafters.
As soon as I die, I will grab them on my way up.”
The man’s wife did as she was told, and the man died not long after.
Several months after his death, the woman was up in the attic cleaning out some junk when-low and behold-she bumped her head on one of those money bags.
They were both still there, hanging from the rafters as her husband had instructed.
Upon seeing them, the woman banged her fist in frustration and said: “I knew I should have put those bags in the basement!!!”
No matter how many bumper stickers there are that proclaim: “The one who dies with the most stuff wins,” the fact remains that you can’t take your money nor your stuff with you.
There are no storage units in heaven, no banks, no barns.
Last week we talked about how the root of the word “culture” is the Latin word “cultus”—which is a system of religious worship.
So, the culture we live in worships wealth and the pursuit of it.
That’s our world.
It’s where we live, breath and do business.
But just because we live in the world does not mean we have to live according to the world’s values.
And here lies the freedom which is found in putting our full trust in Jesus Christ!!!
In John Chapter 17—on the night of Jesus’ arrest which leads to His Crucifixion—Jesus prays a very intense prayer to God the Father on our behalf.
In it Jesus prays: “they—meaning me and you—are not of the world.
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
They are not of the world even as I am not of it.”
When Jesus Christ was born into our world the very Kingdom of God came and dwelt among us—made His home among us.
After Jesus died and was Resurrected, He sent His Holy Spirit to live in those who believe.
That is you, that is me.
That is what constitutes the church.
In reading the Bible, we notice that Jesus made little distinction between the Kingdom of God and The Kingdom of Heaven or eternal life.
For example, think back on the story that we talked about last week—the story of the Rich Young Ruler from Luke Chapter 18.
This young man comes running up to Jesus asking Him: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
After the man goes away sad because of his great wealth, Jesus says: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
You see what I’m getting at?
The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life are all inter-changable.
We enter when we give up our hold on the “cult” of this world and embrace the way of Christ instead.
Eternal life begins now.
Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me will live even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
Then He asks: “Do you believe this?”
The Kingdom of God is Jesus’ Church.
That is why Jesus taught us to pray: “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
We are in the world, but not of the world.
We are of the Kingdom of God!!!
And therefore, we are to live accordingly.
And so, the Parable of the Rich Fool, which we are looking at this morning is really a parable about how NOT to live as a member of the Kingdom of God—even though it is the way the world teaches us to live.
This guy’s barns are already bursting to overflowing.
And he finds himself in a terrible dilemma.
He has a bumper crop, but has no place to store it.
What a problem he has.
What a cause for anxiety.
And it does cause him anxiety, as money always does.
Those who don’t have enough worry as to how they will feed and keep a roof over the heads of their family.
Those who have too much, are addicted, and like drug addicts they need more and more and more—as they guard what they have as if, well, as if God Himself was a dollar bill, a checking account—you name it!!!