Summary: This sermon involves tithing on one hand and on the pressures we put on ourselves to purchase things at a discount that actually cost us more in the long run. We need to count the full cost before making a decision.
Being Smart With My Money—What Costs Me The Most
We are in part 3 of our series, Being Smart With My Money. Pastor Kellie started us with What Do I Need, Pastor Toby preached last week on What To Avoid, Next Week Pastor Kellie will be back with What Should I Do, and today I will preach on What Cost Me The Most.
If two cars are sitting on a lot and one is a white 2001 model with 50,000 miles on it and the price tag is $3500 and the other car is the same model but is a black 2002 model with 48,000 miles on it for $3700 which car is going to cost you the most. The truth of the matter is you don’t know. Because the amount you pay for the vehicle is not its true cost. If you want to buy the white vehicle, but your wife has her heart set on the black one, all else being equal, $200 is a very cheap price to keep her happy. I can tell you this, if you get the white one, when something goes with the car she is going to remind you, “I told you we should have gotten the black one.” You need to recognize you are buying more than just a car. You are purchasing what you think of her opinion whether you recognize it or not.
Prayer can change the value of the car. You may be at the lot, and God sends someone who says to you, that white car is my old car, I know it looks good, but its going to need some engine work. You have now been warned that the lower price vehicle is probably going to cost you a lot more.
In our New Testament reading, Jesus emphasized counting the true cost of something before making a decision. Now Jesus was challenging those of us who want to be his disciples, to first sit down and count the cost of being one of his followers. He did not want us to make a decision and then turn around and quit or to only do things part of the way. Our decision to follow Jesus has to influence every area of our lives, including our money.
We have a double reason for doing this series, “Being Smart With My Money.” One is to get you to use your money to help build the kingdom of God which will help you to grow in your relationship to God. The second reason is to help you avoid financial decisions that are going to cause you to waste your money and put you in a very bad situation where not only do you lose your money, you also lose your peace of mind.
Anybody here ever put something in your pocket or in a bag that had a hole in it, only you didn’t know there was a hole in it. You reach for your item and it is gone. How do you feel when you discover the hole and the item is missing?
In our Old Testament reading, the people of God had been captured by their enemies and sent off to a foreign country for 70 years. After 70 years, God touched the heart of a foreign king, and he let all the people go back to Jerusalem, their home, who wanted to go. The people were thrilled to finally be set free. When they got to Jerusalem, the temple had been destroyed and they talked about restoring it for worship. But all they did was talk about it. But God blessed them, and they were able to build fine homes for themselves, they got nice furniture, top of the line horses and donkeys for transportation, and the food was good. People were happy.
But when the prophets said, “now that the Lord has blessed us, it is time to rebuild the house of the Lord”, there was a problem. The people said, “Oh no, now is not the time to be asking for money for the house of the Lord. Let’s hold off on this stuff about tithes and offerings and sacrifices” But then the people began to notice, that no matter how much business they had, they still didn’t make enough money to make ends meet. They found the ground was not producing enough crops. The great weather they had been having, was turning into a drought. The booming economy was now at a standstill. They could not figure out what was going on.
The prophet told them, “God says the reason your bank accounts are empty is that I made it so that whatever money you made, disappeared like putting money in pockets with holes in them. The crops you thought were going to make you money, I blew them away before they took root. The rain you looked forward to having, I shut up in the sky. The clothes you have will not keep your warm. I know you thought you were making money all by yourself, but without my grace and blessings, you have very little to show for all your efforts.