Summary: No man can serve two masters. And the allure of wealth has destroyed the faith of many. So, how can I make sure that my money doesn’t own me? That it doesn’t become my "god"?
OPEN: In 1347, the Black Plague was raging through Europe and thousands of people died. Many people saw it as judgment of God.
And so, hoping to appease God’s wrath, the citizens of Lubeck, Germany surrounded the churches and monasteries of their city and offered them enormous amounts of money and riches.
The monks and priests inside one of these monasteries fearful of contamination, barred their gates and would not allow the citizens to enter. The persistent crowds threw valuables, coins, gold, and jewels over the walls… and the frightened monks threw all of it back.
Money and valuables were thrown back and forth over the walls for hours until the monks finally gave up and allowed the riches to remain.
Within hours piles 3 and 4 feet high arose, and for months following the incident some say for years - the money remained untouched.
Why did the people of Lubeck want to give the money?
They thought it would bring them life.
Why didn’t the monks want the money?
They thought the money would bring them death.
The tragic situation in 14th century Germany illuminates two basic views of money.
1st There are those who believe money can buy them life.
o They believe wealth can buy security
o Enjoyment of life
o Health… and ultimately an avoidance of death (for the healthier you are, the less likely you are to die).
But is that true?
Money can’t buy you SECURITY
Jesus said: “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 moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Money can’t protect you from decay and theft and loss. Nothing you own is safe in this world.
And money can’t help you ENJOYMENT of life.
ILLUS: Ray Stedman spoke often to wealthy people in Florida. Stedman says “I found that most of these, by their own testimony, though they had all the money to buy anything they wanted, had arrived at the place where they were suffering from what someone has so aptly called "destination sickness" -- the malady of having everything that you want, but not wanting anything you have, and being sick and empty and lonely and miserable because you can do anything you want to do.”
And money can’t help you conquer death.
Jesus told this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.
He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ "Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."’
"But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Luke 12:16b-21