Summary: Why is it a pastor seems to have your permission to talk about your marriage, your family, your workplace, but when they start to talk about your personal finances and giving there seems to be this real discomfort, and we get the rap right away of always
Imagine we’re worshipping in heaven and you give me a shove, you say to me, “I’m really mad at you”. I say, “Oh, why is that”. Because you never told me how important it was to settle my account with the master. What do I mean? If you look at the parable of the servants in Matthew 25, you see that God gave us the money we have to begin with, and if you read this closely it’s always his, but notice he seems to allow the faithful servants to keep what they are making with what he gave them, but the one who hides it or hoards it didn’t make anything for God from it and has to give it all back. And it is also clear that he gives according to your ability, he doesn’t demand more of you than you can handle, and as you handle little things he gives you greater things.
And God says take it from the unfaithful servant and give it to the one who has the most money. Does it ever bother you that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Now this even relates to last week when we talked about serving because it is here that we hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant”, and it’s about money, and maybe more generally anything that God has given us including our skills or talents.
Why is it a pastor seems to have your permission to talk about your marriage, your family, your workplace, but when they start to talk about your personal finances and giving there seems to be this real discomfort, and we get the rap right away of always talking about money, especially from those outside of the church.
Well, you know we can just say we’re being like Jesus, because he talked about money more than anything else other than the Kingdom of God. 11 of the 39 parables are about money, in the gospel of Luke in every 7th verse on average the subject is money. So if a church talks a lot about money, that’s a good sign that it is speaking from the Bible.
The Bible says we store up riches in heaven for ourselves and one day we are going to be there and going to have to settle accounts with the Master. So as a pastor, I don’t want anyone mad at me because I didn’t teach on this subject. I don’t want to be worshipping in heaven and have you say “you didn’t tell me that I had to send ahead and that’s what they build my mansion with, now I’m living in a box. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Well I didn’t want to intrude into people’s private business, I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I guess I just didn’t have the guts to talk about it and now you have to live in a box for eternity, but at least it’s a heavenly box. Get it? You need to hear that your rewards in heaven are dependent on what you do here, not your salvation, but your rewards.
And maybe you’re OK thinking, “well as long as I’m in heaven that’ll be sweet enough I don’t really need any rewards”. OK, but I would be a bad pastor if I didn’t tell you about it. Just like a bad parent doesn’t give their kids vegetables. This is a spinach sermon.
The Bible says you have a Kingdom account and that will determine the quality of your life in the eternal Kingdom, which begins here by the way. Check you’re other accounts, your vehicle account, your boat account, your golf account, especially if you’re a lousy golfer and go through lots of balls. We don’t have a lot of problems with investing in our recreational accounts, but our Kingdom account is often much smaller. You choose which account is most important, so don’t complain if you’re broke in the Kingdom, because you were more concerned with having a big store house here.
Now I have titled this message “Don’t Tithe”. And before you go thinking that pastor is using his training in counselling and hypnosis to trick us into tithing using reverse psychology, I want to assure you up front that I really mean don’t tithe, and I’ll explain what I mean as we go.
There are many stories in the Old and New testaments demonstrating how important our relationship with money is, not because he needs your money, but because it is a barometer of your spiritual vitality. If God has your bank account, he probably has the rest of you too, and that’s the point, because there was a time when you gave your life to Christ.
Obviously the Bible is a little fuzzy on this subject especially for us who are part of the new covenant with Jesus. Are all Christians supposed to tithe? Off the top before taxes? Off the bottom after taxes? All to the church (ours in particular!) or does that include giving to other ministries? Off of income or off of possessions or off of gifts – all of it?