Summary: Does your family know where their money comes from? Does your family know where their material resources come from? Just like everything you are, and everything you have—it all belongs to the one who created it in the first place. The responsibility of
Well, we have reached the last message in this Faith and Family series. Over the past six weeks, we’ve talked about some sticky subjects. We’ve talked about submission. We’ve talked about sacrifice. We’ve talked about the covenant nature of marriage. We’ve talked about sex. We’ve talked about divorce and discipline and responsibility and forgiveness. We’ve covered some tough topics. This morning is no different. As a matter of fact, the subject of this morning’s passage has the potential to make more people mad than any of them. Because this morning, we’re talking about money. Now, why is that? Out of all the subjects we talk about in church, why does money seem to be the most sensitive? Maybe because it’s an indication of where our treasure really lies? Maybe it tells us what’s really important to us? Is money important to us? Of course it is. Should it be? Of course it should be. Money is what we use to provide for our families. And the Bible says that a person who doesn’t provide for the needs of his family is worse than an infidel. A large majority of our lives are spent either earning or spending money. And when you spend that much time on something, it has to be pretty important to you. When we work hard for something, we want to keep it. We look at it as OUR money because we’ve worked hard for it. And when something is ours, we want to hold on to it or use it for something that we want. But here’s the bottom line—it isn’t yours. Just like everything you are, and everything you have—it all belongs to the one who created it in the first place. You have no right or claim to anything you have. All you have is stuff that you have been given temporary custody of. And with that temporary custody comes the responsibility that goes along with it. The responsibility to use it wisely. The responsibility to use it according to God’s purposes for it. The responsibility to be a good steward of the good gifts that God has provided you with. Where does that all start? It starts in the home. It starts in your family. Does your family know where their money comes from? Does your family know where their material resources come from? My kids have never been raised on a farm. All their lives, they grew up in housing developments in military towns or in base housing. Because of that, when they see hamburger meat, they think it came from the grocery store. When they see milk, they think it came from a carton. When they see those things, they don’t even think about those things coming from a cow. So, how will they know unless I teach them? The same thing happens when we talk about money. Where does your money come from? Does it come from a paycheck from your job? Does it come from the bank? Does it come from the checkbook or credit cards? Is that all your family sees? Or do they know that it all comes from God? How will they know unless you teach them? That brings up the next question—how do you teach them? Do you teach them by telling them? Or do you teach them by showing them? You can tell them that it all belongs to God all day long—and you should. But is that teaching them? No—teaching them is showing them. And you show them by the way you let it go. You show them by the way you freely give of what the Lord has seen fit to give you temporary custody of. This passage isn’t written in the specific context of the family. But the family is where we deal with our finances most. It is the place where we set our financial priorities and where we pass those priorities on to our children. It is the place where our stewardship is most evident. So, understanding that, we’re going to look at this passage and ask it three questions. We’re going to ask it: How should our family give? What should our family give? And why should our family give? The first question we’re going to let this passage answer is, How should our family give?
Now, before we get too far, we need to clear some things up. This is probably one of the most abused passages in all of Scripture. There is a whole movement that has grown up out of the abuse of this passage, called the “seed-faith” movement. Here’s the principle—if you send us X number of dollars in faith, you will get a whole lot more money back. And then they parade all these people in front of the TV who got lots of money from God because they sent Him $20. Anytime someone tries to manipulate you into giving money by appealing to your greed, it’s wrong. It’s wrong, it’s contrary to Scripture and it offends God. It would be more biblical to tell you to sell everything you have and give it to the poor with no thought about what you were going to get out of it. That would be more biblical, but Jesus would only ask you to do that if your money was what was standing between you and a relationship with Him. That’s what He did with the rich young ruler. No—most of the time, Jesus will not ask you to give everything you have. And He will never ask you to give with the expectation that you will get something in return. He isn’t running a lottery. He isn’t running an investment house. It is all His in the first place. And He requires you to give so that you will be reminded of that. So that brings us back to the question: How do our families need to give?