Summary: First in 4-part series about how being a disciple of Jesus means following Him in how we handle "our" money. This one shows how our money handling is an indication of our relationship with Jesus.
Following Jesus with Your Finances
Part 1- The Money Thermometer
March 6, 2011
Audio of this message can be heard at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org.
We’re starting what will be a four-part series on following Jesus with our finances.
For our guests today, I just want to assure you that we don’t talk about money a lot around here, and you’ve already seen how we handle the offering.
But this year, we’re focusing on this whole area of discipleship – being a disciple, or follower of Jesus, in every area of our life.
Money is talked about a LOT in Scripture, through both the Old and New Testaments.
Jesus talked a lot about money, and I felt that this would be a good time to take another look at what God’s Word says about money so we can make sure we’re following Jesus in that area of our life.
BIG DISCLAIMER: I’m not preaching this series because the church budget is tight. I’m talking about this because Jesus talks about it.
And so we need to look at it.
Apparently how we view and handle money is important to Jesus, so it should be important to us, right?
God: To help us get started on this little journey, I want us to take a look at an episode of Jesus’ life that characterizes the way so many people view money and the effect that can have on our spiritual lives, and therefore the effect it can have on the rest of our lives.
16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18 "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Okay, so let’s think about this a bit:
A guy comes to Jesus to ask about heaven. That’s a good thing to talk to Jesus about, right?
He’s apparently heard that this Jesus guy was someone he could trust to give him a solid answer about the most essential of all questions: how can I be sure of heaven?
And Jesus ends up talking about money.
Why is that?
This young man was probably a fine young man in his own right.
He seems devout, wanting to follow God’s commands, and all.
But Jesus helps him and us see something that the young man – and so many people today – don’t get, and that is that…
Our relationship with God and how we handle our money are intertwined.
This guy didn’t come looking for financial advice. He came looking for spiritual advice. But Jesus points to his pocketbook.
Jesus knew that this would be the one thing that stood in the way of this guy getting what he said he wanted: eternal life.
I think it’s important to note that Jesus isn’t against wealth. He doesn’t say it’s wrong to be wealthy. Wealth itself isn’t the issue.
The issue is that this guy’s wealth got in the way of following Jesus – and therefore experiencing the joys and fulfillment found in following Him.
What Jesus is against is anything that gets in the way of loving and following Him.
For this guy it was money. And truth be told, that’s what it’s going to be for most people.
Money has such a grip on us, doesn’t it?
Our day-to-day living depends on money and what it gets us – or doesn’t get us, right?
How many of you can honestly say that you can go a full day without thinking about money in some way, shape, or form?
Probably none of us, if we’re honest with ourselves.
I think that’s why Jesus talked even more about money than He talked about heaven and hell.
It’s not that heaven and hell aren’t important, obviously. They are all-important.