Summary: The best use of your money is to share, gain and share some more, so that the Kingdom of God can be expanded around the world.
Deron Smith of Springfield, Missouri, is one of many believers around the world who observes Lent, which starts this Wednesday. Not too long ago, he and his wife sat at the dinner table with their three daughters, ages 6, 8, and 11, and attempted to explain what Lent was all about.
As part of that explanation, he said, “Some people like to show they are thinking about what Jesus gave up for us [on the cross] by giving up something they think has become too important to them, like their computers or coffee or dessert or meat or television. It doesn't make God love us more; it just makes us more open to God and less cluttered with our own junk.”
Then he told his girls, “Your mom and I are going to give up all desserts until Easter. We want you girls to think of what you could give up, something that means a lot to you.”
Their oldest daughter, following her parents’ lead, said, “I will give up sweets.”
“Me, too,” their middle daughter chimed in.
However, their youngest daughter wasn’t very quick with an answer. Her six-year-old mind was working the angles. Finally, she decided and confidently said, “I want to give up consequences!” (Deron Smith, Springfield, Missouri; www.PreachingToday.com)
Wouldn’t we all like to give up consequences? But, alas, that is impossible.
To be sure, Christ sets believers free from the law of sin and death. That means you are free to serve one another; you are free to live by the Spirit, and you are free to truly love one another. These are things you could not do before Christ set you free. You are truly free to do so much more than you ever thought possible!
But that does not mean you are free from the consequences of your own actions. And that is especially true when it comes to the way you use your money. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Galatians 6, Galatians 6, where the Bible tells you how best to use your money to give you a good return on your investment.
Galatians 6:6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. (ESV)
Do you want to use your money in the best way possible? Then…
Give some of it to those who have taught you God’s word.
There is a special relationship that develops between a pastor and his people. There is a special relationship that develops between a teacher and his or her students, especially when it’s the Word of God being taught.
It’s a relationship in which teacher and student share with each other. Now, the word for “share” in this passage comes from the Greek word koinoneo, from which we get our word “fellowship. It literally means to hold things in common, or as it is translated here, “to share.”
In other words, I’m not here to do a job for pay, no. You have invited me as your pastor to share our lives together, to share in ministry together, and to share what we have with each other. I share the Word of God. You share “all good things” with your pastor.
And we share voluntarily. We share willingly. We share not because we have to by law. We share because we want to out of love.
What we have here is not a contractual relationship between employer and employee. We have a covenant relationship between brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a joy, not a job, for me to be your pastor and to teach you the Word of God. I mean there are days when I can’t believe you pay me to do what I enjoy doing so much! And I’m sure it’s a joy for you to take care of your pastor, to make sure he has enough to eat and provide for his family as we work together to reach this community for Christ.
We don’t tax you for religious services like they did in Bible days. Then, the Jews were required to pay 10% of their earnings to support the priests, and the Gentiles paid set fees for religious services. They were both in bondage to their religious systems. They had to pay their teachers, because that was the law.
But now that Christ has set you free from the law, you don’t “pay” your teachers to do a job, no. You “share all good things” with them, because they share the Word of God with you.
Does that mean your teachers get less? No. Many times, it means they get more, because of the relationship you share with them, which is always stronger than any requirement or regulation.
Pastor Ken Shigematsu in British Columbia, Canada, talks about his wife's pet chipmunk named Forte: