Summary: 4th in series on discipleship. This message is on stewardship.
LIVING ABOVE THE FRAY
Part 4: Getting a Grip on Materialism
For the past several weeks we have been talking about what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus.
If I don’t talk about how you spend your time, if I don’t talk about priorities, most of you would say I’m not doing my job. How you spend your time is very important, and if we are to become disciples of Jesus it is important that I talk about time priorities. Most will agree with that. Most people also believe it is important that I teach about talents and spiritual gifts, because most people understand that we are all a part of the body of Christ with our own contributions to make. However, when I talk about money, some people get defensive, thinking, there he goes again. He’s just after our money. My friend, I’m not after your money, I’m after your life. I want you to be the disciple Jesus called you to be. And Jesus talked about money.
1/6 of the Gospels, and 1/3 of the parables address the subject of stewardship. Jesus was no fund raiser. He dealt with money matters, however, because money matters. (Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes, p231)
As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that there is no way to grow into spiritual maturity, there is no way to be a true disciple of Jesus without committing our giving to the Lord. “God can have our money and not our hearts, but He cannot have our hearts without having our money.” (Disciplines of a Godly Man, R. Kent Hughes, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL 1991, p178).
Let me say that again, “God can have our money and not our hearts, but He cannot have our hearts and not our money.” He cannot be the Lord of your life, you cannot be a growing maturing disciple of Jesus Christ, if Jesus is not the Lord of your finances. Let me show you where Jesus says that.
- Matthew 6:19-21, 24.
When I was in college, most of the time I took as many classes, as many credit hours as they would let me take. I wanted to get through with school as soon as possible because I wanted to get on with life. My mother used to tell me, “your college years are part of life,” and I used to answer, “No, they are just preparing me for what follows.”
Some people forget that school is not the goal of life, and they become perpetual students, never finishing, never moving on, never using what they learn. Sadly, we often forget that life on earth is not our goal. This life, this world, is just school to prepare us for what follows.
In this passage Jesus says, “Don’t get wrapped up in your life here. This is not the end of it all. Store your treasures where they will do you some good.“ Then He warns of 3 things destroying our treasures if they are stored on earth.
ENEMIES OF EARTHLY TREASURES
1. Moth - Nature’s corrosions eating away. My friend, if your treasure is stored on earth, nature will eat away at it. There is nothing you can build, that won’t be eventually overtaken by nature. Even the Enterprise Preservation Society cannot stop hurricanes, fires, and flooding from destroying that monumental house, that monumental building you erect as a monument. Nature, wind, weather, and water will get it.
2. Rust - Time’s corrosions eating away. Perhaps your treasure isn’t buildings and such, perhaps what you treasure is your looks, your physique. You spend your time getting your body painted, you spend your time working out, eating all the right stuff, trying so hard to maintain your body. We see a national craze these days where people are lifting, tucking, rebuilding one part of their bodies or another.
Ken Hamm tells of the time he was standing in the checkout line of a grocery store, when he noticed a picture of Elizabeth Tailor on the cover of a magazine. As he looked, he said he saw what he thought was a dimple on her chin. He got out his magnifying glass and looked closer and discovered what it really was. The woman had had her face lifted so many times they had pulled her belly button clear up on her chin.
My friend, Jesus says, don’t store your treasures here, because they will not last. You have nature’s corrosions, and time’s corrosions, and thirdly, there are thieves; or humanity’s corrosions.
3. Thief - Humanity’s corrosions - A couple of years ago, a godly man, a friend of mine named Dr. Paul James passed away. When he passed away, His family took the things they wanted and then I was told I could have anything left that I wanted. I looked through the things still remaining. You know, there were many pictures left. There were all kinds of plagues and awards he had received over the years, but nobody wanted them anymore. Many people had forgotten.