Summary: God gives us money, and we use it to glorify him.
God and Money
1) Giving to gain eternal friends
2) A world in debt
3) The greatest donation of all time
It’s interesting to me to see just how many stories the media can squeeze out of the terrible events that took place a few weeks ago. And I’m sure you’re finding out, as you watch the news, that sometimes, there are no new developments. Last week I think the news media was getting desperate, because they were doing a story on dog depression. I wanted to find out what was going on out east, so I turned on the news, and I get a story about dog depression. Apparently the dogs that search through the rubble in New York often can’t find what they’re looking for, and so the dogs get depressed. I like dogs, but when I turn on the news, I am looking for information that is meaningful.
One story in the news that is meaningful is the economic situation in our country. It is a terrible thing, that so many lives were taken away. That will always be the worst thing about that tragedy. But one of the side effects of the attack, is that economically, our country is struggling. Airlines have cut over 130,000 jobs in the last few weeks. The many businesses connected to traveling are struggling. The market is down. This is a time when many people are thinking about money. Our country is slowing down financially, and so right now, people are reevaluating where they spend their money.
It is good, for us as Christians, to spend a few moments thinking about how we spend our money. This morning, I want you to ask yourself, am I unknowingly, worshiping money? Ask yourself, how am I different in the way I use my money – different from an unbeliever? What is the purpose of money, for a Christian? This morning, we will answer these questions, and many more, as we focus on what Jesus says to us about God and Money.
Jesus was with his disciples, and he tells them a story, a parable. There once was a man who made a living by managing a rich man’s finances. He was the chief financial officer. But he wasn’t doing a good job. And so his boss warned him, “I’m going to fire you.” He basically got his two-week notice.
“What am I going to do?” the manager asked himself. “I’m too weak to dig ditches. I’m ashamed to beg.” But then he comes up with a plan. He’s going to give, to gain some friends. He calls in all the people who owed his master money. “What do you owe?” he asked. “Eight hundred gallons of olive oil.” That’s a lot of money. “Let’s cut it in half - make it 400.” “What do you owe?” he asked, and another one responded by saying, “1000 bushes of wheat.” “Make it 800.” He was chopping down everyone’s bill. Why? Because he wanted to gain some friends. That way, after he’s fired, he wouldn’t be left out on the streets. These people would see that he’s out of a job and welcome him into their homes. Very smart. Not honest, but smart.
What is the main point of this parable? Jesus says, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” There is a time when God will take all your money away, every last dime. And that’s when you die. As that day approaches, be like that man, Jesus says. He’s not telling us to be dishonest, but to use worldly wealth to gain eternal friends, people who will welcome you into eternal dwellings. Give to gain eternal friends. Use your money, Jesus says, to help an unbeliever find Christ. If you do that, you have made an eternal friend. Use your money to help believers in need – someday they’ll thank you when you enter eternal life. Give to gain eternal friends.
It doesn’t matter how much you have, Jesus says, as long as you use what you have to glorify God. “Whoever can be trusted with very little, can be trusted with much. And whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Be trustworthy, Jesus says, with whatever you have. Use it to gain eternal friends, who will welcome you into heaven after you die.
Why is there a certain part of us that balks at this idea? “Spending my money on other people, to gain eternal friends? I don’t think so.” A certain part of us doesn’t like that, and that part of us in our sinful nature. Our sinful nature loves money, worships money. Jesus knows this, and so at the end of this story, he says, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”