Summary: What a God honouring giver looks like
“God loves a giver - Sometimes - Luke 12:13-34”
Gladstone Baptist Church – 7/5/06 am
(Much of this material is sourced from Randy Alcorn’s book. “the Treasure Principle”)
Hearing sermons about money makes us uncomfortable.
I want to start a short series today on Stewardship. And I can just see you all cringing right now. Stewardship for those who aren’t quite up with the religious lingo is about using our resources wisely for God’s glory. It may be our time, it may be our gifts and abilities, it may be using our possessions for God or it may involve giving our money to God. Yep – I see some late bloomers beginning to cringe!
But while stewardship involves a whole lot more than just our money, over the next couple of weeks I want to focus in on money and how we handle our money.
Now I realise that in tackling this subject, I am taking my life into my own hands and I expect some angry letters and bomb threats this next week … although we are all keenly interested in money - we don’t like it being talked about in church.
One of the biggest criticisms of church by non-Christians is that it is just after your money. Actually that is an unfair criticism and has actually driven many churches (this one included) to talk about money far less than we should. I went back through the records that Ken Watson and his sound techs keep of every sermon and do you know the last time we had a sermon on money was back in July 2004. That is almost 2 years ago. And before that the last one was in October of 2002 on stewardship. So that is on average 1 sermon every 2 years on stewardship.
I think Jesus would be horrified at that. Did you know that it has been estimated that about 15 percent of everything Jesus spoke about related to money. He spoke more about money than about heaven, and hell combined. More about it than about love. If we were to continue Jesus’ emphasis, we would be preaching on money it once every 3 weeks (1 out of every 6 services). How would you like that!!! I wouldn’t.
To Jesus, how we view our money can not be separated from how we view our relationship with God.
But why did Jesus make such an emphasis of money? Because he knew that our attitude to our money can’t be separated from OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. It is a barometer of our worship to Him.
In Luke 3 when John the Baptist is calling the crowds to repent, they ask him “How? What should we do then?”
11 John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
John didn’t tell them to love more, or to go to church more often, or to pray more. He gave
3 instructions that were all related to money or possessions. Share your clothes and food with the poor. Don’t steal by taking what doesn’t belong to you. Be content with your wages. You see, the outworking of repentance was to be first and foremostly seen in one’s attitude to their money and possessions.
What about Zacchaeus … When he repented, he said “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” And Jesus’ response … “Today salvation has come to this house.” (Luke 19:8-9) His changed attitude to money showed he was saved.
To the rich young man who asked Jesus how to gain eternal life, Jesus said … “go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matt 19:21)
You see our attitude to money is like a mirror that reflects the quality of our relationship with God. For some reason, money is one of the most important things in our lives. We can’t live without it, but it seems that we can never have too much of it also. If you think about it, a huge amount of our time and energy is spent trying to gain more money or in maintaining the things we have bought with our money. Money and possessions. – Our attitude to them is an indicator of our relationship with God. It is an indicator of our WORSHIP. Worship you see involves every part of our life including our giving. We are called to HONOUR GOD IN OUR WORSHIP and that means honouring God in our giving.