Summary: God's Will for Our Wealth 1. Choose humility over being haughty. 2. Trust your God more than your gold. 3. Choose generosity over greed.
God's Will for Our Wealth
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 3, 2015
(Revised and updated from sermon preached at McClendon Baptist Church - Sept. 26, 2010)
*Are you rich? -- Most of us would say, "I sure don't feel rich." But think about it. In 2009, "Parade Magazine" reported that if all of the money in the world was spread out evenly, it would just be $9,000 per person. And for half the world's people that would be more that 12 years of income. For many it would be a lot more than 12 years income. (1)
*Are we rich? -- Years ago, Lucy Pearson at Clemson wrote this comparison of the world's population: If the whole world only had 100 people: One half of the entire world's wealth would be held in the hands of only 6 people, 70 would not be able to read, 50 would suffer from malnutrition, 80 would live in sub-standard housing with no plumbing or electricity, and only 1 would have a college education. (2)
*Are we rich? -- Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus with a question about eternal life. And after studying that story, William Boice wrote the following prayer:
"Dear Lord, I have been re-reading the record of the rich young ruler and his obviously wrong choice. But it has set me thinking. No matter how much wealth he had, he could not ride in a car, have any surgery, turn on a light, buy penicillin, hear a pipe organ, watch TV, wash dishes in running water, type a letter, mow a lawn, fly in an airplane, sleep on an innerspring mattress, or talk on the phone. -- If he was rich, then what am I? (3)
*Church: We may not feel rich. But compared to most of the people who have ever lived, we are incredibly wealthy. What is God's will for rich people like us? The Word of God shows us.
1. First: choose humility over being haughty.
*As Paul said in the first part of vs. 17: "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty. . ."
*Don't be haughty, arrogant, highminded or proud. Paul is talking about people who are conceited, people who think they are better than others, people who are in love with themselves, people who don't understand that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God.
*He's talking about people with excessive and unrestrained self-esteem. In this Scripture the focus is on wealth. But why are we wealthy people tempted to think too highly of ourselves?
*Pastor Coty Pinckney explained: "We are tempted to believe that we deserve whatever we have, and to think that people who have less than us are not as smart, not as hardworking, or not as talented as we are."
*Coty added this: "Of course it's true that a talented, hard working, wise spender, smart saver is generally going to have more than a lazy, reckless spender." But we must never forget the place of grace in our lives.
*Christians: We know that the greatest place of grace in our lives is our salvation:
8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9. not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8&9)
*But God have given so much more grace in our lives:
-Were you born in the USA? -- That's grace.
-Were you raised in a Christian home -- Grace.
-Were you blessed with good health? -- Grace.
-Did you have some excellent teachers? -- Grace.
-And did you meet people along the way who helped you get where you are today? -- That's God's amazing grace!
*Pastor Coty gave an example to help us understand. He said, "Some of hardest working, financially wise people I know are East African farmers. And their hard work and good investments have indeed improved their lot. But because of poor government and their initial poverty, these people are still among the very poor. They have to raise a large family while earning only $3 or $4 a day." (4)
*Don't you see? Every good thing we have really is a gift from God. And it's only by His grace that we have anything at all.
*In Deuteronomy 8:14-18, God warned His people about getting lifted up with pride, when they were prosperous. In the New Living Translation, Moses said:
14. "Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
15. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock!