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Summary: In our finances, we must remember that God owns all that we have. That should change how we make our financial decisions.

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March 11, 2001 Matthew 25

¡§Handling God¡¦s checkbook¡¨

INTRODUCTION

„h How would you react if you were handed Bill Gates¡¦ checkbook with permission from Bill Gates to do whatever you wanted with it?

„h Would it change the way you responded to this opportunity if you knew that you were going to have to give an account to Bill Gates for how you spent his money?

„h In the passage of the Bible that we are going to study today, we are introduced to the concept of stewardship. If you¡¦ve ever been on a boat or an airplane, you have had dealings with stewards and stewardesses. These are people who are given the responsibility of properly distributing the food and resources of the airline or cruise company to the passengers on board. The food and resources are not their own. They are handling the resources of someone else on their behalf. They have been entrusted with this responsibility.

„h In the sense that we are going to consider stewardship today, it could be defined in this way. [please find somewhere on your note-sheet or even in the cover of your Bible to write this definition down] ¡§Stewardship is the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God-given goals.¡¨

„h Everything that we are going to say today relates specifically to money and possessions. But these principles could also be applied to other resources that God has placed in your care ¡V your children, your job, your body, your skills and your knowledge.

„h Listen carefully, because the knowledge and wisdom that you will gain today is another one of those resources that you will be held accountable for one day.

1. God owns it all. (25:14) ¡V several implications . . .

ć God has the right to whatever He wants whenever He wants it.

- owner has rights; steward only has responsibilities (ex. When your child gets old enough to borrow the car, your child does not have the right to see the car, paint the car or race the car. He only has responsibilities ¡V fill it with gas, wash it, and get it home on time.)

- when I lose some possession, it may make me sad, but my mind and spirit have not the slightest question as to the right of God to take whatever He wants whenever He wants it.

- whenever you own a possession, you say something like ¡§This is mine¡¨, and you treat it accordingly. How would it change the way you felt about the stuff that is in your house and in your garage if you changed the way you thought about things and the way that you talked about things and said instead, ¡§This is God¡¦s¡¨?

- In our house, we have a cat that loves to destroy our sofa. She uses it as her scratching post. On one corner, she¡¦s taken it all the way down to the wood. That cat may not understand that that sofa belongs to God, but I do. So next time she starts to scratch on it, maybe I¡¦ll say something like, ¡§Get away from there! Don¡¦t you know that¡¦s God¡¦s couch, you dumb cat!?¡¨

- would it change the way you treated your car? Would it change the way that you treated your wife and your kids?

- When I was growing up, I was always taught that you treated borrowed things better than you treated your own things. Maybe things have changed over the years, but I still think that it¡¦s a good idea to treat the possessions of others better than I treat my own stuff.

ć Every spending decision is a spiritual decision.

- Most all of you understand that the decision that you make about whether or not you are going to put anything in the offering plate and how much is a spiritual decision.

- But do you recognize that buying a car, taking a vacation, purchasing food, paying off debts, and paying taxes are just as spiritual? The car you buy and the amount of payments that you make will help to determine whether or not you are able to help that family that lives down the street from you. The food you buy will impact the body that God has loaned to you and will partially determine how many years of productive service you have to give to God and how much of his money you are going to be spending on weight loss programs and heart bypass surgery.

- Do you think that since God owns all my money that maybe, just maybe, He has some thoughts about how I should spend it?

- [borrow someone¡¦s checkbook] Imagine if I took your checkbook and started spending your money ¡V would you want to have some input on where the money went?

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