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Summary: A positive stewardship message.

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It is amazing to realize just how much our lives are impacted by the amount of money we have or think we have. It has a

great impact on our self-esteem, on the kind of job we pursue, and how important we view ourselves in relation to others.

For example, three boys in the school yard were bragging about who had the better father. The first boy says, "My Dad

scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, and they give him $100." The second boy says, "That’s

nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, and they give him $1000." The third boy

says, "My Dad is even better than that. He scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, calls it a sermon, and it takes six

men just to collect all the money!"

The amount of money we have often has a big influence on the person we end up marrying. For example, a wealthy older

gentleman had just recently married a lovely young lady, and was beginning to wonder whether she might have married

him for his money. So he asked her, "Tell me the truth: if I lost all my money, would you still love me?" She said

reassuringly, "Oh honey, don’t be silly. Of course I would still love you. And I’d miss you terribly."

Money is important. In our world, it is all-important. (It was the reason behind the WTO battle in Seattle.) As a culture,

we love the almighty dollar more than anything else. Money is the fuel in our nation’s engine that keeps everything

moving. Almost every decision made in government, business, and non-profit organizations hinges on the question of

"how much money will it cost and how much will it make?" Most Americans are addicted to the drug of always acquiring

more. You could say we have achieved a new plane of consciousness that can be called "transcendental acquisition." We

are deeply convinced that our lives will be better off if only we could buy the next new thing.

[Let’s put this in perspective. In this country, 1/2% of our population controls 40% of our nation’s wealth. Isn’t that

disgusting?] Have you noticed yet that there will always be someone better off than you? Bill Gates is so rich that if the

Attorney General were successful in getting a federal court to fine Microsoft a million dollars a day for trying to

monopolize access to the Internet, when would Bill Gates go broke? Oh, about ten years after the earth crashes into the

sun.

That’s rich! But from a world perspective, you’re rich. Do you remember when Don Sunukjian was here in May? He gave

us a biblical definition of wealth. Do you remember what it is? He told us that in the Bible, a wealthy person was one who

had two changes of clothes and food for the day at the start of the day. So, according to that definition, are you wealthy?

Yes! Biblically speaking, you are very wealthy on this earth! However, the question we want to explore today is, will you

still be wealthy in heaven?

Why is that such an important question? Because in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, the apostle Paul exhorts those who are rich in

this present world ... to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share -- Why? -- so that they will lay up

treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age. In other words, for those who are generous with their

money now, God will give them treasure in heaven later on.

Jesus talks about how to become wealthy in heaven in Matthew chapter 6. Please turn there in your Bible. According to

our Owner’s Manual, the Bible, financial prosperity, material success, is not the most important thing in life. Now, it’s not

that money is inherently evil. But it is true that money becomes a source of evil for us whenever we start loving it more

than we love God. The Bible says to Keep your lives free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5) because the love of

money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). God acknowledges that money is important, but warns us that we

must never allow it to become the most important thing in our life.

When we come to Matthew 6, we are in Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Just two weeks ago I was there, on the very hill

where Jesus gave this sermon. We even got to walk down from what is called the Mount of Beatitudes, down to the Sea

of Galilee. While there, I learned that when Jesus was teaching the people, He was likely standing at the foot of a hill,

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