Summary: This message takes a look at the Christian and his money. The very thing that strives to pull our attention away from God, our money, contains a gentle reminder that it is "In God We Trust" and not our stuff.
THE NEXT STEPS:
IN GOD WE TRUST
A Biblical Look at You and Your Money
A. Today marks the beginning a new series of messages that I’m calling "The Next Steps"
1. We have made some changes over the past year, and are in the process of improving some other areas of our ministry-- changes that I believe will be beneficial to the church not only in the short term, but also in the long run
a. One of those was defining our purpose: "The purpose of the Mt. Gilead Church of Christ is to evangelize the lost, to edify the saints, and to equip God’s people for service."
b. Addition of our Morning Watch service
c. We have worked to get more of our young adults involved in the ministry of the church
d. We have added classed on Wednesday evening and in our Sunday School program to better meet the needs of our church family
QUOTE> Marvin Phillips - "Never do less–always do better."
e. And that is what we are striving to do
2. So what are the next steps
B. That great American philosopher, Forrest Gump, once said, "When somebody says to you, ‘I am here to help you,’ hang on to your wallet."
1. Well, I am here to help you this morning.
2. As we take a look at those next steps I want to begin by talking about our stewardship
a. The Bible is clear that there is a direct correlation between our giving and our spiritual growth
b. This morning I want to take a biblical look at stewardship–giving
3. Even though there are some people that feel that that is all the Church talks about, we need to understand that Jesus talked about our money and finances often.
a. The word "faith" is used around 246 times in the Bible.
b. The word "hope" which is another important word in our Christian life, is used 185 times.
c. The word "love" which is obviously an important word to those of us who are believers is used 733 times.
d. The word "give" or "giving" is mentioned 2285 times in the Bible.
4. Stewardship is much more than meeting the financial responsibilities of the local congregation
a. It is more than just a necessary evil to keep the church afloat
b. The Bible says that our attitude toward giving goes hand in hand with our attitude toward God and whether or not we are trusting Him.
QUOTE> One preacher (Jerry Falwell) defined stewardship as:
"....the proper management of one’s resources for the glory of God."
5. The question that all Christians should ask is, "How can I honor God with my finances? How can I honor God with what He has provided?"
a. READ: 1 Timothy 6:17-19
I>WHO IS RICH?
A. So who is Paul talking to?
ILL> I took a look at the Forbes 400 listing the richest people in the United States to see if I had finally made the list. I saw Bill Gates’ name at the top followed by Warren Buffet and Paul Allen and then the five children of Sam Walton of Walmart fame. My name was not among the top 400, but then again, I didn’t see any of your names on the list, either.
1. In order to make the top 400 richest Americans your net worth needs to be a little over $750 million
a. So you’re probably feeling that the Donald Trump’s and the Oprah’s of the world really need to listen up–after all this passage is for people like them, not those of us who tend to live paycheck to paycheck
2. But let’s put things in perspective
a. There are 6.3 billion people living in the world right now
b. 2.5 billion (40%) people live in low-income countries where they earn $745 a year or less
c. Those living in places like...
Rwanda...and other 3rd world countries
earn less than $500 a year.
d. 2.7 billion (43%) people live in middle-income countries where earn less than $9200 a year
e. By living in the USA you are wealthier than 83% of the world.
3. To be honest with you, most of us here this morning are in the top 5-10%
a. Not only are we rich financially, but we are rich because of what we have in our possessions, things we are able to do, the educational opportunities that exist, and other opportunities that are available.
b. Most of the world would see every one of us as being very wealthy
4. Out of the more than 6 billion people that populate this earth, you are better off than 5 ½ billion.
a. We worry about a shortage of flu vaccines–most of the world doesn’t even have the opportunity to get a flu shot