Summary: All Christians need to plan for their financial future without hoarding their resources and becoming preoccupied with financial worries.
I’m a cheapskate when I go to fast food restaurants with my family. Instead of buying separate packages of fries for everyone, I usually try to save money by just getting one “biggie” size package. This works good for saving money. But with four of us trying to share one package, and two of those being children under the age of 10, and one being a man who doesn’t like sharing his food that much – it’s amazing how fast those fries disappear. Everyone wants to make sure they get their fair share before they are gone!
I’m amazed when I really think about this, because here I am, the father of the family, someone who has been a disciple of Jesus Christ for 25 years, and the urge to hold onto what is mine and make sure I have what I think I need is VERY strong.
In this 2nd part of the series on Money Matters, I want to take a look at what the scriptures have to say about this tendency of ours to hoard things. There are some people who live their lives always grasping onto the things they have – never sharing it with anyone. But there are also many people who read portions of the word of God and believe it teaches that it is wrong to save any money for the future. What I want to do today is to take a look a look at some of the major passages in the Bible that address this question, “Is it a sin to save?”
Does God want us to set aside money for future needs, or does he want us to simply “live by faith” and allow him to provide for us when the time comes? Let’s take a look at what the scriptures say, starting in Luke 12.
Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ’What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
(Notice he is already a rich man and now he is even richer! This man already has things put away for the future. Now at this point he has a number of ways to answer this question: give some of it away, sell it so that others can benefit from his plenty, or build more barns)
"Then he said, ’This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ’
"But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
What’s Jesus’ main point?
1. Hoarding is a sin. (Luke 12:16-21)
When we give in to the impulse to keep everything we have – just in case we ever need it – we’re setting ourselves up to hear the words you never want to hear from God: “You fool.”
The man in the parable was already a rich man. He was not called a fool for being a rich man and having material things. He was called a fool because he never learned how much was enough. He never reached a point where he said – my needs have been taken care of, now I’ll use the blessings I have to bless others. Instead, he hoarded. And for that – he was condemned.
TRANS: But Jesus continues his teaching about the role of money and STUFF in our lives…
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”