Summary: A stewardship sermon.
“Life is on Loan from God”
Jesus talked a lot about money.
For instance, 16 of the 38 parables deal with how to handle money and possessions.
In the Gospels, an amazing one out of every ten verses deal directly with money.
In the Bible there are 500 verses on prayer but 2,300 references to money and possessions.
Why would Jesus spend so much time, and have so much concern about how we use that which is entrusted to us?
A 2012 Boston Globe article asked the following question: “Does money change you?”
The article stated that “most people are convinced that gaining a lot of money wouldn’t change who they are as people.”
But is that true?
The article reported:
“As a mounting body of research is showing, wealth can actually change how we think and behave—and not for the better.
Rich people have a harder time connecting with others, showing less empathy to the extent of dehumanizing those who are different from them.
They are less charitable and generous.
They are less likely to help someone in trouble.
And they are more likely to defend an unfair status quo.
If you think you’d behave differently in their place, meanwhile, you’re probably wrong: these aren’t just inherited traits, but developed ones.
Money, in other words, changes who you are.”
The article went on to summarize research studies which found that even the mere suggestion of getting more money—a technique known as “priming”—makes people less friendly, less sensitive to others, and more likely to support statements like, “some groups of people are simply inferior to others.”
The article noted that “If you win the lottery and you want to avoid becoming an insensitive lout,” there is a simple solution: “Give most of it away.”
Of course, money itself is not evil.
If it were not for many generous folks who have been successful in the business world, but give much of their wealth away—we would be in terrible straits indeed.
Paul put it aptly, “godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it…
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge [people] into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus says, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against all kinds of greed.
After all, one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions, even when someone is very wealthy.”
Then Jesus told a parable about a guy who had missed the purpose of his life.
Isn’t that sad?
He had missed the purpose of his life.
“What will I do?” the man asked himself.
There can be no doubt that he had prepared for the harvest, but it had exceeded all his expectations.
He had really hit “pay dirt” and he finds that he has no place to store all his “stuff.”
So, the problem is not so much the size of the harvest, but the fact that the guy insists on storing it all for himself!!!
The thought of giving to persons in need never crosses his mind.
Instead, his immediate solution is to tear down his barns and build bigger ones.
In the parable, the rich man used the pronoun “I” six times; “my” is used five times; and even a “you” is used to refer to himself.
His entire life was turned inward on himself.
And his inner conversations were with himself as well, not with God.
A Church leader from the 4th century once said, “There is your brother, naked and crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”
Another early leader wrote, “The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor.”
We sure do miss the point of life when we fail to understand that our lives and possessions are on loan from God.
They do not belong to us.
And they are to be used for God’s purposes.
If we waste them, or do not share them, is this not a slap in the face of the One Who has shared His Creation with us…of the One Who gave His very life on the Cross for the salvation of our souls?
And not just for our souls but for the souls of all people…
…our neighbors who don’t know Christ…
…the person who is getting more and more ruined by addiction…