Summary: This messages looks at five principles aimed at helping followers of Christ view their finances.
MANAGING FINANCES THE JESUS’ WAY*
Did you know that in the New Testament, Jesus said more about money than He said about heaven and hell put together? He talked about finances all the time. Out of His 38 parables, 16 of them are about finances—and how to use them and how to keep them from using and abusing you. Get this—in the New Testament, there are 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith but more than 2,000 dealing with financial matters.
Now that’s not to say that finance is the most important subject in Scripture—it isn’t. But it is a critical issue and the thing that often enslaves our hearts when God wants to own all that we are. Jesus taught five specific principles in Luke 12 that will help direct your money management.
1. More Is Not Better
Jesus says it very simply, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things that they possess” (v.15). You say, “I know life isn’t about stuff!” But saying it and living it are very different. It is all tied back to, “Do I really believe what the Bible says? Or do I think that somehow more stuff is going to enhance my life?”
People who have more are not necessarily happier. A bigger house will not make you more happy? A bigger car will not either. These days it just means more expensive fuel. If you have a nicer car or better clothes or more exotic vacations, you are not happier because of it. I’ve met with people from different parts of the world who live simple lives, small huts, simple food, without fancy clothings and cars and they have bigger smiles, more joyful worship, and a greater sense of God’s fullness than some of us have ever known!
More is not better. In fact, can I suggest to you that the bulk in our bank accounts and the poverty of our souls indicates that many times more is worse? That’s exactly what Jesus was saying when He talked about the danger of riches and the tendency to trust in things.
2. Hoarding Is for Fools
In the parable beginning in verse 16, Jesus calls a person a fool who hoards his income for himself and doesn’t generously share it. “So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Hear Jesus’ heart in this matter. He is asking, what are you doing that for? Life is suddenly over and you invested in what doesn’t last. It’s foolish.
You say, “Well, what if I really began to give in that generous way—how will I live? What about my retirement? What would my kids go without? It gets very complicated.” But Jesus makes it really simple in the next few verses. I think He anticipates our concern about generous giving and so in verse 22 He says, “‘Therefore I say to you do not worry about your life, what you will eat nor about the body what you will put on . . . If then God so clothes the grass which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith.”
O you of little faith—Ouch.
Jesus says, You don’t trust Me very much do you? Do you think that God is going to leave you behind because you put Him first? This whole matter of giving is about faith. When the offering plate goes by every week at church, you make a choice to give and trust God or hoard and not. “Will I give ten percent off the top as He has asked me to do? Or will I keep most of it just in case God doesn’t supply?” It’s a matter of faith.
Really, it’s the question, “God, does everything that I have belong to You?”
3. You Can’t Out-Give God
But Jesus isn’t telling us to give generously because He wants us to sweat. Instead, He wants us to experience our inability to out-give God. He says, “And your Father knows that you need these things. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you” (v.31). You’ve heard those verses before, but did you know they were in the context of giving? Have you ever given generously, out of sacrifice even, and seen God multiply it back in blessing? I have. Sometimes it returns financially and sometimes it returns in other spiritual blessings, but it always returns! God Almighty will not be in a debt position to you. Do you know what it is to trust Him, be obedient, and see Him meet all of your needs? It’s a phenomenal thing!
Two more of Jesus’ financial principles next week or to hear this complete message “Fired up about Finances” from the series, Passions of Jesus: Finding Out What Fires Him Up, go to the Walk in the Word archives for last Thursday and Friday, March 13--14. Join us on air through March 26 for more messages from the series, Passions of Jesus: Finding Out What Fires Him Up