Summary: Money is a gift from God. It is put in our hands as a tool and as a test. So don’t love it, don’t live for it, don’t trust it and don’t hoard it.
[I’ve taken the major pointers of this sermon from Rick Warren’s sermon on Setting Financial Goals - Growing through Goal Setting Part 2, May 26-27, 2007.]
If you go around asking people “What is the greatest need you have?” a high chance the answer is money.
• We spend so much of our lives stressing out over it. Worrying about it, being uptight about it, trying to save it, protect it, invest it, spend it, use it, make it – on and on.
• It is not just close to our wallet but close to our heart, something we are concerned about; let us look at what Jesus has to say about it.
It’s amazing to know that Jesus talked more about money than He did about heaven or than He did about hell.
• Half of all of the stories, the parables that Jesus told involved possessions, involved money.
• This is an area that messes so many people up.
If we are to take everything that Jesus said about money and summarize it in a sentence, here it is: (1) Money is a tool, and (2) Money is a test.
First, it is a tool to be used for God’s purposes in your life.
God allows you to have money. It’s all a gift from God.
• Even your ability to make it is a gift from God.
• He gives you money to use for the purposes He put you on this planet to do.
Let’s read the parable that Jesus shared in Luke 19:11-27
He tells about an employer who brings all his employees in and he gives them each a set amount of money.
• He gives each of them ten minas. A mina (in the small print) is an amount of money that would be about three months’ wages.
• He said, I’m going to give you this amount of money and I want you to take it out and use it. I want you to put it to work. Do that until I come back.
The point of this story is that God gives you an amount of money and He says I want you to put it to work. I want you to use it.
• Money is a tool. You are to use it and you use it until I come back.
• It wasn’t really their money. It was their master’s money that he had just loaned it to them.
This is the principle of stewardship.
• You don’t really own anything. You think you do but you don’t.
• What you own is really on loan. It wasn’t yours before you were born. It’s not going to be yours after you die.
• You just get to use it for about 80 years or maybe a little more or a little less.
• Then God will let somebody else use it for a while. You’re not taking any of it with you and you didn’t bring any in. So it’s just tool that you are to use.
The only other thing He says about it is that money is a test.
It is a test of your character. It is a test of your values. It is a test of your priorities. It is a test of your responsibility.
• Money is a test. God says I’m watching you to see how you deal with money.
• He’s checking to see how much you trust Him. He’s checking to see the principles by which you use it, save it, spend it, or invest it.
Let’s say that you got a call one day and there was a billionaire who decided to adopt you as his child. Say it’s Bill Gates. Let’s say Bill Gates calls you up and said, “I have decided to adopt you into my family.”
Wow! This is a good thing. It’s like God has adopted us into His family.
Let’s say Bill Gates informs you that one day he intends to give you as your inheritance, his entire fortune. But he says, “I need to make sure you can use it well, that you know how to be responsible with it. So I’m going to test you first, before I give you your inheritance. What I’m going to do is I’m going to give you a much, much, much smaller amount of money and I’m going to watch how you use it, invest it, spend it, or distribute it.”
He says, “I only have one condition. I do not want you to spend everything on yourself. I want you to learn to live on less than I give you so you can use some of it to help other people. I’m going to watch and see how well you do this. If you can live on less than I give you in order to help other people so you don’t spend it all on yourself then at the end of the test I’m going to will to you my entire wealth and fortune as your inheritance.”