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Summary: How we handle our money proves our faithfulness and focus in life.

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Good morning! Here in Makati Gospel Church, we talk about money matters because we believe that our money matters to God. Last week, we started our “Investing in Eternity” series. In Luke 16, we saw in the parable of the corrupt steward that money has the power to impact our future and that how we handle our money proves our faithfulness and focus in life. We will build upon the second point today by looking at verses 10 to 13. Let us read it together… “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”[1]

When it comes to money, we have to avoid two extremes. My leadership professor, Dr. Steve Hobson of International Graduate School of Leadership helped shaped my thinking on this. I learned that we are to pursue neither POVERTY nor PROSPERITY but STEWARDSHIP. The first extreme is what we call poverty mentality. It is to think that money is a necessary evil, that to be spiritual, a person must take a vow of poverty. The second extreme is prosperity mentality. It is to think that having a lot of money is a proof that you are spiritual, that it is God’s will for each one of us to be rich. Instead of these two extremes, adhere to a stewardship mentality. We must remember, “money is a training ground and trust from God.”[2] The problem with both poverty and prosperity mentalities is that they have some truth in them or half-truths. But a half-truth is a whole lie. The stewardship mentality gives us a balanced, biblical view of money.

For a person with poverty mentality, possessions are a necessary evil. We have no choice but to use it. But, for him, it is a sin to have more money. Only spiritual blessings are true blessings. Suffering is our lot in life. In this mentality, money is the root of all evil. But the Bible does not say that. What it actually says is that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”[3] On the other hand, for a person with prosperity mentality, it is our right to be blessed. Now, I believe God does bless us. He blesses us not only spiritually but also even financially. But the problem is that this mentality limits God’s blessings to financial blessings only. It focuses on what we can get from God, not on what we can give to Him. There is no room for suffering in this selfish, man-centered mentality. But stewardship mentality regards money as a responsibility.

Let’s read Luke 16:10-11 again: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” Note the words “very little”. Verse 10 parallels verse 11. Now, note the words “worldly wealth.” That’s how the Bible views money. It’s not just a little thing. It’s a “very little” thing. Note also that Jesus did not call money as “true riches” but “worldly wealth”. Money is not to be CONSIDERED as our true riches. That’s why we should not serve it and we should not be devoted to it. It makes no sense to love it for it is not our true riches, no matter how little or how many you have. We are to love people and use money, not love money and use people.

How we view the lack or the abundance of money, how we relate to the rich and the poor, depends on our mentality. Those with poverty mentality think that spiritual or godly people are those who are poor. Why? Because they are humble. And the unspiritual people are those who are rich. Why? Because they are proud. On the other hand, those with prosperity mentality think that the spiritual people are those who are rich. Why? Because allegedly God blessed them with so much as proof of His favor upon them. And the ungodly people are those who are poor. Why? Because supposedly they don’t have enough faith to believe God for His provisions. Both poverty mentality and prosperity mentality lead us to judge people.

Yes, the rich may become proud. That’s why Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:17, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” But, the poor can also become proud, like when they refuse to work. Some people refuse to accept work because of a false sense of entitlement. They just put their hope in charity dole outs. Or, that they think they’re too big for a menial work because they feel they deserve a bigger pay. Maybe but you have to work for it. It does not fall from heaven.

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