Summary: Giving is a way we love God with all our our heart, soul, mind and strength and out neighbor as ourselves... and away we lay up treasure in heaven!
Title: Why Go To Church: Money Matters!
Text: I Timothy 6:6-19
Thesis: Giving money is a way we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves... and to lay up treasure in heaven!
Johann Tetzel was a Dominican monk who served at the Pope’s direction in Germany. His claim to fame was his oversight of the selling of indulgences. Indulgences were offered for sale to those who wished to secure God’s forgiveness for either the living or the dead.
Tetzel was no stranger to the technology of the day. He promptly used the invention of printing press to mass produce indulgence slips which were then delivered, i.e., marketed door to door.
So if you wished to have your sins forgiven or the sins of your dearly departed forgiven, you purchased what was called an “indulgence.” Tetzel’s famous catch phrase was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
The money poured in from the sale of the indulgences and Pope Leo had money to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, finance the incidentals of court four times larger than that of the Roman Emperor, turn the Vatican into a work of art and perhaps even to finance a holy war. (http://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1998/july/3915.html)
It is no wonder that over the centuries people have thought that anyone raising money for the Church must be a huckster.
However, whatever we may feel about raising money in the context of religion… money matters!
I. How we value having money is a reflection of our godliness.
“…men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means of financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” I Timothy 6:5-7
When I began to unpack this text I assumed a person with a corrupt mind was someone who had underlying motives or whose intention was to hornswoggle people and circumstances to his own financial gain. I assumed it meant a person whose mind was corrupt was a person who had twisted and skewed his religion so as to believe that his religious practices should result in personal financial gain.
It does mean those things but the meaning runs a bit deeper. The word corrupt in this text is the same word translated “destroy” in Luke 12:33 where Jesus tells his followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor. He said that in so doing they would be putting their money in purses that do not wear out, i.e., their money would be credited to their accounts in a heavenly bank where it will not be frittered away, where no thief comes near, and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be. Luke 12:33-34
The word used to describe money that is destroyed by moths is the same word that describes the mind of a person who thinks godliness is a means to financial gain. Such a person has a moth-eaten mind that has impaired his ability place a proper value on money.
In an old Perry Mason rerun that first aired on December 14, 1957, Perry and Della are regulars at Morley Allen’s restaurant… a steakhouse. That night one of Morley’s waitress’ panicked when she saw a man she thinks is stalking her. As she flees the steakhouse she is struck by a car and killed. The only clue Perry Mason has is that she left behind “a moth-eaten mink.” The insinuation is that the mink being moth-eaten made it a ratty looking piece of fur. Why would a waitress at Morley’s be pretentiously wearing a ratty, moth-eaten mink? Who was she trying to impress?
A garment that is moth-eaten is a garment full of little holes where the moth eggs have hatched and the larva have eaten. A mind that is moth-eaten is full of little holes eaten away by false teaching and faulty ways of thinking.
Here is the contrast between the way a moth-eaten mind thinks and the way a healthy spiritual mind thinks:
The moth-eaten mind thinks that becoming godly will result in financial gain. Godliness and greed are linked in the mind of the corrupt-minded person.
Jesus says, when you become godly, you become increasingly content. Godliness and contentment are linked in the mind of the person whose mind is not moth-eaten. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The Word of God goes on to remind us that apart from the treasure we have stored up in heaven as a result of the way we think about and use our money here on earth… we basically just break even in this life. We certainly bring nothing with us when we come into this life and we will take nothing with us when we leave this life… so we bring nothing in and we take nothing out. The implication is that whatever it is that we valued in this life is forfeited when we check out. You may recall that Job, who was once a really, really rich guy said, “Naked I came into this world and naked I shall depart.”