Summary: This message looks at the fact that God wants to do more with our money than ever imagined. ...but it’s not ours - its His!
What do you think says to the world that you are a follower of Christ? What tells people that you are a believer? Is it your Bible? Is it the way you dress, is it a bumper sticker, or a cross around your neck or the way you talk or the way you act? In his letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul addresses that exact question - Do you remember his answer: Love. Your love for others shows that you are a follower of Jesus. Jesus said the same thing by the way... “Your love proves that you are my disciple.”
But what if I asked a different question... What shows what you really believe about God? What in your life shows what you think about God? Do your priorities show what you think about God? Does your home, or your family? Love certainly could answer this question too... But what about your Money.
What if I told you that the way you spend your money, and the attitudes that you have about your money tell me a lot about what you believe to be true about God?
Think about it for a second. What do you your attitudes, beliefs and actions regarding money say about your God? What does your money say about what you believe in God?
We say God is big - we say God is loving - we say we would give anything and do anything that God asks us... But would our checking account or our savings account bear that out?
This morning we are going to talk about another money myth - and this one is sort of fundamental - the myth is this: The money I have is mine... “This is my money”
I heard a pastor once talking about taking his kids to McDonald’s. His kids were probably the age of mine. All my kids are under ten, and fast food is something we are very familiar with! Anyway he tells the story of buying food for his kids and as they sit down to eat, they pray, and he looks across the table at his daughter’s french fries. he didn’t get any fries, but man, those fries looked good. He decided to reach across the table and get just one, and as he did, his daughter slapped his hand. She looked up at him and said, “Daddy, those are my fries. If you want fries you need to get your own.” He sat there for a minute laughing inside... Then his daughters selfishness became a sore spot. Doesn’t she realize that I bought her those fries? If I got angry, I could see to it that as long as she lived with me she never had another frie - or I could literally bury her in french fries... Wow - the selfishness...but as he sat there, God reminded him that that’s the way he acts too...
The Bible teaches that God is our provider - everything we have is from him and our responsibility is to become a steward of God’s possessions... One of the ways we teach this concept to our kids is to teach them the concept of tithing. Tithing is setting aside the first portion, we usually say 10%, to God.
I can remember coming home from my first lawn mowing job. I had mowed a lawn and got $10 and man, I was proud of that $10. The next morning my mother asked me if I needed her to make me some change. I had no idea what she was talking about - but then she said, “You give 10% of what you make to God - its called a tithe.” I called it robbery! What? I make $10 and I have to give $1 away ...but I did it.
But you know the part of the lesson that I missed? I missed the part of that lesson where I was reminded that the whole ten dollars was God’s. It’s not $1 God’s and $9 mine... The truth is its all God’s.
We are never the “owner.” God’ is the owner. We are just the managers of what God gives us...
There is a danger - a trap... And we’ve been falling in this trap for a long time.
I read a funny story this week about how Native Africans catch monkeys. They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the jungle, and wait. Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasp the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won’t come out; it’s too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger he is in. While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply stroll in and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey is trapped. It’s too bad-the poor monkey could save its own life if it would let go of the orange. It rarely occurs to a monkey, however, that it can’t have both the orange and its freedom. That delicious orange becomes a deadly trap.