November 12, 2006
There are certain matters for each of us that we don’t want to talk about.
Certain topics, issues, concerns that when brought up cause us anxiety, fear, anger, or even to shut down.
When a spouse
A child begins to steer a conversation toward one of these areas we lash out.
"Don’t go there"
"You’re messing with fire"
For some of you that "don’t go" topic is politics right now. Your person or your initiative lost this week.
For others of you, "you’re messing with fire" issue is sports related. Your team lost yesterday, the team they lost to, has a fan who is your close friend, and made sure to call you after the game was over.
But the issue could be nearly anything and when it is raised, you want to be as close to it as you would a porcupine
So it is in the spirit that I want to pick up where Lois Ann and the Meyers left off last Sunday. I want to; I need to talk with you about $. Yes money. But also about more than that, stewardship. Being wise and responsible with all that God has entrusted to us.
Now I realize some of you have literally left a church because of this issue.
I realize that what I say could give you an impression of me and our church that I don’t want, nor believe that we truly have.
And I realize that this is the one place you want to escape this topic that is so pervasive and consuming. Tim - why? Couldn’t you pick another topic? Why spend these nest 3 weeks on this? Money can be a push back kind of topic. A "you’re messing with the fire" kind of subject. But hear me out.
I feel that I must address this issue and risk your response because as a pastor/your pastor you want me/ask me/ and have called me to preach and teach the Bible. To do so is to recognize that stewardship in being responsible for your time, talents, and money is the single most dominant theme of the Scriptures.
It is mentioned over 2300 times more than the themes of faith, heaven or hell. So to not speak about this would be to cut out, remove significant portions of our text. But we will not do that. God knew and knows that you and I, our ancestors and our descendants have, are and will be caught up in it, be at times consumed by it and are responsible for all that which has been entrusted to us.
Not only must we address this issue because the Bible tells me so but I also want to address this issue because Deb and I have witnessed that God’s way, his plan, his purposes for us in this area as best we understand them have enabled us
to become more faithful and dependant on him
to participate in the very work of God in our community
to witness the truth of scripture - that we are blessed more when we give than when we receive.
Deb and I could honestly say that our lives have been abundantly blessed because we have sought to understand and apply God’s desires for us regarding our time, talents and money. Unless I say otherwise in these coming weeks, I give you my word, Deb and I are doing, have tried or are seeking to learn the matters on which I will speak. I want you to know this, because I am not asking you to do something we are not doing as a family in our own home.
I want to begin these 3 weeks with the man we read about a few minutes ago - the man Zacchaeus. In him, from him - quite surprisingly we see in part what a responsible and even a generous steward is. And we see God’s response to one who does stewardship well.
Luke tells us that Jesus was passing through Zacchaeus, hometown of Jericho. The text told us that Zacchaeus occupation was a chief tax collector and also mentioned one of the benefits of such a job. He was "wealthy." (v. 2)
Verse 3 tells us that Zacchaeus "wanted to see who Jesus was." This short wealthy man had a desire to see Jesus.
to catch a glimpse of him.
But so did many others. Jesus’ reputation was spreading rapidly and the word on the street was you’ve got to see this guy, hear him talk, or better yet be healed by him. And because there were so many gathering around Jesus as he walked into Jericho, Zacchaeus, our quick thinking vertically challenged man ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a tree in order that he might see the Son of God. In Him and this action we identify that he is curious in Jesus but also willing to do something about this curiosity.