Summary: Second in the series, ‘The People’s Choice Sermon Series’
(Slide 1) As I do most of the time when I begin to write my sermon, I do a bit of research as a means of prayerfully considering what the Lord would have me say. Sometimes it is hard to do focus my efforts because what I feel led of the Spirit to preach has many different angles to it and I am not sure where to start. This is true regarding today’s sermon because there is no lack of information on the subject of money. Where to begin, and more important, where the Lord wants me to begin, is the challenge.
(Slide 2) This morning is the second in our series, ‘The People’s Choice Sermon Series’ and it is about money and what does the Bible have to say about it.
(Slide 3) What does the Bible say about money? The Bible says a great deal about money. Here are a few examples of what both testaments say when it comes to money:
In Proverbs 30 and verse 7 we read, “…give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.”
Jesus is quoted in Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve both God and money.
Finally we read Hebrews 13:5 that indicates, “Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have.”
(Slide 4) When I began to look at and for illustrations for this sermon I found that I had to choose from several different sub-categories of illustrations about money.
For example, here is an illustration from Frank Gallagher about the very real issue of greed. (4a)
He writes, “A few years ago, I was watching David Letterman, and he was broadcasting his show from Las Vegas. He was doing his opening monologue and he told this joke.
He said that he was standing in front of one of the casinos, and a man came up to him looking desperate. "Please!" the man begged frantically. "Could you possibly spare $500? My wife is very sick, and I really need the money to take her to the doctor and to buy her the medicine she needs."
Dave looked at the guy suspiciously, and he asked the man, "Wait a minute! If I give you $500, how do I know you won’t just go into one of the casinos here and gamble it all away?’
The man quickly responded, "Oh no, I wouldn’t do that! I’ve got gambling money!"
Then I found this thought provoking illustration on the always hot topic of (4b) tithing from Jeff Strite.
He notes, “Mrs. Baughman was a Sunday School class teacher in my 6th grade class. One morning she brought a pan of brownies to our class. As the goodies sat tantalizingly over by her chair she gave each child a slip of paper marked with a household expense: house payment, phone bill, credit card bill, entertainment, and so forth. My slip had "car payment on it."
Before long, Mrs. Baughman picked up the tray of fresh brownies and began naming the expenses named on the papers. As we gave her our expense slips, she redeemed each one for a brownie from the pan. Finally, the last brownie had disappeared. But one boy named Donald still held his unredeemed slip. "God!" called Mrs. Baughman. Donald came forward, hoping the teacher had one more brownie hidden somewhere.
With a knife, Mrs. Baughman scraped the crumbs from the bottom of the pan into Donald’s napkin. He got a pretty raw deal, I thought - just the crumbs.
"The brownies represent your money," the teacher explained to us. "If you don’t give God his share right away, he probably won’t get anything at all except maybe crumbs."
We never forgot that illustration from our 6th grade Sunday School class. It was the day my friend Donald got only brownie scrapings, and I learned that God should have 1st rights to everything I have. In the years since, I have struggled with giving and priorities, but whenever I recall that "crummy Sunday morning lesson", I know who must come first in my life.
Then there is this troubling (4c) statistic from a 1999 James Dobson newsletter article in which he reported the following report from the Boston Globe newspaper.
“The Boston Globe documented how the lottery saturates poor Massachusetts neighborhoods with outlets. For example, Chelsea, an economically struggling community, has one lottery retailer for every 363 residents. By comparison, the affluent suburb of Milton has one for every 3,657 residents. Chelsea residents, many of whom are on welfare, spend nearly eight percent of their incomes on lottery tickets.
… a store owner [in Chelsea] told [the paper], “The lottery is no good. It robs from my neighbors. People lose a lot of money. The government has no business being involved.”
Then we learned that when the social security and welfare checks arrive, local residents line up outside the store and down the sidewalk hoping to parlay their meager subsistence into instant wealth.”