Summary: Your neighbor attends church wanting instruction and supernatural response in every important area of life . . . relationships, direction and success, but we they don't want anyone to talk about money.
Other People's Money
Pt. 1 - Sacrifice & Trust
I have learned there are certain things that just don't go well together. Some of this I learned in school and others just by observation. Oil and water. 26 inch rims on a $500 car. Vegetables and fruit on my plate. Skinny jeans on 99.9% of Americans. Bondage on a believer who is supposed to be free. Anger and prejudice on one who is supposed to be known and identifiable by love. And at least in the modern version, the church talking about money.
The odd thing about that fact is that we arrive at church wanting life direction, supernatural response in every important area of life like relationships, direction and about success but we just don't want anyone to talk about the money side of things. Tell me how to live, how to overcome, how to win, but we seem to get nervous and in some cases we even become angry when the topic of money comes up or is addressed from a pulpit. The other odd fact is that money issues are the number one reason couples get divorced and if the truth was told it is the number one reason most of you are struggling, afraid, and stressed out in your life right now! I understand that the church has brought some of this on itself due to the crazy and outlandish things preachers have said in order to line their own pockets. However, I think we also have used that craziness as an excuse to keep the church from addressing this crucial topic because most of us struggle mightily to allow God to speak to this area of our life. Isn't it crazy that we allow pride to rise up in the area where we are losing? Too proud to listen and learn. Too proud to allow the God who owns everything and has all provision to teach us how to handle what we keep messing up on our own! It would be one thing if we were great with money but most of us aren't even close. Now the truth is that if you make $44K to $45K a year, then you are rich. You fall into the top 1% of earners in the world. And yet we struggle. Most of us are in debt up to our eyeballs. Determined to buy things to impress people we don't even know or in many cases even like. But still we don't want Jesus to say anything about our cash.
So, since I know that this topic makes people nervous and I also know that Jesus addresses finances more than any other topic (twice as much as heaven and hell combined), I am going to help you today. You can thank me later. I am titling this series "Other People's Money", which by the way really has nothing to do what I am going to talk to you about other than the fact that every cent that ever crosses your palm is really someone else's, so that as we talk about this topic you can relax because I am not talking about your money. I am talking about your neighbor's money. Touch your neighbor right now and tell them, "Hey you should really listen because he is talking about your money not mine!" OK, now that you are off the hook maybe you can relax and listen. In fact, make sure you take good notes so that your neighbor doesn't miss anything that they might have needed to hear.
Randy Alcorn made a statement that has stuck in my spirit. I believe he nails it when he said, "Our hymnbooks say a lot about following Jesus. Our pocketbooks say even more. What does it mean when God has entrusted Christians with greater wealth than in all of human history, yet many are giving less to kingdom purposes than ever before? Surely it means we are following our culture, not our Christ."
If I want my neighbor to follow Christ not culture and to truly be a disciple, then they have to be willing to follow Him in every area of their life . . . including money. So, if we your neighbor is going to make this change and adjust their approach to money and find freedom in every area of life we/they must learn some things about money.
Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.”