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. 3 - Discontent
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. Meat mentioned in the name of a pie. Big dogs and paper routes. A swimming pool and regular diapers. Children and cancer. A Christian and cynicism. Vulgarity out of the same mouth that worships. And at least in the modern version, the church talking about money.
So have said that even though 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 we still seem to get very nervous and even angry when the church addresses money! 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 area because most of us struggle mightily to allow God to speak to this area of our life.
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), have titled this series "Other People's Money"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.
William Shakespeare would have never imagined what life would be like today but in the first couple of lines of Richard III he may have coined a phrase that best describes most of our neighbors. He said "Now is the winter of our discontent!" I would submit that this describes most of our neighbors but in fact not only are they in a winter of discontent they are in a prolonged season of discontent. It seems that being discontent is the hallmark of our generation. We never have enough. It is never new enough. We are the generation of upgrades. Our neighbor will take a phone that works perfectly and stand in line for hours and pay money for an identical or nearly identical phone that has a few new features that they don't even really need. Our neighbor will drive a perfectly good car onto a lot and leave it and their money for another car that for all intents and purposes accomplishes the same exact feat as the older car.
Money magazine recently did a survey of their readers that exposes this season of discontent in our society. Money Magazine asked readers how much liquid assets do you need to feel rich? The result of the survey was readers said they need $5 million to feel rich! Not $1 million, not $2, $3, $4, or $4.5. In other words, there is a constant feeling of discontent where we never seem to have enough.
Jesus tells a parable that exposes this tendency to always want more.
Text: Luke 12:15-21
15 Beware! Don’t always be wishing for what you don’t have. For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are.”
16 Then he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 In fact, his barns were full to overflowing—he couldn’t get everything in. He thought about his problem, 18 and finally exclaimed, ‘I know—I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones! Then I’ll have room enough. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “Friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Wine, women, and song for you!”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?’ 21 “Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven.”
This parable or story reveals the heart of a discontent man. He has barns that are already overflowing. He had so much that he couldn't hold the blessing he was already experiencing. But he apparently didn't think he had enough because when faced with the opportunity to enjoy what he had and to bless others with the more that was coming his way he tries to upgrade his barns for more. He then tries to convince himself that if he can get new barns he will be satisfied and will then enjoy the fruits of his labors. Discontent! Appetite for new, better, increase is never filled or satisfied.