Summary: How we invest our money and our minutes reveals who our Master is.
Serving One Master
Rev. Brian Bill
According to a survey of over 4,000 people, Americans are more cynical than ever before. One book says that we are “discontent and disillusioned.” We don’t trust politicians or the economy and many are suspicious of the church as well. I realize that our topic this morning may create additional cynicism for some of you. One of the raps against churches is that they’re always asking for money.
That reminds me of the mother who was hysterical because little Jimmy had swallowed a quarter. She turned to her husband and screamed for him to call a doctor. So he picked up the phone, but instead of calling the doctor, he decided to call his pastor. The wife was upset and said, “We don’t need the pastor; we need some medical help!” To which the husband replied, “Hey, our pastor can get money out of anyone!”
I want to put you at ease. My goal is not to try to pry money out of you this morning. You can breathe a sigh of relief because we’ve already taken the offering and our weekly giving is significantly higher than what we budgeted. Our Family Life Center loan has been paid off so I’m not trying to squeeze more shekels out of you. We’re also not in a building campaign, though our Expansion Team has met several times to discern what our next steps should be related to facility needs.
According to the most recent Barna survey (4/14/08), among born-again adults, 9% contributed one-tenth or more of their income. I was really impressed, though frankly not surprised, by the results from the REVEAL survey that was taken by 222 people from this church this past November. 47% report that they give 10% or more of their income to God’s work.
Since I know what I’m up against when tackling this topic, I hope to persuade you that it’s important to hear what the Bible has to say. You see, according to Jesus, how we manage our money and our minutes are spiritual issues. In the Gospel of Matthew alone, Jesus speaks of money over 100 times! Biblical stewardship is giving back to God that which is His in the first place and then managing our minutes and our money for His glory. When we do give a tithe or our time, we’re giving to God what He already owns.
In our brief series called “Growing in Grace,” we’ve been learning that if want to grow; we must take the next step. Two weeks ago we established that spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic. We can dream about where we want to be but until we decide to get there and implement the needed disciplines, we’re not going to grow as a disciple.
Something happened this week that made me think of discipline. When I was at Champion Fitness during my lunch hour on Thursday I met someone new (in an effort to live missionally, I’m trying to meet someone new every single day). I asked this older gentleman if it was his first time working out and he told me it was his second day. I encouraged him to keep going and to be disciplined. He then asked me if it was my first day. I told him that I actually worked out nearly every day. He turned to me and sincerely asked a very disarming question: “Has it helped?” Obviously he couldn’t tell.
Friend, whether you are brand new at the discipline thing or you’ve been at it for awhile, it does help, even if others don’t notice. Last week we locked into the daily discipline of time in God’s Word: It is impossible to grow in your relationship with God without growing in your relationship with God’s Word. I want to propose today that if we’re serious about growing we must come to grips with the fact that we’re made to worship – and if we don’t worship God with everything we have, we’ll worship other things. Specifically, we could state it this way: How we invest our money and our minutes reveals who our Master is.
Let’s use the white board to put some things in perspective. I’ll write down your responses to this question: “What do people give their money and minutes to?” Now, let’s erase that which is temporal and leave on the board that which is eternal. What do we have left? What lasts forever?
* The Word of God
I think there’s a third thing that lasts forever – what we do with what we have. How we invest our money and our minutes reveals who our Master is.
Money magazine has declared that money is now the #1 obsession of Americans. Newsweek reports that we have achieved a new plane of consciousness called “transcendental acquisition.” I saw a headline on CNBC this week after the stock market had a great day and the commentators were giddy about it. This is what it said, “Money does buy happiness.” By the way, did you know that the average credit cardholder has over $9,200 in credit-card debt? Several years ago this number was around $8,000. The New York Times reported two weeks ago that the rate is growing faster than it has in years.