Summary: This is the first of four messages looking at the Parable of the Foolish Rich Man. It was part of our annual Money Month
When you think of a treasure, what crosses your mind? Perhaps something buried by a pirate? When I was a boy, when I thought about treasure, I thought about Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island”. By the way, Long John Silver was the ship’s cook, not the ship’s captain.
The 1950 Disney Movie, based on Stevenson’s novel, has been rated the best Pirate movie ever, closely followed by The Princess Bride. If you are wondering, Pirates of the Caribbean was number 7, and the Muppets Treasure Island was number 10.
Living in the Maritimes, you might have been brought up on tales of treasure hidden by Captain Kidd, and most of us had known about the curse of Oak Island long before it was a TV show.
Personally, I think the treasure on Oak Island is from the Knights Templar. But what do I know? I’m the wrong Guptill to ask about Oak Island.
Maybe you are more pragmatic, and when you think of treasure, you think of lottery winnings. Good luck with that. Or maybe you’re more of a romantic and when you think of treasure, you think of your one true love.
Dictionary.com defines treasure this way: noun
1. Wealth or riches stored or accumulated, especially in the form of precious metals, money, jewels, or plate.
2. Wealth, rich materials, or valuable things.
3. Any thing or person greatly valued or highly prized:
This is the first Sunday of March, which to most Maritimers means that Spring will happen sometime between now and the end of June, but for the Cornerstone family, it means it’s the beginning of, Stewardship Emphasis Month, or as it’s often been called, Money month.
Here is a little insight for those of you who have become a part of our church family in the past year.
Almost 20 years ago, we decided to take a different approach to dealing with finances at Cornerstone.
We decided that instead of dealing with the crisis of finances. That is harping at you every time things got tight financially in the church; that instead, we would teach stewardship once a year.
Because our church year ends in April, we decided that March would be a good month, so here we are.
And so, if you can handle four messages on stewardship, then you get a free pass on the preacher harping at you about money for the rest of the year. As part of that process, we adopted what we call “Step-up Cornerstone.” Each year, at the end of March, we ask those who make Cornerstone their church home to step out in faith and fill out an “estimate of giving” card. We collect those cards at the end of that service, and we use that figure to plan our budget for the new church year.
And there are benefits to that, both for the church and for you as individuals. For the church, it gives us a responsible way to plan our budget for the upcoming year.
For you, it allows you in a very practical way to determine what type of church you want to have in the upcoming year. A church in its own building with paid staff will always cost more than a church meeting in a community centre with volunteer staff.
For the first twenty years of my ministry, the churches that I led did what most churches do. Each year the leadership would pull a budget out of the air. It may have been based on the previous year’s budget with a slight increase for additional expenses, or perhaps department heads had submitted their wish list for the upcoming year.
Often it was done by a committee, but realistically, it wasn’t based on any knowledge of what the church income would be.
Sometimes the church would talk about how they were stepping out in faith. But the end result was that the preacher would end up talking about money all the time, challenging people to step up and pay a budget that was not rooted in reality.
In 2002, the leadership at Cornerstone decided to take a different approach. I would speak on the biblical role of stewardship for a month each year. And it’s an important topic, and it’s an important part of our spiritual lives.
And at the end of the month, we allow the folks who call Cornerstone their church home to respond and provide an estimate of what they believe they will be able to give in the upcoming year.
This year our theme is: Where Your Treasure Is, and for the next four weeks we will be focusing on the scripture that was read earlier.
Let’ start with the back story, Jesus is teaching a large crowd. He has just finished talking about blaspheming the Holy Spirit and how that is the unforgivable sin, and he is interrupted with a request, let’s pick up the story in Luke 12:13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”