Summary: This sermon looks at how we need to keep money in its proper perspective. It looks at what challenges us in this area and how we can best view our finances. Preached during a stewardship campaign.
In the movie “Indecent Proposal”, a young couple who is newly married is approached by a Billionaire with an offer, an Indecent proposal. The offer is this, in exchange for one night alone with the new bride, this billionaire would offer the couple a check for a million dollars. One night of romance for one million dollars. And all though the couple loved each other, the temptation of such a large sum of money turned out to be to much. Now what would you have done in that situation?
I hope I know what you do, but as I thought about that some more, it gets me thinking about all the crazy things that people are willing to do for some extra money. My wife is a big fan of the reality show, “Fear Factor”, and on this show just for a chance at fifty thousand dollars, (Just a chance, they’re not guaranteed to win!) I have seen people eat cockroaches, cheese filled with maggots, and raw half developed ostrich eggs. Now, that might turn your stomach, but it doesn’t turn my stomach nearly as bad as what other people are willing to do for money.
Young men break into the houses of the elderly to get some money. I remember growing up we had something happened in a town near us where a Pizza delivery man was killed, for $40 and a large pizza. 1 Tim 6:9-10 says, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Now that verse is perhaps one of the most misquoted text in the bible, and it has been used to degrade many wealthy people, but it’s not money that is the root of all evil, it’s the love of money. Money is no more than a symbol, currency made of paper and metal, nothing more. There’s nothing inside the paper or the metal that’s inherently unspiritual or evil. It’s the love of money, devotion to getting more and more money that is a root of all kinds of evil. Paul is saying that a drive to get rich is a source of all kinds of evil behavior and it indeed leads to many griefs.
More marriages are broke up today not because of infidelity, but because of financial stress. According to Nellie Mae, a credit service for students, the average credit card debt for a graduate student is $4,925. The average cardholder in America now carries an average of $7,000 of credit card debt. As a result, depression and hopelessness and a spirit of bondage emerges.
Now as we look at this sermon, some of you might see the title and think this is about giving and tithing. It’s not. I’m not against preaching it and you will hear one here soon. I remember hearing a preacher say that if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one who yelps is the one who got hit, and more often than not, those who complain about sermons on tithing are the ones it seems to be hitting. But this is not a message on tithing, its about keeping money in its proper perspective.
US News and World Report had an article on money a few years back, and the reporter spoke the truth when she said this: “For most of us, money and our feelings toward it our dynamic and intense. We either love money or we hate it; we fear it or we worship it; but one things is sure, we certainly never ignore it.” Money is such an integral part of our lives that we can’t ignore it, and Jesus sure did not ignore it.
Howard Dayton, financial advisor and founder of Crown Ministries, a financial training ministry counted about five hundred verses in the Bible on prayer but 2,350 verses on how to handle money and possessions. Half of Jesus’ teachings deal with our attitude towards money and possessions. Jesus knew that God’s greatest rival for our hearts would not be Satan, but it would be money. That’s why Luke 16:13-14 says, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.” With this in mind, let’s look at how we can keep money in its right perspective, and it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, we all need to hear this message this morning.