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Summary: Jesus had more to say about money and possession than about Heaven and Hell combined.

Video: The Truth About Debt (3:31 minutes - available at SermonCentral.com)

What Every Christian Needs To know About Stewardship. We established that God owns it all. All we are and all we have. If God owns it all, what does that make us? His Stewards. If we are stewards and managers of all of God’s things, don’t you think you might of left us few instructions on how to use it all? Well, you may ask, how spiritual is money management? A lot more than you think. Do you realize that:

Jesus talked much about money. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. [1] In fact, 15 percent of everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money and possessions-more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined. Ok, so the Bible is full of verses about money.

This begs the question "why?"

[Because] there is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. [It has been said] that you can get a good feel for someone's spiritual commitment by looking at two pieces of tangible evidence -- their day-planner and their checkbook. While this may be a bit simplistic, it's certainly true that how we spend both our time and money is a good reflection of who we are. Given this, is it really so surprising that the Bible talks so much about financial issues? [2]

In light of this, should we not focus on what God’s word has to say about how we manage the assets and monetary resources with which we have been entrusted? The fact is: We Need More Teaching About Money, Not Less (Sermon Title)

Our focal passage today comes out of a larger teaching and parable of Jesus. I will put it into context in a moment but I want to examine a small portion of that teaching this morning: Mark 4:18–20 (NKJV)

Money magazine declared money was the number one obsession of Americans. Newsweek reports there is a new plane of consciousness called "transcendental acquisition." Its cover story of 8/27/01 tells of a woman saddled with debt who charged a diving trip to French East Indies. Instead of trying to break free, it's as if she's given up. She said, "I’ve spoiled myself and can’t change my habits." Advertisers say if we buy more products, we’ll be happier, fulfilled, comfortable, popular, cooler. Yet they never warn of excess or hint that having things won’t make us happy. 34% of Americans in 2000 ranked shopping as their favorite activity! 70% visit malls at least once a week. That’s more than go to churches or synagogues! The average American shops 6 hours a week, but only plays with their children 40 minutes. By age 20, the average American has seen around one million commercials.[3]

We are people consumed with money, and I want us to pause to look at what the Bible tells us about money and the use of money. There are three aspects of money:

1. The practical aspect: This involves teaching people how to organize their finances and manage their money. We have all heard at some point teaching on the Good Samaritan, but have you considered this parable from a financial perspective? In Luke 10, the Good Samaritan not only gave of himself, but he was also a good steward. He saved money in advance for an unknown and unforeseen need. Because he was a saver, he had a surplus from which to express his generosity to the wounded traveler. Some his personal funds which he used on the wounded man certainly may have been a sacrifice, the Samaritan may have to go without something in some way. But he had resources from which to use because he had managed wisely the financial recourses with which he was entrusted. He did not throw his money away but came back to check up on how the man was doing and to see if the funds were being used as he intended.

2. The emotional aspect: This is rarely addressed and usually leads to bad financial decisions. When it comes to money, if the heart overrules the head, the result is frequently disastrous. Just follow teenagers around the mall to see what I mean. Financial decisions need to be made with a clear mind and with all due prayer, realizing where our true treasures lie:

Matthew 6:21 (NKJV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Very little in life must be done in haste or at the height of emotion:

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