Summary: This sermon deals with looking at our own greed and how it hurts the Kingdom Of God.

Paid In Full—What I Owe Me

10/1/2006 Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 and 1 Timothy 6:3-10 Luke 12

Today is the first week of our Stewardship Period. We will be doing three messages with the overall theme “Paid In Full”. There are only three debts we need to pay up to be Paid in Full. The first is “what I owe me”, the second is “what I owe you,” and the third is “what I owe God.” If we’re going to be balanced and blessed in our spiritual and financial lives, we have to settle how we’re going to pay these three debts. Each Christian ought to want to arrive in heaven, with a Paid In Full Stamp, right behind their name. Today we are going to look at what might be the toughest debt to deal with, and that debt is “What I owe me.” Say that with me, “What I owe me.” Not knowing the answer to this single question, can ruin your credit, destroy your marriage, and send you to the end of the poverty line.

Pastor Toby and I have had the privilege of going all over this country speaking on giving. It has been our privilege at times to meet and speak to some of the world’s 15% richest people. God has blessed them with more stuff and money than he has 85% of the world’s population, and one of their biggest problem is that they figure they need more money. Even with all their wealth, they say, they would like to tithe but they cannot afford it. They have not been able to settle the issue of “what I owe me.” Can you imagine having that much and still wanting more?

If God were to move you were into the top 15% of the richest people in the world today, how many of you believe you would be willing to tithe and maybe even give a little extra above tithing. What if God moved you into the top 5% of the richest people in the world then could you do it? Let me tell you how much you need in order to be in the top 20% of the world’s richest people.

You need a yearly salary of $1500.00. To be in the top 15% of the world’s richest people, you need enough food to eat, live in a house or an apartment, and have a reliable means of transportation. To be in the top 5% you need to have some money in the bank, own a house, have a wardrobe of clothes and two cars of any kind that run.

How many of us are far richer compared to the rest of the world than we had thought we were. When you think of the word greed, what comes to your mind. A rich oil excutive, a kid that won’t share his cookies, somebody with too much food at the buffet table. Of all the sins that come from our hearts, very few of us think that greed is a problem, because in our society greed is acceptable because it comes in so many disguises. We’re not greedy, we’re savers. We’re not greedy, we’re fashionable, we’re not greedy, we’re good planners. We’re not greedy, we’re prepared. We’re not greedy, we deserve this. We’re not greedy, we’re keeping up to date.

Let me define greed. Greed is when I feel I owe myself something beyond what I truly need. In America, there is a whole industry, bent on redefining what it is that we need. I am a technological guru when it comes to computers. I found myself constantly wanting the fastest computer with the latest gadget. I can remember how proud I was when I turned my computer into a TV with all the cable channels so that I could watch tv while working on the computer. This was at the same time, I already 6 tv’s in the house.

But then, I had to have a laptop computer. The industry kept stealing my old computers, by coming out with a faster one, that did more things, every nine months. It got to the point, my greed just couldn’t keep up. I realized I had a problem. Now I was still tithing, and still putting in extra offerings, and still giving people money who needed it, but greed for computers was a real factor in my life.

I was convinced that I owed me, the best computer possible in my price range. I had to have it for my work was the lie I told myself. To deal with this problem, I banned myself from computer stores, purchasing computer magazines, and buying me a new laptop. It has not been easy. It’s been three years without a new laptop. I believed that lie that if I just had the latest or one more gadget I was going to be paid in full with my greed. It did not happen.

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