Summary: A stewarship Sermon.

Matthew 6:24-34

Philippians 4:12-13

“What the World Needs Now—Contentment”

By: Rev, Ken Sauer, Pastor, East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN

Paul, a human being just like you and I, found the secret of contentment, but I am afraid that there are very few of us who make it to this blessed place!

But isn’t this what we desire more than anything?

To be content is to be at peace no matter the circumstances…

…whether we are going through economic hardships or are making a million dollars a year…

…whether our refrigerators are full or empty!

The secret of this contentment, says Paul, is to completely trust in the sovereign will and love of God and to believe that we can “do everything through [Christ] who gives [us] strength.”

This is the secret, this is the Way, and this is what the world needs now more than anything!!!

It doesn’t mean that we will never be sad.

It doesn’t mean that things will not get rough.

What it does mean is that whatever happens—we can be at peace!

We are all searching for peace.

We often look for peace through our careers, our hobbies, or our money.

But these things will never bring the lasting peace; the contentment we need and yearn to have!!!

It is only through understanding the greatness of God’s power that we are free to live…really LIVE!!!

Jesus tells us, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body what you will wear…”

“…do not worry…

…do not worry…

…do not worry.”

Raise your hand if you have gotten to the place where you “do not worry.”

As I just read, the New International Version of the Bible reads, “No one 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.”

Did you know that there are over 2,300 references to money and possessions in the Word of God?

At the same time prayer is only mentioned 500 times.

Yet prayer is the very oxygen by which our souls breath!

I think that the reason money is mentioned so much is because it is what so often gets in the way of our relationship with God and thus our ability to be content!

The word Jesus used for “Money” is the Aramaic word “Mammon.”

“You can’t serve both God and Mammon,” Jesus says.

Mammon means “accumulated resources.”

Mammon means “stuff,” as in, “We have a lot of stuff around here.”

Or “Please go into your room and pick up all your stuff.”

Or closer to the point: “You can’t serve God and stuff.”

Now, raise your hand if you have too much “stuff.”

How many of us have a lot of “stuff”?

How many of us have a garage full of “stuff”?

I certainly do!

How many of us have a closet full of clothes and yet we still scan the pages of a catalog looking for more?

Most of us have so much stuff that we can’t stand up under it…

…it threatens our very existence!

Many of us are about ready to drown in our own STUFF!

We worry.

We rely on self rather than God.

We are insecure.

We want to protect our STUFF!

We don’t trust others with our STUFF!

We don’t trust God with our STUFF!

And we suffer from this—contentment is lying hidden beneath a bunch of STUFF!!!

“You cannot serve both God and STUFF.”

This is not a threat, but a comment on life that speaks its own truth.

A lawyer, who had spent his life accumulating vast amounts of wealth through frivolous lawsuits was on his deathbed.

He told his wife, “When I die, I am going to take my money with me.”

“How in the world are you going to do that?” asked his wife.

“I have a plan,” the lawyer replied.

“I want you to grab two of the biggest pillow cases you can find, and go down to the bank.

Have them open my account and stuff those pillow cases full with my cash.”

“Then I want you to go up into the attic and hang those pillow cases to the ceiling.

When I die, I’ll grab them on the way up!”

The man’s wife did what he had asked.

Some time after the man had passed away, his wife went up to the attic to clean up a few things.

While in the attic, she saw that those two pillow cases—filled with cash—were still hanging from the ceiling, just as she had left them.

“Darn,” the woman snapped, “I knew I should have put that money in the basement!”

We can’t take our money, our mammon, our stuff with us…

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