Summary: Thesis: Life is not about how much money you make but how you invest your money, your resources and your time in God’s Kingdom and other people.
Series: Beyond the Benjamin’s – Benjamin on the $100 dollar bill.
Introduction to series:
Hold up a $100.00 dollar bill and show the church.
Thesis: Life is not about how much money you make but how you invest your money, your resources and your time in God’s Kingdom and other people.
The series title “Beyond the Benjamin’s” emerged in a discussion the staff and I had on Biblical financial stewardship and a book I was reading called “The Generosity Ladder.”
Giving of our money, our time and our resources is pivotal in our spiritual growth. A person’s giving record in these three areas reveals a person’s heart and who is the center of their heart.
Let’s look at $100.00 bill again! Who is on the $100? Answer Benjamin Franklin.
As I have prepared this sermon series I decided to look once again at the life of Benjamin Franklin to see if he lived beyond his financial success. History reminded me that he was a successful business man. In my research I discovered that Benjamin Franklin was a close friend of the great revival preacher George Whitefield. Whitefield was responsible along with the Wesley’s and Jonathan Edwards for one of the Great Awakenings here in the USA and in Britain.
I read a few letters written between these two famous men as they discussed politics, God, Jesus, country, Britain and leaving a legacy. Whitefield was committed to Jesus and the Great Commission while Franklin was committed to the United States and assisting her into becoming a great nation for God. In the letters they discussed theological topics, like the deity of Jesus, His ministry, His teachings, God, the deist’s theology and thinking and the Gospel message. It was obvious from the letters that these two thought different theologically. But I was impressed with Whitefield’s cander and directness with Benjamin Franklin about salvation and the importance of making Jesus a priority in your life as Lord and Savior.
It’s important to know that these two were good friends and when Whitefield came to town to preach he stayed with Benjamin Franklin. They would pray together and discuss the Bible together and Franklin would go to many of Whitefield’s revival meetings speaking of his great preaching ability. Franklin also could not understand why the pastors of the city Philadelphia did not embrace this great preacher of God’s word. He said this because George would have to hold meetings in fields and not in churches because most pastors would not allow him in their churches.
As I continued in my research on Benjamin Franklin I discovered he had become a successful printer and successful businessman and then retired to pursue inventions, help the US and to help out others. His financial success placed him in a secure financial condition to do these other things. It is interesting to note that he used the finances he accumulated to give back to his country, to others and to better the lives of the people of America.
Some of his accomplishments:
Franklin launched the first Library in America were the common person could check out books for no cost in 1731. He organized and launched the first fire-fighting brigade in 1736 to help put out fires and to help save lives and property. He invented the Franklin stove 1743 making life in kitchen for wives better and warmer. He organized and launched the first hospital in 1751 for the Philadelphia people. He launched the first fire insurance system for fire, we use this system today to insure ourselves in the case of fire, theft or storm damage. He did this in 1752 to help people not be so devastated by the common occurrence of fires in Philadelphia – remember candles were the norm for light in that time. He invented swim fins that divers wear – not sure what motivated him for this invention? He invented bifocals which I am enjoying right now as I preach. He is most known for his kite experiment which confirmed his theory of electricity which we all enjoy today and use daily as a result of this discovery.
As I looked at this man’s life and legacy I discovered that He believed in leaving a good legacy behind. He showed his love for his country and for others by his life’s actions and even his sacrifices.
When Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84 - 20,000 people attended his funeral because of his impact on their lives.
I believe his spiritual legacy is revealed in what he said to Congress shortly before his death.
The Constitutional Convention had been meeting for five weeks, and had hit a perilous deadlock. The large states were insisting that congressional representation be based on population; the smaller states wanted a one-state-one-vote rule. The entire effort to create a stronger union was in jeopardy. Eighty-one-year-old Benjamin Franklin, quiet during most of the deliberations, then addressed the group.