The title of this morning’s sermon is, “Finances – Part III: Giving.”
Up to this point we’ve talked about a number of things related to finances. We’ve talked about:
- Paying off debt…
- Avoiding bad purchases…
- Not wasting money…
But there are two things we haven’t discussed yet:
- We haven’t discussed what NOT TO DO w/ the money we save.
- And we haven’t discussed what TO DO w/ the money we save.
And if you applied everything from the previous two sermons, but didn’t apply what we’re going to talk about this morning then those messages would be for
naught. If you applied every principle we discussed:
- If you got rid of all your debt…
- If you didn’t waste any money…
- If you didn’t make any bad purchases…
- If you saved plenty of money…
- If you did every single thing from the previous two sermons…
But you didn’t do what we’re going to talk about this morning you would be a complete failure w/ your finances in God’s eyes. And I don’t want you to think
this is my opinion, so let me give you an example of a man in Scripture who did everything we talked about…but was still a complete failure…
Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself,
saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build
greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years;
take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’
Think of how wonderfully this man did everything we discussed in the previous two sermons:
· We talked about not being wasteful and in verse 17 he said, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?”
He didn’t want to waste any of his crops.
· We talked about planning and in verse 18 he said: “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater.” He had a great plan.
· We talked about saving and in verse 18 he said, “There I will store all my crops and my goods.” He knew all about saving.
· We talked about preparing for the future and in verse 18 he said, “I will say to [myself] you have many goods laid up for many years.”
He knew how to prepare for the future!
This guy couldn’t have fulfilled our previous sermons any better. You couldn’t find someone who’s a better example of the principles we discussed than this
But – and this is very important – look what God said to him…
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
God had strong words for this man, which is particularly interesting if you consider two things:
1. First, he basically did everything we talked about in the previous messages.
2. Second, he didn’t get his wealth by stealing, cheating or lying.
He seemed to be a very diligent man who acquired his wealth by saving, planning and working hard…just like we talked about.
So here’s the important reality we need to make sure we understand…
While the Bible strongly encourages saving like we discussed, you can still be strongly condemned by God if you save without using the money you have the
way God wants it used. So I don’t want to spend two weeks talking about:
- Paying off debt…
- Accumulating money slowly over time…
- Avoiding bad purchases…
So we can have plenty of money…and end up like this man, a fool in God’s eyes.
What was it he did wrong? This brings us to Lesson 1, Part I…
LESSON 1: DON’T SAVE UP MONEY (PART I) FOR SELFISH REASONS.
Let me briefly read the man’s words back to you and please listen for the number of times he said, “I” or “my.” It is a lot!
What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 ‘I will do this: I will pull down my
barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul,
“Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’
In verse 21 look what Jesus said: he laid up treasure (and notice these two important words…) FOR HIMSELF. Not even his wife or children.
This was an unbelievably caring and concerned man – which is good – but the only problem is:
· He only cared about himself…
· He was only concerned about himself…
There is no mention of God or others in anything he said. He was absolutely selfish.
God doesn’t bless us so we can be selfish and spend all our money on ourselves. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others. Whether you’re rich or
poor – whether you have a lot or a little – God expects us to think about others; God expects us to be giving and generous w/ what He’s given us.
Randy Alcorn said,
“God comes right out and tells us why He gives us more money than we need. It’s not so we can find more ways to spend it. It’s not so we can indulge
ourselves and spoil our children. It’s not so we can insulate ourselves from needing God’s provision. It’s so we can give – generously. When God
provides more money, we often think, “This is a blessing.” Yes it is a blessing, but it would be just as scriptural to think, “This is a test.”
So we want to remember that whatever God has blessed us with, it IS a blessing, but it’s also a test whether we’ll use it selfishly or not.
LESSON 1: DON’T SAVE UP MONEY (PART II) AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN IT.
In verse 19, notice what the man said to himself: “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’
This man’s trust was in his riches; his security came from his wealth. He was confident about the future, not b/c he trusted in God, but b/c he trusted his
finances. And there’s something wrong when we put more trust and security in our finances than we put in God.
The words “In God we trust” first appeared on coins in 1864. Those words were adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. One year
later, in 1957, the words appeared on our paper currency. The phrase itself is associated w/ many verses in the Bible: Psa 40:3, 118:8, 73:28, Pro 29:25.
But if we’re honest we have to admit it’s very ironic that we put “In God we trust” on our money, considering the world encourages us to put our
trust in money instead of in God:
- Our national retirement plan is called Social Security – it’s supposed to make us feel secure about our futures.
- We call our investments SECURITIES and TRUSTS. They’re supposed to make us feel secure; we’re supposed to put our
trust in them.
- We make money a god by calling it THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR – as though money is sovereign and able to give us the lives we want w/o any
hassle or concern.
But Pro 11:28a says He who trusts in his riches will fall. Let me say that one more time: He who trusts in his riches will fall.
We shouldn’t put our trust in our finances; we shouldn’t put our confidence in our bank accounts. Doing so will only lead to disappointment and struggle.
Our trust needs to be in the Lord.
In Part I I said money is spiritually neutral. That means if you have more or less money you aren’t better or worse. Despite what some people try to say,
being rich isn’t bad or immoral. Some of the wealthiest people I’ve ever met were also some of the most generous, and some of the godliest people in
Scripture also happened to be some of the wealthiest.
But while being rich isn’t bad, we have to be honest that being rich can be a snare: 1 Tim 6:9 those who desire to be rich fall into temptation AND A SNARE.
Jesus Himself spoke the most famous and powerful words associated w/ riches being a snare: Matt 19:23
Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time you’ve probably heard lots of different interpretations of what it means for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. I don’t think you have to know exactly what it means though to get Jesus’ point: it’s hard
– or harder – for rich people to enter heaven.
Now here’s the question: why is it hard – or harder – for rich people to enter heaven? I believe it relates to exactly what we’re
discussing: it’s easy for rich people to put their trust in their wealth instead of putting their trust in God. Poor people obviously aren’t going to
struggle putting their trust in riches b/c they don’t have any. But rich people will be tempted to rely on their wealth instead of relying on the Lord.
So while being rich isn’t bad, we need to recognize it can be a snare. While it’s not wrong to be wealthy, we need to be aware of the possible dangers or
temptations associated w/ it.
LESSON 1: DON’T SAVE UP MONEY (PART III) TO “RETIRE.”
I put the word “retire” in quotations b/c it needs some explaining. Let me be clear that I’m not condemning anyone who’s retired. But we do need to talk
about what it means to retire biblically or unbiblically…
In verse 19 look at the words And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’
He means he has enough saved up to stop working. Basically, he means he can retire. Unless I’m mistaken, this is probably the clearest picture of
retirement in the NT…and you should notice it’s not presented very positively. You might even circle the words “ take your ease; eat, drink and be merry” and write, “The world’s idea of retirement” b/c these words perfectly capture what comes
to mind for many people when they think of retiring: sitting around, doing nothing but pursuing pleasure.
But this is completely unbiblical: the Bible never discusses people reaching a point in life where they stop working to pursue lives of pleasure.
The bible always does things better than the way the world does things; God’s ways are always better and wiser than man’s ways…and there is a wonderful
form of retirement in the Old Testament…
Please listen to these verses about the Levites retiring…but listen to what their lives look like after they retire:
Num 8:23 The Lord [said to Moses], 24 “[Levites] twenty-five years old may perform the work in the tabernacle 25 but at the age of fifty, the must
retire from their regular service and work no longer.
Levites older than 50 were officially retired from the strenuous work in the tabernacle or temple, and then those positions were given to younger men. So
it sounds like they’re not supposed to work anymore, but listen to this…
They may assist [the other Levites] in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work.”
So in other words when the older Levites “retired” they aided the younger Levites…but they never stopped working completely. Instead they continued to
serve, but in a way that was appropriate for their age!
Older years aren’t to be spent solely on the pursuit of pleasure. In 1 Tim 5:6 Paul actually said a widow who lived for pleasure is dead while she lives…it’s like she’s already died b/c she’s not doing anything worthwhile while she’s
living! This is God’s perspective of people living for pleasure: it’s like they’re dead already!
Let me be clear about two things God doesn’t prohibit:
· God doesn’t prohibit Christians from retiring and living off pensions…as long as they continue to serve the Lord.
· God doesn’t prohibit retired people from enjoying golf, social functions or other pleasurable pursuits…as long as they aren’t the primary focus of our
lives…and that’s whether we’re old or young.
If God allows us to retire, we retire into Christian service. If God has blessed us in such a way that we can retire, we’re even more obligated be good
stewards of the time God has given us and use it to serve Him!
Our work for God is never finished. We never stop serving Him. As we get older the way we serve the Lord changes, but we should still be committed to using
the time we have for God’s glory…not selfishly like the fool in Jesus’ story.
Now let me get you to look back at verse 21 to see what Jesus said this man did wrong: he laid up treasure for himself, and as a result he was not rich toward God. He was financially rich, but he was
spiritually – and therefore eternally – poor. His problem could be summed up in the reality that he wasn’t giving. He had a lot – and there’s nothing wrong
w/ having a lot – but he wasn’t generous w/ any of it. As a result, God said he was a fool.
Now in my mind I initially looked at this and thought, “I can see why his actions made him selfish, but why is he called a fool?” The answer to
this is very important: he was a fool b/c he should’ve known he couldn’t keep any of his stuff when he died. Look at Jesus’ words inverse 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” And
the answer is: not his! The idea is he would die and leave it all behind for everyone else. That’s why he should’ve been wise enough to be giving w/ it
while he was alive.
There’s a famous quote from Jim Elliot, and he could’ve been speaking of the OPPOSITE of this man when he said it. Jim Elliot said,“HE IS NO FOOL who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” One more time: “HE IS NO FOOL who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot meant you’re not a fool to give up everything this life
offers – b/c you can’t keep it anyway – for everything the next life offers – which you keep for eternity.
So if we don’t want to be like the man in Jesus’ parable – if we don’t want to be fools – whether we have a lot or a little, we need to be giving. We
didn’t spend two Sundays talking about saving, paying off debt and being frugal so we could accumulate wealth and be fools like this man. We discussed
everything we did in the previous two sermons, so we could have wealth that could be used for God’s Kingdom.
The previous two sermons put us in positions to be giving, and this brings us to Lesson 2, Part I…
LESSON 2: GIVE (PART I) IN THIS LIFE TO INVEST IN ETERNITY.
Gene Getz said, “ Statistics reveal that most Christians in America do not include God in their budgets. Sadly, God often gets what is leftover, if anything.” These
are people who are not preparing for – or you could say these are people who are not investing in – eternity.
Yes, it’s important to save and invest in this life, but it’s infinitely more important to save and invest in the next life. It’s possible to be like the
man in Jesus’ parable and be completely rich in this life and completely poor in the next life.
· It’s tragic how some people will prepare for the final years of this life, but they’ll neglect the next life that follows.
· It’s tragic how some people will invest large amounts of time and energy preparing for the final years of their earthly lives, but they won’t prepare for
the eternity that follows.
The bible gives us great principles for saving, avoiding debt, investing and preparing for the future. But listen to these words from Jesus that describe
the even greater saving, investing and preparing we should be engaging in…
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The point of Jesus’ words ISN’T that we shouldn’t save or invest in this life: His point is that it’s even more important to save and invest in eternity.
Randy Alcorn said, “
When Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth, it’s not just because wealth might be lost; it’s because wealth will always be lost. We leave
it when we die. Realizing its value is temporary should radically affect our investment strategy.”
Jesus’ words are about investing; His words are about saving. But He’s talking about investing in the Kingdom of God and He’s talking about saving for
eternity. No matter how much wealth someone accumulates in this life, if someone isn’t rich toward God he’s a completely poor fool.
LESSON 2: GIVE (PART II) BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO “TITHE.”
The reason I put “tithe” in quotations is the word tithe is a noun meaning tenth, but it’s often used as a verb. Perhaps it’s b/c I used to teach
elementary school it always bothers me when people use the word tithe as a verb instead of a noun. For example, you’ll hear people say, “I’m tithing” or “I think it’s important to tithe.” People don’t say, “I’m treeing” or “I think it’s important to car.”
You might as well say, “I’m tenthing” or “I think it’s important to tenth.”
Please let me be very clear about something: notice the lesson doesn’t say you shouldn’t or can’t give a tithe: it says, “You don’t have to.” If
you want to give a tithe, that is completely fine. I know many wonderful Christians who do this. You have the liberty to say, “God expected a tithe in the Old Testament, so I want to give a tithe in the New Testament.” There are plenty of people who look at the Mosaic Law
and believe it contains wonderful principles to apply today and if you want to do that regarding giving a tithe that’s completely fine.
But I do want to ask you to keep a few things in mind…
First, God didn’t really command His people to give a tithe in the OT. He commanded them to give a NUMBER of tithes:
- One for the Levites.
- One for the use of the temple and the feasts.
- And one for the poor of the land.
All of these tithes together actually would’ve pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. So really, if you want to follow the Mosaic Law regarding giving,
you should give much closer to one fourth than one tenth. Then you can tell everyone, “I used to give a tithe, but now I give a fourth.” Or if you
want to continue to use bad grammar, you can say, “I’m fourthing” or “I think it’s important for people to fourth.”
And keep in mind when people gave a tithe they did so on grain, wine, oil and even their animals. How would we even apply this today? Would we give away
one tenth of all the food or clothes we buy?
The second thing to keep in mind is giving a tithe was commanded under the Mosaic Law, but we’re under the Law of Christ. The Law of Christ carries forth
the morality found in the Mosaic Law, but it drops the ceremonial commands…including those related to giving a tithe.
The third thing to keep in mind is the NT lets us know that if we feel obligated to keep part of the Mosaic Law we have to strive to keep all of it. Just
so you don’t think this is my opinion, please listen to these verses:
Circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
- Galatians 5:3
I testify to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
James 2:10 Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one
he is guilty of all.
There’s no such thing as picking and choosing what parts of the Mosaic Law to obey. If you feel bound to give a tithe b/c the Mosaic Law commands it, then
you should feel equally bound to obey the other commands in the Law.
The fourth – and I would say most important – thing to keep in mind is the New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, giving a tithe. If giving a
tithe was commanded under the Mosaic Law and then carried over to the New Testament under the Law of Christ – like commands not to lie, steal or commit
adultery – then we should feel bound to give a tithe. But the New Testament nowhere identifies a percentage of income people should give.
The only time the word “tithe” is even mentioned in the NT is:
- Matt 23:23
and Luke 11:42 when Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters
of the law.”
- Luke 18:12 [The Pharisee] who said, “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess.”
- Heb 7
when it discusses Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek.
That’s it! Outside of those verses giving a tithe is never mentioned in the NT. Most significantly giving a tithe it’s not mentioned in any of the
epistles, which are the letters of instruction for Christian living. If we were expected to give a tithe, you can be sure it would be in those letters.
But even though we aren’t commanded to give a tithe in the NT, we are commanded to give. Let me say that one more time: even though we aren’t commanded to
give a tithe in the NT, we are commanded to give.
And the NT contains some wonderful principles to help us understand HOW to give under the New Covenant…and this brings us to Lesson 2, Part III…
LESSON 2: GIVE (PART III) ACCORDING TO YOUR INCOME…
A few places in the NT make it clear we’re supposed to give according to our income…
1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside
(he means to give financially)
, STORING UP AS HE MAY PROSPER.
The words “as he may prosper” mean the amount to give relates to our income. Other translations read:
- NIV Set aside a sum of money
IN KEEPING WITH YOUR INCOME
- ESV and NAS Put something aside and [save], AS HE MAY PROSPER
So while we’re not told what percent to give, we are told our giving should reflect our income. This means as we make more money more money should be
Please turn to 2 Cor 8. We’ll look at a verse in chapter 8, and for the 5th part of this lesson we’ll look at a verse in
2 Cor 8
is largely about Christian giving and verse 12 communicates the same truth we’ve been discussing:For if there is first a willing mind (that means a mind willing to give), IT IS ACCEPTED ACCORDING TO WHAT ONE HAS, and not according to what he does not have. Again, we’re
not told what percent to give, but we’re told if we’re willing to give, our giving should be according to our income.
This means if God has given you more, you need to give more. It’s completely reasonable that there will be some people who make enough money that they
should give much more than 10%.
For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.
Although this isn’t speaking directly of finances, the principle it’s communicating relates to finances. If God gives you more, He expects you to give
So what percent to give? The NT doesn’t tell us – so I’m not going to tell you – but it does say your giving should be according to your income.
LESSON 2: GIVE (PART IV) SACRIFICIALLY.
This lesson reveals another reason it’s not always a good idea for Christians to give a tithe. For some Christians, giving a tithe would require very, very
little sacrifice. For people who make quite a bit of money – unless they were outrageously greedy – giving 10% of their income wouldn’t mean much.
This lesson is important, not just b/c of what it teaches us about giving, but b/c of what it teaches us about our relationships w/ the Lord in general…
God doesn’t need our money. His goals and His desires will be accomplished with or without our help. But God allows us to worship Him through giving, and
the only way our giving is worshipful is if it involves some sacrifice.
This is most clearly seen in the story of the Widow’s Mites. Now I’m sure most – if not all of us – are very familiar w/ this story. I’m going to ask you
to try to listen as though this is your first time hearing it…
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many
(listen to this…) PUT IN MUCH.
It’s important to notice these people put in a significant amount.
Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,
which make a quadrans.
We’re talking a tiny amount: each of these is 1/5 or 1/8 of a cent.
Now listen to this amazing statement Jesus made about her giving…
So He called His disciples to
and said to them,
“Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow HAS PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN TO THE TREASURY;
for they all put in out of their abundance
(their was no sacrifice involved in their giving), but she out of her poverty (there was a LOT of sacrifice involved in her giving) put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
In verse 41 we were told the rich [people] put in much, and in verse 42 we’re told the widow put in less than a cent. It
makes absolutely no sense for Jesus to say this woman put in more than all [of them]…unless we understand He’s not really talking about
how much they gave financially. He’s talking about how much they gave sacrificially.
The amount given isn’t what’s most important: the amount of sacrifice in the giving is what’s most important. George Muller said, “God judges what we give by what we keep.”
Let me give you two examples from the OT…
There are a few reasons God wanted sacrifices without blemish. One reason is He wanted people’s best: He didn’t want people giving Him old, sick animals
that were about to die. Even though those animals would be offered as a sacrifice, using them wouldn’t really involve any sacrifice. And I’ve said before, “A sacrifice that doesn’t involve any sacrifice isn’t really a sacrifice.”
If your giving doesn’t involve any sacrifice, it’s not really a sacrifice. It’s not really worshipful. It’s not really meaningful to God. So while I can’t
tell you how much to give, I can tell you when you give you should…feel it. There should be some sacrifice involved.
Here’s the other example I want to share w/ you…
In 2 Sam 24 David wanted to purchase a threshing floor so he could build an altar to God. When David tried to buy the threshing floor from
a man named Araunah, something interesting happened: Araunah was very kind and generous, and he probably thought a lot of David, so he offered him the
threshing floor for free…and he offered him the animals for the sacrifice for free…and he offered him the wood for the sacrifice for free. He pretty much
offered David everything he would need for the sacrifice…
2 Sam 24:22 Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt
sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood.
Now listen to this wonderful response from David…
Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; [FOR I WILL NOT] OFFER BURNT OFFERINGS TO THE
MY GOD WITH THAT WHICH COSTS ME NOTHING.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
In other words, David said, “I won’t offer anything to the Lord that costs me nothing. I won’t offer anything to the Lord that don’t involve any sacrifice on my part.”
Erwin Lutzer said, “Those who give much without sacrifice are reckoned as having given little.”
So again, while I can’t tell you how much to give, I can tell you it should involve sacrifice on your part.
LESSON 2: GIVE (PART V) JOYFULLY
Now I know what you’re saying: you’re saying, “You just said I’m supposed to give sacrificially and now you’re saying I’m supposed to give joyfully. Those two don’t go together!”
God wants our giving to be done joyfully, b/c we should recognize what a privilege it is to give back to Him a little of what He’s given us. And when you
give to the Lord that’s all you’re really doing: you’re giving back Him a little of what He’s given you.
Hopefully your bibles are still open to 2 Cor 8. Please turn to the next chapter: 2 Cor 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
In this verse God tells us how TO GIVE and how NOT TO GIVE:
· He says NOT TO GIVE grudgingly or of necessity. This is what giving was like in the Old Testament under the Law: people were commanded
to give. They had to give. They gave of necessity. They had to give even if it was done grudgingly.
· As far as how TO GIVE it says give as you purpose in your heart…for God loves a cheerful giver. There aren’t many things in Scripture
God says He loves, but interestingly one of the things He loves is a cheerful giver. Under the New Covenant God wants us giving cheerfully and joyfully.
· As a note, this is why we don’t “pass the plate” at WCC: we think people should give voluntarily without being compelled.
Robert Rodenmeyer said, “
There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving, and thanksgiving. Grudge giving says, ‘I have to’; duty giving says, ‘I ought to’;
thanksgiving says, ‘I want to.’”
And we can tell which one of these God wants us to do!
Let’s briefly talk about children giving their parents gifts…
I don’t want to hurt the feelings of any of the children here regarding the drawings or things they might make for their parents, but if we’re h onest, let’s just say the gifts our kids give us aren’t things we’d probably purchase if we saw them when we were walking through the
store. In fact, unless your children are unbelievably talented for their age, if you saw something at the store that resembled the gifts your children make
for you, you’d probably say, “I can’t believe they’re selling that here!”
But here’s the thing: when your child gives you something, it’s special. It’s meaningful to you b/c you know your children gave it to you out of love; you
know that’s why they made it. It might not be that beautiful and it might not benefit you, but you take pleasure in it b/c it’s a sign of your child’s love
for you…and you see that through your child giving it to you joyfully.
Now we’re coming to the end of our Marriage & Family Series, and we’ve talked about finances the last three Sundays. I want to tie all this together –
I want to tie together families and finances – by discussing what really makes a family rich.
As you might be able to guess, a family’s richness actually has nothing to do w/ money:
· The Bible is very clear that those w/ less are far richer than those w/ more if their families have certain things.
· And the Bible is very clear that those w/ less are far richer than those w/ more if their families DON’T have certain things…
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
I love how this is translated in the Amplified: Better is little with the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord than great and rich treasure and trouble with it.
It’s better to be a family and have only a little w/ a healthy, worshipful fear of the Lord than to have great treasure and the trouble that might come w/
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
It’s better to have a poor, simple meal w/ love, than a feast w/ anger and conflict.
Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues [with injustice]
The Amplified says
Better is a little with righteousness (uprightness in every area and relation and right standing with God) than great revenues with injustice.
You’re a rich family if you have righteousness and right standing w/ God; you’re far richer than the wealthiest who are unjust.
Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
It’s better to have nothing more than a dry morsel of bread w/ peace and harmony, than an entire feast that’s accompanied by conflict.
A little that a righteous man has
better than the riches of many wicked [men]
This means a righteous man who’s poor, is far wealthier than many rich men who are wicked.
As you can see, the world’s view of wealth is completely different than God’s view of wealth:
· You could have a family that like the man in Jesus’ story is very rich in the world’s eyes, but is not rich toward God, making him completely poor.
· Conversely you could have a family that is very poor in the world’s eyes, but is very rich toward God.
Rich in the world’s eyes is completely different than rich in God’s eyes. Jesus discussed seven churches in Revelation.
· One of the churches was very rich in the world’s eyes and that’s Laodicea. Listen to what Jesus said to them:
Rev 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
This was a very rich church, but Jesus said they were completely poor.
· Another church, Smyrna, the Persecuted Church, was terribly poor in the world’s eyes, but Jesus looked at them and in Rev 3:9 He said, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich).” This church that looked poor was very rich in Christ.
The question we should ask ourselves is:
- If Jesus looked at us, would He say we’re rich or we’re poor?
· If Jesus looked inside our homes at our families, would He say we’re rich or we’re poor?
This brings us to our last Lesson…
LESSON 3: A CHRIST-CENTERED HOME IS A RICH HOME.
It’s not wealth that makes us rich; it’s our relationships w/ Christ.
As a family, it would be better to have almost nothing, as long as you had a love for the Lord. It would be better to have little – to have dry morsels to
eat, to be poor – and have Christ, than it would be to have much – to eat a feast every night and be financially well off – but not have Christ. Without
Christ we have nothing. We are the poorest of the poor. But in Christ we are rich.
And let me describe a Christ-centered home…this is what a spiritually rich family looks like…
· You have a husband who loves and cherishes his wife, like Christ loves and cherishes His church. He sees her as a gift from God and He treats her with
love and gentleness as a result.
· You have a wife who submits to her husband joyfully, like the church should for Christ. She respects her husband and does her best to help him with the
huge load on his shoulders.
· You have parents who bring their children up in the training and admonition of the Lord. In the language of Deut 6:7 they
diligently teach their children, talking to them about God’s Word when they sit in the house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down and when
they rise up.
· You have children who honor and obey their parents. They seek to be a joy to them and they’re thankful for all their parents do for them.
And this is what this family does:
- They pray…together.
- They read God’s Word…together.
- They talk about Scripture…together.
- They go to church…together.
- They love Christ and they give Him thanks…together.
If you have a family that does these things…
- If you have a family that keeps their eyes on Christ…
- If you have a family that stands on God’s Word…
· If you have a family that tries to please the Lord w/ their home and the way they live….
Then you have a very, very rich family indeed.
LET’S REVIEW THESE LESSONS:
LESSON 1: DON’T SAVE UP MONEY:
· (PART I) FOR SELFISH REASONS.
· (PART II) AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN IT.
· (PART III) TO “RETIRE.”
LESSON 2: GIVE:
· (PART I) IN THIS LIFE TO INVEST IN ETERNITY.
· (PART II) BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO “TITHE.”
· (PART III) ACCORDING TO YOUR INCOME.
· (PART IV) SACRIFICIALLY.
· (PART V) JOYFULLY.
LESSON 3: A CHRIST-CENTERED HOME IS A RICH HOME.
INTRODUCE NEW MEMBERS!!!
Author: Scott LaPierre