Let’s take a vote. What is the last subject you would like to hear a pastor/teacher discuss on TV, Radio or in your home church? Most people would say giving and receiving, financial stewardship, tithing, etc. Anything to do with money makes me nervous. This is a touchy subject. Unfortunately, because of so much manipulative teaching in this area, people have become skittish about listening to teaching on this topic. However, clear, accurate, and grace-filled teaching on financial stewardship can become the most liberating, powerful and life changing topics in which to discuss. And believe me, Jesus taught on the subject of money.
Interestingly, Jesus taught more on finances than any other subject, including heaven, hell and sin. He understood the influence of money in our lives is very real so it’s not surprising that Jesus taught on this subject more than any other.
Though a dollar bill is, in itself, worth as much as a few Kleenex; that note with George Washington’s face imprinted and the words, “In God We Trust,” represents our time, energy and the sweat of our brow. Jesus understood how important money is to people.
He also did not do what we like to do in our Christianity. We like to compartmentalize our “spiritual lives” from our “personal lives.” Many live as though the hour or two that is spent at church is their investment into the Kingdom of God and so that’s God’s time. The rest of the hours of the week are lived in the “Kingdom of Normal” and this is our own personal time. Jesus never treated life like this. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” I like the way Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. John 10:10
Jesus never viewed life in pieces. He saw life as a whole and called it Eternal Life. And His life, death and resurrection were offered so we could have “more and better life than we ever dreamed of.”
The Gospel has much to say about everyday earthly things. Could it be that the reason the church hasn’t made more of an impact on our modern society is that we have not successfully applied the Gospel to everyday, ordinary concerns?
I know that financial generosity is a sore subject. There are a lot of people who would rather avoid talking about it, especially in church. However, learning God’s views about income, stewardship, sowing and reaping and generosity is basic to the Christian life.
As I teach this series, “Just Say Yes to Generosity,” I hope you can understand one thing, as your pastor, I don’t want something from you, I want something FOR you. I want God to be vibrantly involved in this very important aspect of your life. As you learn to turn your finances over to God, it is a step toward a “more and better life than you ever dreamed of.”