So what God chooses to give you, you become a steward of. But you don’t love it. In either case, you love God, serve God, honor God, glorify God and let Him give you what He chooses and you use it to express your love for Him.
The 2 chapters in the bible that deal with giving
Now we are approaching, I admit, in a running fashion, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, and I’m not ready to get there yet and deal with the text itself. It is a text about giving, about Christian giving. In fact, both chapters are just loaded with matters regarding giving.
The fruit of repentance
You know what he told them in Luke 3? First he said, “Share your clothes and your food with the poor. That will demonstrate a transformed heart.” Then he talked to the tax collectors and he told the tax collectors not to collect and pocket extra money. And then he talked to the soldiers and he said to the soldiers, “Don’t extort money,” and soldiers could do that, they went around packing weapons, pretty easy for them to take money from people. And he told the soldiers not only not to extort money but to be content with their wages.
And in all three cases that was John the Baptist’s definition of the fruit of repentance. How interesting, how fascinating that the fruit of repentance had so much to do with how you view and handle money and possessions. It’s really quite amazing.
Invest in eternity
…[Re: Luke 12:20] What did God say to the man? “You fool.” Why did He say that? Are you a fool to build your business? No. He said, “You fool, this very night your life will be demanded from you.” You fool, you’re going to die, He says. The problem with you is you’ve taken care of life here, but you haven’t done anything to take care of life there and you’re going there tonight. That’s the folly. There’s no folly in building your business.
The problem with the man was he was a fool because he hadn’t prepared for the life to come. That was the issue. He was big on preparing for the life here, and had no preparation for the life to come.
That was the folly of it. And Jesus made that clear in verse 21 of Luke 12, He said this, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” He doesn’t do anything in terms of dealing with God.
He doesn’t lay up any spiritual riches. That’s the folly of it. Build your business, friend, build it. Build your company. Build your career. Be successful. Do what you need to do. And be rich toward God. Invest in eternity.
And Jesus calls the rich man the fool and the poor woman wise. Better to have everything in heaven and nothing here, then to have everything here and nothing there, right? A study of Zaccheus, a study of the rich young ruler, the poor widow, the rich fool and a lot of other things that Jesus said leads you to an understanding that how you deal with money is in fact a litmus test of your spiritual condition. It is an index to your spiritual life. As one writer says, “It’s your biography.”
It tells the story about you.
Rich people talk about their negative experience with money
And the real joy is there. I mean, John. D. Rockefeller said, “I’ve made many millions but they brought me no happiness.” Vanderbilt said, “The care of two hundred million dollars is enough to kill anyone, there’s no pleasure in it.” John Jacob Astor said, “I am the most miserable man on earth.” And Henry Ford said, “I was happier when I was a mechanic.” Andrew Carnegie said, “Millionaires never smile.” And the American Journal of Psychiatry reports that money adds to the risk of suicide, statement in a Journal article, “As Risk Increases with Resources.” The more you have, the more likely you are to kill yourself.
The Dangers of loving money
Job 31:24 and following, “If I have put my confidence in gold, if I have gloated because my wealth was great, I would have denied God above.”
Proverbs 11:28 says, “He who trusts in his riches will fall.”
First of all, it brings problems. When you love money, you want money, you’re motivated by money, you’re trying to get rich, achieve money, get wealth rather than be concerned about how well you do something, you’re concerned about how rich you’re going to get doing it. Verse 9 of 1 Timothy 6 says, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”
And then in verse 10 it says, “And some by longing for money have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many a pain.” Many a pain, that’s why millionaires don’t smile. It brings all kinds of problems and worries and anxieties and temptations and traps.
Riches come to be deceiving
A fourth thought about loving money is that it’s…it’s easy to be deceived. Money is very deceptive.
In fact, Mark 4:19 and Matthew also talks about this in Matthew 13, it talks about the deceitfulness of riches which chokes the Word. Riches lie. They deceive. When you have money, you can easily think you have everything.
It lulls you into the deception that all is well in your life, and some people might even think of these people running around preaching this prosperity gospel that if you’re rich that means that God likes you extra special and you’re in abundant favor with God because you have a lot of money.
So everything must be okay with you. I mean, if you go to someone and you say, “You know, I just want you to know that I think this is a false teacher,” it’s not uncommon for someone in that movement, a movement of the prosperity gospel, to say, “Well how can you say he’s a false teacher when God has made him so rich? God must be pleased.”
Riches can deceive you about spiritual reality. They can deceive you about whether or not you are being blessed. Riches can steal your heart. They can deceive you about what’s important in life.
What’s your price?
And then another point, a love of money can lead a person to the place where they compromise convictions, compromise the Bible, compromise the Word.
It’s been said that every man has his price, and I suppose we’ve all been asked the question…What’s your price? That’s the price at which you compromise your convictions. And it’s like that story of the author who was at the New York dinner party in a high-class New York hotel.
And he was sitting next to a beautiful woman. He was stunned by her beauty and he couldn’t take his eyes off her. And eventually he leaned over to her during the meal and asked if she would spend the night with him for a hundred thousand dollars.
And rather demurely, you know, she dropped her face and then…and looked up at him and said, “Well,” blushingly, yes.”
To which he replied, “Well, would you spend the night with me for ten dollars?”
And she said, “Well, what do you think I am?”
He said, “We’ve already established that, we’re only dickering for the price.”
Seek the kingdom first
Well, that’s a temptation, isn’t it? That’s a test to see what your price is. You shouldn’t have one. There isn’t a point in your life when you’re willing to compromise convictions, compromise what you know the Bible teaches, what you know God wants, what you know is true for anything monetary or earthly. And that’s where you’ve got to go back to Matthew 6 and seek first the Kingdom, right? Nothing competes with that.
Close to the lips but far from the mind
In Deuteronomy 8 it says this, “Beware lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today, lest when you have eaten and are satisfied and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart becomes proud.”
It’s not wrong to have your flocks multiply. God isn’t saying you can have a good house. God isn’t saying you can’t live in it and you can’t have some silver and gold. What He is saying is when that happens and you love that and you forget God, then your heart becomes proud.
But Proverbs 28:11 is right when it says, “The rich man is wise in his own conceit.” With riches comes pride. Unless you deal with that your riches lead you to that sin.
In fact, Jeremiah in speaking about the rich said to them, “Thou…speaking of God…art near to their lips but far from their mind.” It’s very superficial, their concern about you. They’re into money. With your mouth you worship God, but there’s no room for Him in your mind, your heart.