Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pentecost 17 - Proper 20

September 19, 2010
Pentecost 17 – Proper 20
Luke 16:1-15
The Right Use of Your Money

It is no easy task to decide what to do with your money. They first reaction to the title may be, “Nobody needs to tell me what to do with my money” But how hall we spend our money? Shall it be spend or invested? And if so, how much? Does a Christian handle his money differently than a pagan? If so, does Jesus have anything to say about a practical, down-to-earth problem such as this? Most people do not know what to do with their money, if they have any. As a result, it may be lost, wasted, or spent unwisely. What Jesus has to say about our money.

1. Make provision for the future – v. 3 the manager said to himself. What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg.

A. The unjust steward was concerned about his future. We trust God to see us through. Yet, gifts and blessings don’t simply come to us falling from the sky. He works through means and He gives us the means to fund our future. He has given us skills by which we can obtain gainful employment. He has given us talents to be used for His service and our neighbor’s good. He has given us abilities to work creatively and productively.

B. He used money to provide a place to live. Money is not evil in and of itself. It’s how we choose to use it. Money has a luster to itself. It can easily corrupt us if we are not careful. It can draw us to itself as a moth is drawn to a flame. It is the love of money which is the root of all sorts or evil. The manager was shrewd enough to use the means at his disposal to plan for his future well being. A question: Are you shrewd enough to use the means God has given you to provide for those individuals God has placed in your life? We are living in challenging economic times. May the Lord show us and teach us the difference between needs and wants between necessities and niceties.

C. It is Christian to look ahead and make provision for future needs: for education, covering for health care and times of illness, retirement. You can live on love for about a week and then you become hungry. Selling a kidney to fund your child’s college education isn’t a wise plan. Neither is play the lottery to fund your retirement. Therefore one needs a strategy that is God pleasing and wise.

D. Are you making plans for your long –term future? It is with this mood that we approach the gospel story for today. The basic thrust of the gospel is this:
Are you making plans for your long term future? That is, are you making plans for your long-term future…with God? Are you concerned about maintaining for yourself only an earthly inheritance? Are you concerned about laying up for yourself treasures on earth for retirement? Are you equally concerned about laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven for your eternity?

Yes, we can spend all kinds of time worrying about what is going to happen between the years sixty-five and eighty-five. We can spend all kinds of time worrying about what is going to happen for those twenty or thirty years after retirement but are we equally thoughtful about those twenty to thirty light years in the future with God? Are you planning for your long term future? Are you shrewd? Are you really shrewd?

2. Make friends with it – v. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into earthly dwellings.

A. By the right use of money, you can make friends for God. God’s people should be alert to make us of what God has given.

B. Are we being faithful stewards with the gifts God has given to us? Do we return back to God as we have been blessed? Or do we horde it all for ourselves? Do we live within our means or beyond our means? Is our appetite to big for our stomach or do we live satisfied lives?

3. Be honest in handling money – v. 9 use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves.

A. By helping those in need, who in the future will show their gratitude when they welcome their benefactors into heaven and into “eternal dwellings.”

B. In this way worldly wealth may be wisely used to gain eternal benefits. Supporting missions and mission projects helps us keep our minds on eternal things rather then on the here and now.

4. Make money a servant of God – v. 13 No servant 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.

A. Jesus said the same thing in his sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:24 We serve God by using our money wisely. Take a look at the ledger of your check book. It is more then an accounting of your day to day needs. It shows your priorities. What are your main concerns? It can be used as a window into the soul.

B. James 4:4 reminds us, “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Those who are spiritually unfaithful, who love the world rather than God will find themselves in rebellion against God and alienated from God. There needs to be a proper balance with respect to our money, our priorities, our aims and our goals.

We can not serve both God and money. Which will take first priority in your life? How you use your money will reflect your matters of importance.

May we serve God rightly with all of our resources. As you have been blessed, bless God with all that you have. Then, you will be making a right use of your money.

Face of Christ

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