Well we’re going to talk today on this series Dollars and Sense and sense is spelled s-e-n-s-e. How do we make sense of dollars in our life? What does God have to say about how we manage money and how we view money and possessions?
I was thinking about this message and I thought about; there was a gentleman, older in his life and I hate to say it, but he was a real miser. This guy loved money, absolutely loved money, to the point that he wanted to take all his money with him when he died. And so he cornered his wife and he said honey, when I pass away, I want to take all my money with me, so I want you to gather up all my money and put it in the casket with me; I’m taking it with me. I know the pastor says it’s not possible to take it with us, but I’m going to try. So he got his wife to promise and his wife finally, in a weak moment, she says fine, I’ll put all your money in the casket.
Well about a year and half later, he passes away. And they’re in the church, a full church and she’s sitting in the front row with her best friend, and the casket’s in the front, and the preacher gives a beautiful message about how this man was an engineer and had done very well in real estate and had a pretty successful life.
And they get to the end of the message and he says amen and they’re getting ready to close that casket lid and the wife stood up and said hold it just one minute. And she reaches under her chair and she pulls out a very big shoe box, like you kept boots in. And she walks over to that casket and she says one last good bye to her husband and she puts that box in the casket and then watches as the pastor closes and locks the lid. And just as they’re getting ready to roll the casket away, her best friend sneaks up behind her and whispers in her ear and says you didn’t put all his money in that casket did you? She took a deep breath and she says yes, I have to say that I did. I promised my husband, I’m a good Christian woman, I have to do that. I put all the money in the casket. You put all of his money in the casket? Yes I did. I gathered all of his money and I put it in my bank account and I wrote him a check. Right?
Money can overshadow everything in our life. When we don’t have much, we’re stressed that we don’t have enough to make ends meet and all we do is worry and stress over not having enough. When we have an abundance, all we do is worry about that we’re going to lose our abundance. Oh the market’s going to crash, or housing prices are going to crash, or whatever, we worry about losing it. So at each end of the spectrum, all we do is stress and worry about money. Now God knows money matters to you because that’s the title of the message today in the bulletin, it says Money Matters: God Knows Money Matters to You. Did you realize that? God knows money matters to you.
Now think about this. We had Howard Dayton here a few weeks ago. Howard Dayton founded Crown Ministries; this wonderful ministry that teaches and helps people manage money. And Howard was talking about the statistics in the bible. Did you realize that in the bible there are about 500 verses on prayer in the bible? And there are fewer than 500 verses on faith, but there are a whopping 2,350 verses on money and possessions in the bible. And of the 38 parables that Jesus taught, 16 of them have to do with money and possessions. Are you starting to get the idea that God knows money matters to you? And you see because that’s the way the kingdom of God is set up. The kingdom of God is all about community. The kingdom of God is all about living in community. Now the perfect example of living in community is the father, God, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; three distinct beings, yet living, working so closely together they form one God. Now our human brains can’t comprehend that because we have trouble agreeing with our best friends, but three distinct beings forming one God. Elohim the bible calls it, one God. That’s living in community. God wants us to live in community.
Now when you live in a community, one of the things that has to happen is there’s a few rules and a few laws because if you have a society or a community and there’s no laws, chaos is going to run rampant, right? You can’t decide and pick and choose which rules you’re going to follow today. Well I’m short of spending money, my pockets are empty, so I think I’ll go down to Bank of America and just steal a little spending cash. It doesn’t work that way. So there are a few rules in society that we have to live by. Well in the kingdom of God, there are rules that we have to live by. Now I’ve found that there’s one big rule in the kingdom of God. I call it the big one. If you can remember and live by the big one, the big rule, your life is going to get immeasurably easier and your life is going to be much more blessed. Now what’s this one big rule? If you get nothing else today, remember the big one. The big rule in the kingdom of God is everything belongs to God. Everything belongs to God.
Now I can hear you out there saying wait a minute, did you just say everything belongs to God? Yes I did. You mean my car? Yes your car. What about my house? Yes, your house. Certainly not my Harley Davidson. Yes, your Harley Davidson, too. Not those cute shoes I just bought at Nordstrom’s yesterday. Yes, those cute shoes you just bought at Nordstrom’s yesterday belong to God. Everything belongs to God.
Now this isn’t my rule, I didn’t make it up. It’s in scripture. Psalm 24, “The earth is the Lord’s and its fullness. The world and all those who dwell therein.” 1st Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, oh Lord, is the greatness, the power and glory, the victory and the majesty. For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours.” Now what about Jesus? What did Jesus have to say about this? In Jesus’ own personal prayer to the heavenly Father in John 17:9, Jesus says, “I pray for them,” that means you, “I do not pray for the world but for those,” that means you, “whom You God have given me for they are Yours.” You belong to God and everything you have belongs to God. So repeat after me. Everything. Everything. Everything belongs to God. Now you choked out the last one a little bit, a few of you did. That’s tough! Because what it means is, if we say, if we admit that everything belongs to God, that means am I no longer in control? I like being in control. But when you say everything belongs to God, you’re admitting its all His. It’s all His. So if everything belongs to God, what’s my part, you’re saying. Am I just a puppet on a string? Far from it.
Genesis 1:26, “Then God said let us make man in our image, according to our likeness,” that’s the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “according to our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image. In the image of God, He created him, male and female, He created them.”
So what’s God saying here? God’s saying here, okay guys, everything belongs to Me but I’m giving you dominion. I’m giving you an assignment. I’m giving you the ability to be creative, to become doctors and nurses and lawyers and pastors and parents and be in relationships and build airplanes and build houses; to create music, to create art. God gave you dominion. The owner of everything is giving you a license to do what? Be creative. To work with the wonderful abilities He’s given you, to have great things done in your life, but as you do that, you got to remember, never forget who you work for. Never forget who’s in charge and who gave you that license to have dominion.
Now when you’re saying how am I supposed to have dominion? What am I supposed to do? What does that mean for me? And do I have the talent and the skill to actually do something in this world. Now if you’re saying that, you got to remember it takes faith. It takes faith. To have dominion, means you got to have faith. You got to have faith in God. You got to step forward in faith. I said it a few weeks ago in a message, its time to dream again. Dreaming takes faith.
So how do we learn this kind of faith? We learn that kind of faith in a little parable that Jesus taught us. It’s found in Matthew 25. “For the kingdom of heaven is like,” Jesus is speaking, “for the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country who called his servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another he gave two and another one, one, each according to his own ability. And immediately, he went on a journey. Then he had received five talents, went out and traded with them and made five more. And like wise, he who gained two talents also gained two more, but he who had one, dug a hole in the ground and hid the lord’s money.” Now I find that very interesting. The thing I love about this parable is its very clear in this parable that there’s one master, the master of the house. To us that’s God. He’s in control of everything. And He’s going away for a little while and what’s He do? He hands out assignments. He trusts His servants to do something with it. Now in case you missed the point, God’s handing you an assignment. God has an assignment for everybody. He didn’t make you for no reason. God has an assignment for you.
Give you an illustration. When I was 15 years old, my father loved to remodel our house. He was a contractor and he was constantly tinkering with the house. So my sister goes off to college, and my dad starts eyeing this tiny little bedroom that was off the garage and he says I think we need a hot tub in that bedroom, and I’m going a hot tub in the house? What about all the steam going up in the house? Oh I’ll fix it. We need a hot tub in that bedroom. Now mind you, my father wouldn’t just go down to the store and buy a complete built hot tub, he had to buy all the parts and the pieces cause it was cheaper to do it that way. So he comes home with all the parts and the pieces and a jackhammer. And he looks at his 15-year-old son, that being me and he goes Jim here’s a jackhammer, I want you to jackhammer out this floor. That was the assignment from the master of the house. Now I thought the hot tub was a pretty good idea. I liked the idea of enjoying that thing once it was done. I wasn’t quite so sure about this assignment that he had given me to jackhammer out this floor to put in this tub. But I did it. Got it accomplished in that one day, and he walks in and he says well done.
God does that for us. He hands you an assignment and sometimes you don’t like the assignment very much. God, I didn’t sign up for this. This isn’t what I wanted to do. But He gives you that assignment. The question is, do you have the faith to embrace it, when the tough assignments come from God, do you have the faith to embrace it because that leads us to the second point. “After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with his servants. And he who had five talents came and brought the five talents, saying lord you delivered me five and I gained five more besides. And the lord said to him, well done good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. And likewise, the servant who had had two talents and said lord, here are two more. And Jesus said, or the master of the house said, well done. You are faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” You know sometimes when we struggle through life with these assignments from God, if we persevere through them in faith, isn’t it amazing the doors that God opens up in our lives for something new, the larger blessing that comes along? But you got to have the faith to step out in faith and do that assignment that God has given you.
You know when people come to me and they’re really struggling with life, they’re struggling like crazy with stress. First question I ask him is who’s in control, you or God? Because it’s very obvious, if they’re struggling that much, they’re fighting God for control. And the minute you let go; Dr. Schuller’s line. I love one of his lines. Let go and let God. Has said it over and over again. Let go and let God. And it’s amazing the blessings that come.
Now the last part of the parable. “He who had received one talent said lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid, I was afraid. So I hid your talents in the ground. Here’s your talent back. The lord answered and said to him, you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed. You ought to have deposited my money with the banker and at my coming I would have received back my own, plus interest. Therefore, take his talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents, for everyone who has, more will be given. And he will have abundance. But from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” Now what’s God talking about here? He who has, from everyone who has, more will be given. Has what? Faith. That’s what God’s talking about here. Faith. Do you have the faith to trust God with your life?
Now I’ll close with something very interesting. Crown Ministries does something very interesting. They take what they call a grant deed and they just write it on a piece of yellow pad at home. Just write grant deed across the top, and underneath it, write everything you own. Every credit card, every piece of furniture, your bank accounts, your cars, your kids, your parents, your relatives, everything you have in your life, write it down on that piece of paper. And then on the bottom of that side, Lord I give it all to You. I give it all to You. Take control of my life, take control of my life, use me as You will. That’s a difficult thing to do. But it’s amazing what happens. When you have that kind of faith in God, God will have blessed you, pressed down, shaken together and running over. He’s going to take all of those things in your life. When you start to think about; let’s be practical about this. When you say Lord my house belongs to You God will start giving you assignments. You see that neighbor down the street who is struggling? You need to invite them over for dinner because this is My house. Your house is My house. I want you to invite them over and fellowship with them because they’re hurting. Interesting. When you say my car belongs to You, oh that volunteer group, they need somebody to drive them for a couple of hours one Thursday night so they can go feed the homeless. So I’m going to drive those couple of kids down there to do that because your car is God’s car. Amazing. What happens? Your mind set changes when you say everything belongs to God, and the blessings that you will receive in your life, I can’t even explain them from this pulpit. God will bless you in ways you cannot believe.
So go for it. God’s given you dominion. He’s given you authority, He’s given you license, He’s handed you five talents, or two talents, go use them. Double them. Make more. Do tremendous thing with your lives, but remember it all belongs to God so honor Him as you do those things. And don’t be like the servant who had one talent and hid it in the ground because of fear. Because of fear.
Let’s pray: Lord God, everything belongs to You. Lord, thank You, thank You for trusting us, for blessing us with everything we have in our life, for the abundance You’ve given to us. Lord, let us remember it all belongs to You and as we walk through life, as we live in our homes, our apartments, as we drive our cars, as we spend our money, let us remember, Lord that it belongs to You. Let us be wise stewards of what You’ve given to us. And Lord, thank You that as we do that, the blessing we will receive from You will be immeasurable in Jesus’ precious name, amen and amen.