How I handle money demonstrates my commitment to Jesus and how am I doing as a disciple.
Jesus talked about Kingdom of God primarily and then talked about money more than other topics.
Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
There are three questions God wants to ask us through this passage.
Where is your treasure?
HOW ARE MY EYES.?
WHO IS YOUR MASTER?
The first question this text ask is :
Illustration: A rich woman came to heaven and Peter welcomed her. She was so happy that she had made it to heaven. Peter took her to show where she will be staying. There were big mansions and she thought I will be living in one of these mansions. But Peter took her further and the houses became smaller and smaller and finally at the end of the road there was a shack. Peter said this is your house. And the woman was upset and asked what is this? That’s all I am going to have? Peter said ‘that’s all what you sent here.’
Bible talks about storing up treasure in heaven.
What you do down here on earth will have eternal consequences. We don’t know about everything there in heaven but one thing is sure – some of us will have more treasures in heaven than the others!
One important principle on giving:
THE FIRST FRUIT PRINCIPLE
Bible says about ‘Tithing’ that means giving a ‘tenth’ or 10% of your income to God.
Our logical thinking will say ‘why this 10%?’ or ‘this is a lot’. May be when I get more money in later times may be I will give!
Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth e a man.” 2Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4But Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD
looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.
So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry?
Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” 8Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s
keeper?” 10The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the
ground. 11Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Cain killed Abel his brother because Abel’s offering was accepted by God but his offering was rejected. Cain brought ‘some’ of the fruits of the soil but Abel brought “fat portions” from some of the “firstborn “of his flock
In the Old testament sometimes bringing an offering to God means to burn it!
Just think about it – will you be willing to take 10% of your income – may be Rs.5,000/- and taking it to your backyard and burning it?
That’s what Abel did! That’s what God expected and if God expects it, will you be willing to do it?
First fruit was very special. That’s why God wanted people to offer the first fruits.
First fruit was used for future planting. The first fruit – seed or animal was used for planting or breeding for the future harvest.
That means you needed to trust God that even if you sacrifice the first fruit to God, he will bless you with a great harvest in the future.
Offering first fruit is giving by faith.
God wants us to give by faith the first fruit. He does not want us to give something out of our income but the very best. Or if we give something out of the plenty that I have – it does not come from faith!
Cain offered ‘some’ of the harvest! But Abel offered the fat portions of the first born!
God warned Cain, watch it that the sin might not master you! But he allowed sin to master him and he killed his own brother! Cain’s fame is that he became the first murderer. He lived a much longer life.
Abel lived a short time. But Abel entered the ‘Hall of Fame’ of Faith in Hebrews 11.
By faith Abel still speak to us!
Are you offering the Cain offering or Abel offering?
Giving the best means giving our best time for God and also our money and other resources.
Best time for the quiet times are always the morning!
Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as
righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Abel still speaks to all of us by his giving.
We must always give the first fruits!
First fruit – first thing you do when you receive an income is to allocate the best portion to God.
Money is a taboo area for most people to talk openly about and have accountability in. But we must be able to talk about it to your discipler and take advice on your finances and giving.
You might say the tithing is an Old Testament principle.
Actually the Old Testament expectation is to give 28 to 35% of your income.
If we look at the New Testament, in Matthew 5, God’s expectations on everything is taken higher.
Old Testament talked about ‘Do not commit adultery’ But Jesus says ‘anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’
Old Testament talked about ‘Do not commit murder’ but Jesus says ‘anyone who is angry with a brother or sister d will be subject to judgment’.
So Tithing is bare minimum – we must be willing to give more than 10%.
How we must do it is to give at least 10% from our gross income. That means before even giving the tax.
If we give tax first then we are proving that Government has more authority than God in our life.
When we say Jesus is Lord, he is greatest authority on our life than anyone else.
First give to God, then pay taxes and spend based on other things in your budget.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 ‘Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these will be given to you.’
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies
as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Scripture says we must not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We will have a transformed life when we renew our mind – change our mindset and have godly mindset and then we will know God’s will.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s ways are not ours – worldly mindset is opposite to God’s view! We are called to have a godly mindset.
Luke 16:13-15 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
When Jesus talked about having one master – God and that we cannot serve both money and God, the Pharisees were angry because they loved money more than God!
So Jesus said ‘What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.’ What the world values the most is detestable in the eyes of God. When we train ourselves to think like him, that must be detestable to us also.
World will not accept the spiritual mindset. We get a spiritual mindset by meditating on the word of
God and allowing God to renew our mind and get our life transformed.
Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Have a brother/sister in your life to talk about your finances. Get discipled on your finances.
Be open to other spiritual people to give you inputs on your finances.
We are confused at how we look at money. We think we own our money but the truth is that we are stewards. My money came from God! He has given it for us to use it for His glory!
God has power to give us and also to take it away! Steward is obedient to the owner in how he handles what belongs to the owner. The steward wants to think and act like the owner would think and act. So w must use the money that is given by God in the way he would use it.
Master allows the steward to use some of it to be used for his personal needs.
God gives me the finances that I have and I give 10% to God’s kingdom and keep 90% for myself! This is better than thinking I own everything and I give 10% to God!
Another principle of the steward is that there is accountability. The master comes back and ask how we do with the money that he has given us!
How good are my eyes? If our eyes are clear we see things clearly.
Money is something that shows our mindset and where our heart is.
Serving One Master principle
24“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
When we get baptized we confess Jesus is Lord. We are not saying we have two masters but only one master and is Jesus. We can’t have money and Jesus as masters.
The world wants us to be devoted to it 100%. But God wants us to love Him with all our hearts and mind and soul. He wants us to be 100% committed to him.
In another translation – You cannot serve both God and Mammon! Mammon is a demon! Money is one of the spiritual powers that will attack our spirituality. Mammon should not have a throne in our life.
How can you dethrone mammon? By making kingdom decisions.
Kingdom First Principle
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Whatever choices or decisions we make, we must think am I motivated by worldly motives or by the Kingdom of God?
So where is your treasure? Where your treasure is there your heart will also be.
When you die what do you want people to say?
He was a successful business man!
He had many friends!
Or he had clear eyes! He was transformed and had his treasures in heaven and he is going there now!
He had one master, he was a man of God!
Few more references:
In 2 Cor 8, (you can read the whole passage in chapter 8 that talks about giving) When Paul talks about contribution collected in the Church in Corinth, he says:
2 Cor 8:19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help.
It shows that the contribution the Christians give is ‘offering’. Also that contribution is administered to honour the Lord himself!
Mark 12:41-44 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting
their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave
out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Here Jesus appreciates the poor widow who put into the temple treasury all she had. Even though the religious leaders at that time were highly corrupt and abused the funds Jesus did not say what a waste! Or he did not stop her from giving. He did not say to her ‘Don’t give everything you have, keep some for yourself.’
Philippians 4:14-16 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Even the material/financial aid that was sent by the Christians in Philippi to Paul was considered as ‘fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.’ (vs.18)