It's all about money

April 15th, 2016

"All you have done lately is preach about giving."

"We had a ‘Vision Campaign,’ but it all came down to wanting us to give more."

"If it’s going to cost more money, we are against it!"

These are just a few of the comments I have heard while working with churches in generosity development. I might agree, if I was not thoroughly convinced that living generously is both a reflection of our generous creator and inextricably tied to advancing God’s kingdom on earth. The following modern adaptation of one of Jesus’ parables (Luke 19:11-27) helps illustrate my point.

The owner of “Let’s Play Sports” called his three division managers in for an important meeting. He was going on an overseas business trip for six months. He gave each of them $1,000,000 and told them to invest it for company growth. When the owner returned, he called each manager into his office to get a report. The first came in and said, “I made an agreement with Nixie Sports to promote their new Lion Golf Club line. As a result, the $1M investment has returned $10M in sales.” The owner was thrilled and promoted the man to Vice President over ten states. He had used the owner’s money to substantially advance his business. The second man reported he made a deal with the Catfish Pro Shop. He had recommended an adaptation to fishing rods that brought tremendous excitement. As a result, the $1M grew into $5M. Again the owner was totally impressed and promoted the manager to Vice President over five states. Finally, the third manager reported, “I didn’t want to make a mistake so I put your $1M into my lockbox to keep it safe. Here it is for you to use as you wish.” The owner was furious. He told the manager, “My money was placed into your care to GROW my business, not keep it where it is. You’re fired! Get your possessions out of your office and don’t expect a recommendation from me for your next job.” The fired manager went away sorrowfully. The $1M he returned was given to the first manager to use to invest in the company. Some employees complained that the owner gave the $1M to the one who had the most already. The owner replied, “The one who best invests my money will have more, but the one who does not invest in my company will lose what he has.”

An important truth found here is that God has already entrusted our churches with the resources to do the work of the church. Spiritual development is the challenge as many members fail to embrace the idea that God has placed these resources in our hands not for our benefit, but for the purpose of expanding God’s work here on earth. Kingdom building requires disciples courageous enough to purposefully invest God’s money in God’s work.

Basic takeaway:

  • My stuff is not really mine, but belongs to God. – Psalm 24:1 
  • My use of God’s resources shows who owns my heart. – Matthew 6:19-24; 2 Corinthians 8:24
  • Those whose hearts are fully committed to God’s plans will seek to use the resources entrusted into their care to further God’s purposes. Kingdom growth comes first in the Christian’s heart. Matthew 6:33 

Sure, some people are going to complain about the sermon whenever you preach about the use of God’s money, but being a Jesus follower and a Kingdom expander requires conversations about money and other things which we tend to love more than God.

This post first appeared on the Horizons Stewardship blog

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