Luke: Living a stewardship life (Part 1)-05/20/18

Series Title

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Living a stewardship life’ pt.1                             Text: Luke 12:13-34

Introduction: Pastor Brian Bell tells the following story: George W. Truett, a well-known pastor, was invited to dinner in the home of a very wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area.

  • Pointing to the oil wells, he boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, it’s all mine.”
  • Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of grain, he said, “That’s all mine.”
  • Turning east toward huge herds of cattle, he bragged, “They’re all mine.”
  • Then pointing to the west and a beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That too is all mine.”
  • He paused, expecting Dr. Truett to compliment him on his great success.
  • Truett, however, placing one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointing heavenward with the other, simply said, “How much do you have in that direction?”
  • The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that.”

I must confess, over the years, I’ve struggled with being generous with… MY money.

  • Perhaps it’s because growing up in Camden, we didn’t have any… it was just my mom and me.
  • Later, when I got married, Kathy and I had a family and that demanded the lions share of MY money.
  • Then I started my educational endeavors that came from MY money.

All during that time, Kathy, who worked full time, who almost always contributed more than half to MY money, had a very generous heart.

I believe that my heart, over the past 10 years or so, has softened and become more generous, and it’s all because the treasure in her heart

  • is a love for God
  • a love for helping build His kingdom
  • and a love of caring for the people in His kingdom.

It’s because of her generous heart, I’ve learned that MY money is not only OUR money, but HIS money, of which I’m just a thankful steward.

While it’s easier to be generous with His money, it’s still a struggle to spend His money in His direction.

How about you? Do you intentionally set aside from the gracious gifts God is giving you, to use in His direction?

Background: In our text this morning we’ll journey through a very familiar text about a man who had no thought whatsoever in THAT direction concerning his money. And Jesus will condemn him for his lack of generosity.

PP: 1. Luke 12:13-15  Greed

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

If you remember from last week, Jesus, finished His brunch with the Pharisees and lawyers, and went outside, to find a HUGE  crowd had gathered.

  • Jesus, however, turns to His disciples and began to teach them, knowing that many in the crowd would also hear.

Well, in the midst of a very serious lesson on fearing God rather than man, someone in the crowd shouts out

  • Hey Jesus, over here, listen my father died and my brother won’t share the inheritance with me. Tell him to stop being greedy!

An inheritance was the property/money left behind when a father died in a family, much like today. Unlike today, the eldest son would get 2/3’s of the inheritance and the remaining 1/3 would be distributed equally among the other sons.

  • From our text, it seems there were only two children. The one asking the question seems to be the younger brother and he’s asking for more than his allotted share…
  • He, not his brother, was actually the one being greedy.

It wasn’t unusual for people in that time to take their grievances to a local rabbi rather than to a court to have them resolved. But, Jesus had a completely different agenda than other rabbi’s.

  • He was concerned about resolving the people’s sin problem, not resolving their financial ones.

Yet, even though this man was so greedy that he blatantly interrupted Jesus’ teaching session, Jesus still chooses to use it as another teachable moment… to speak about one of the greatest deterrents to a growing, healthy, spiritual life… the sin of greed.

Writing to Timothy, the Apostle Paul says

PP: 1 Timothy 6:9-10

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

It’s not money, it’s the the love of money (greed) that causes many Christians to drift away from their faith.

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 Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Back to the text, Jesus confirms this was not His agenda by saying Man, who made Me judge or arbitrator over you?

Then He begins to teach the man, the crowd, but most especially, His disciples, when He says Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

By the way, covetousness is greed.

  • It’s the desire for someone else’s property, things, even their success.
  • It also breaks the 10th Commandment

PP: Exodus 20:17

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Covetousness is greed, it’s obsessively wanting more than you have. We see it played out in our lives in two ways:

  • It’s holding on to tight to what we already have.
  • And it’s seeking more of either what you already have or some of what you don’t have,
  • you just want a lot of it, whatever it is for you.

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Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Jesus give a dire warning when He says  Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness.

  • In other words, this is extremely important, be careful, watch out, that you’re not enticed into a life of greed.

Then Jesus declares that one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

  • This would have hit the Pharisees and lawyers rather hard, because they were among the more wealthy in that society.

You see people then and now, believe that if they’re wealthy, if they have a lot of material possessions, their life will be full and they’ll be seen as successful.

  • That’s the fear of man from last week.

But Jesus will say it’s not what you have accumulated here that matters, it’s what you send on ahead, UP THERE, it’s how you contribute to building the Kingdom of God that’s the true measure of success.

  • That’s the fear of God from last week.

To illustrate that, Jesus tells them a story.

  1. Lk 12:16-21 Be rich… towards God

PP: Luke 12:16-19

And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

A few things just jump out of the text.

First, we’re not told this man did anything illegal, immoral, unethical or unbiblical that led to his great harvest.

  • So Jesus’ criticism is not against success or being wealthy.

Second, it’s easy to miss what the rich man in the story missed. The land of the rich man produced plentifully.

The man forgot that it’s God’s land, it’s God’s rain, it’s God’s crops, it’s God who blesses us with the ability to gain wealth. He forgot what God said:

PP: You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… (Deuteronomy 8:18)

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1)

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And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

 Third, this guy was consumed with himself. 11 times the rich man uses the words I or me.

  • Even though it was the land that was plentiful and God who provided the increase.

Fourth, this guy never thought about UP THERE.

All his plans were based on what he could see on the right, on the left, behind and in front of him. He only thought about how to store and protect all that he had.

  • He gave no though to UP THERE, to heaven, to the Kingdom of God, to the fear of God.
  • He gave no thought to being generous, to sharing his abundance with others in need.

Fifth, his singular concern was for his physical well-being And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

  • He cared nothing, thought nothing about his spiritual well-being… and that’s what Jesus addresses next.

PP: Luke 12:20

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

ILL: Two men were at the funeral of a wealthy man. The first man whispered to the second, “How much did he leave?” The second man replied, “He left it all!” (Steven Cole)

Going back to the man who asked Jesus to make his brother share his inheritance, Jesus is saying

  • look, even if you were granted an equal share with your brother, you may not live long enough to enjoy it.

Riches don’t prolong life. Both the poor and the wealthy all have an appointment with God… and they’ll both keep their appointment date.

And if you’re wealthy, all that you’ve accumulated in life, will go to someone else, in death.

So Jesus ends the story with a stern warning

PP: Luke 12:21

So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.

Everyone who strives to acquire riches for themselves, without seeking to enhance the Kingdom of God, will end up with nothing when they face God when they die, who is their judge.

In other words,

  • The soul/life may have ample goods here on earth, but if none were used to further the work of God,
  • You’ll forfeit your soul to live eternity in hell
  • because you had no thought of God,
  • no heart for God, and no fear of God.

Jesus said He was not rich toward God. What does that mean?

  • It’s using what God’s given you, in a way that’s in line with His kingdom purposes.

Pastor Steven Cole asks and answers some questions we might also be asking:

  • Does this mean that we can’t spend any money on ourselves?
  • Does it mean that we should live at a poverty level, drive old cars, only buy used clothes, and never spend money for personal enjoyment or pleasure?

I would bet good money those questions have crossed our minds from time to time. He continues:

  • No, that’s not what it means. God has blessed us with many things and it’s legitimate to enjoy those blessings with thankful hearts.
  • Also, it’s in line with Scripture to provide for our future needs through saving and investing ( 6:6-11).
  • But, at the same time we need to think much more carefully about these questions;
  • Am I really seeking first God’s kingdom?
  • Am I constantly thinking of the stewardship of my life and money in light of what God is doing?
  • Or, could the deceitfulness of riches be getting a subtle stronghold on my life?

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 Conclusion: So, what can we take home to chew on during the week?

First: Being rich towards God means using what God has given to you in a way that’s in line with His kingdom purposes.

  • I gotta ask… as you use your financial resources for your family’s needs, and your future needs, are you also using them to help CBC build God’s kingdom?
  • In other words, do you take seriously giving back to God; by sacrificially and regularly supporting this ministry with your finances to help fulfill its kingdom purpose?

Second, a true test of our hearts is how we use our money.

  • Are we generous with what God has given us, so that we can bless others with it?

This principle was set long ago in Genesis 12:

PP: Genesis 12:1-2

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”

Here the truth of this passage:

  • Trust God, obey God… in every area of your life. Abraham gave up his home, his livelihood, his extended family.. and obeyed God.
  • God promised to bless Abraham abundantly.
  • And notice what Abrahams was expected to do with God’s abundant blessing, God told him so that you will be a blessing.

Christian, that hasn’t changed! We are the instruments, God uses, to bless others, yes, even financially.

You see the problem in the parable Jesus tells, is not wealth, but how we choose to use it.

  • The sin is thinking and living as if the money/things we accumulate belong to us.
  • When we think that, our heart naturally strives for more and more and that’s greed.
  • But, when we think and live as if we’re stewards of what God has given us, blessed us with,
  • then our new heart directs our choices to use them for His kingdom purposes.

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 Finally, how much is enough? How much is enough? That’s a question we all need to answer.

 PP: 1 Timothy 6:9-10

  • But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

To be honest, there are many Christians in the church today, whose desire for more… whatever more is to them,

  • leads them away from worship, away from fellowship, away from service, and away from financially supporting God’s work through the local church.

In the beginning they don’t notice because their heart’s still warm to spiritual things, but as time goes on, it hardens and they no longer care.

Sadly, that’s 1 Timothy 6:9-10 becoming very real in the lives of God’s people.

PP: ILL: Pastor and theologian John Wesley taught and lived wisely regarding riches. He said that you should earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can. (David Guzik)

That’s living a stewardship life?

  • How generous are you with what God has entrusted to you?
  • How much of it are you using for UP THERE?

 

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