Our current message series is called Profound Stories. We’re looking at some of the parables that Jesus used to teach important lessons. Today our message is entitled “Eternal Investing.” In this message, we’re going to look at profound principles that Jesus taught concerning money. Money is an issue for everyone. In our society, money is an essential element of how we live our lives. I believe that money is a tool that God gave to mankind as a blessing. Yet, we all have questions about money. How to get enough to live our lives? How to spend our money? How to save our money? How to prepare for the future regarding our finances? All of these questions, many of which have no easy answers, is a cause of stress and worry for many people.
We are tempted to worry about if we have enough money to pay our bills today and in the future. The Bible has a lot to say about money. There are over 2350 verses that have to do with money and possessions. That’s a lot of verses. Before we dive into Jesus’ teaching on the topic of money, let’s look at a few verses that will help us understand how God views money.
1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV) 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.
This verse is often misquoted by people who say “money is a root of all kinds of evil.” This verse actually says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Money is a tool, a gift from God, that we are to use according to His directions. But when someone falls in love with money, it becomes an idol that leads to evil. The second part of this verse tells us that when money becomes an idol, it will lead a person away from faith in Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV) Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
You see when you love money, you can never have enough. So, everything in your life then becomes subservient to your pursuit of money. Rather, we are to be content with what God gives us to live on, seeking first God’s kingdom. How can we be content? We can be content because Jesus is with us and will take care of us. The Bible teaches us that all we have, including our money, comes from God and is owned by God. Our money is not ours, but is God’s. We are simply managers of God’s money and everything else that He has blessed us with.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (ESV) Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
A steward or manager is someone who takes care of and uses someone else’s property, affairs and finances for the owner’s benefit. We are to be God’s managers of everything that He has blessed us with. This verse says that we must be faithful as God’s managers. What does an unfaithful manger do? He takes the owner’s money and uses it for his own purposes, rather than the owner’s. We must be faith with what God has blessed us with. Today, we’re going to be looking at two profound stories that Jesus taught to better understand the whole topic of money in light of eternity.
Luke 12:15 (ESV) 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.”
This verse comes immediately before Jesus tells hist story and tells us what topic the story will be about. On the ten commandments, is thou shall not covet. To covet is to yearn to possess or have something that is not yours. Jesus warns us that our goal in life should not be to have a lot of possessions. The bumper sticker “He who dies with the most toys wins” is not a Bible verse. When we become fixated on our possessions, we have fallen into the sin of covetousness. Jesus then begins to tell a story of a man who was covetous and whose whole life was centered around his possessions. We must avoid …
Jesus begins by telling us about a rich man who had a bumper crop one year. In fact, his harvest was so great that he had no where to store his grain. So he came up with a plan.
Luke 12:18-19 (ESV) 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.”’
The man who was already rich before this bumper crop made a plan. He was going to replace his current small barns with larger ones to contain his possessions. Then, it appears that he planned to retire, as he had enough possessions to last years. He was going to relax, eat, drink and be merry. Notice that in the rich man’s speech, it was all about himself, I. There is no consideration of anyone else, whether his family, his community or God.
Notice also that he refers to his possessions as my barns, my grain, my goods and even my soul. The middle letter of the word sin, is I. The essence of all sin is being self-centered, as this rich man was. Rather than seeking to have a comfortable retirement for himself, he should have been …
Luke 12:20-21 (ESV) But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
The very first thing that God says to the rich man is to call him a fool. In the Bible, a fool is someone who is not wise and does not have a relationship with God. If you read through the book of Proverbs, you will find that a fool is an unbeliever and believers are wise. Everyone in the world is either foolish or wise. God pronounced his verdict on the rich man. Whereas the man though he had years of enjoyment ahead with his wealth, God was in charge of his soul, not he himself. The man was going to die that very night and all his possessions would no longer be his. You don’t take your money or possessions with you when you die, they are left for others.
What was the rich man’s essential sin? It was not being rich. His sin was laying up treasure or wealth for who? For himself. The rich man did not understand that all he had was a gift from God that he was to manage for God, not himself. Rather than laying up treasure for himself, he should have been rich toward God.
To be rich toward God is to live life for God, not yourself. To be rich toward God is to treat all one’s money and possessions as gifts from God, to be managed for God. To be rich toward God is to make your relationship with God the most important thing in life. To be rich toward God is to aim for spiritual wealth, not earthly treasure.
As we think about how this story applies to our lives, let’s think a bit more about Jesus’ command to us to be “rich toward God.” Other sayings of Jesus help us better understand. He taught us to seek God’s kingdom first and everything we need would be supplied by God. That’s being rich toward God. Jesus taught us to not lay up treasures on earth, but to lay up treasures in heaven. So, the story of Jesus we just discussed, we had a negative example. We not to be like the rich man in the story regarding our possessions and wealth. Now, let’s turn to another story, which will give us a positive example of being rich toward God and …
Luke 16:1-2 (ESV) He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’
In this story, we have a business owned by a rich man who had a manager underneath him. The manager was supposed to be carefully managing the owner’s resources. However, reports came to the owner that the manager had been unfaithful in his job. Rather than being a faithful manager, he had been wasting/squandering the owner’s resources. Perhaps he was spending on unnecessary things for the business or even purchasing things for himself. Needless to say, he was being fired by the owner. This behavior of the manager is certainly not an example to follow. Yet, as the story continues we learn more about being …
Just as in the previous story, this manager begins to think to himself about his future once he loses his job. He reasons that he is not strong enough to do manual labor and he certainly does not want to be a beggar on the street.
Luke 16:4-5 (ESV) I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
The manager then spoke to the people who owed his master money. He found out the first debtor owed 100 measures of oil, so he reduced his debt to 50 measures of oil. The next owed 100 measures of wheat, so he reduced his debt to 80 measures of wheat. Was the manager now being a wise manager? Not at all. He was continuing to waste the owner’s resources to profit himself. The people whose debts had been reduced thought he was great and the manager was making friends with them, so they could care for him in the future. Now, Jesus is going to end his story in a surprising way and teach us an important principle. We are to …
Luke 16:8-9 (ESV) The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
The master, even though he had been cheated out of money owed him, commended the dishonest manager for being shrewd or wise. How was the manager being shrewd? He was thinking ahead, he was planning for the future. He was using the authority he had as a manager to make friends for himself with money. He was using money as a tool to make friends. In the last verse, Jesus brings home his main point. He instructs us to make friends for ourselves with money. These friends will welcome us into eternal dwellings which is heaven. So, these friends are unsaved people who have become believers through the use of the money that God has entrusted to us. When we die, we will enjoy heaven together with them. We must use money to make forever friends.
The parable is really the explanation of what Jesus meant when he taught us to lay up treasures in heaven. Nothing tangible will go from earth to heaven, not money nor any possessions. The only way to get treasure in heaven is to convert money to saved people who will go to heaven. We must learn to use our money to prepare for eternity. All of our money is God’s. He’s instructed us in His Word to give a tithe or 10% of our income to the church family we are a part of. As a church, we are leading people to Christ and helping them grow in Christ. What about the other 90% of your income? That’s God’s just as much as the 10% that you tithed. We encourage everyone to give to missions with faith promises above your tithe, which goes to plant churches and see people saved around the world. The remaining income is used for meeting your families’ needs and for personally seeking to make more forever friends. Jesus is teaching us to prepare for eternity with our money, that’s eternal investing. And finally to be not dishonest managers, but …
Luke 16:10 (ESV) “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Jesus continues with his comments about this story in the next verse with another important principle regarding money. He says to us that if we are faithful managers to God if we have only a little money, he can trust us with more. The more may be more money or it may be more blessing with something other than money. The point is that we must be faithful with whatever God has blessed us with. As we are, God will give us increased blessing.
Luke 16:11-12 (ESV) If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
Jesus’ emphasis is on us being faithful. Unrighteous wealth is money, but what are true riches? True riches are spiritual wealth, they are treasures in heaven. Being faithful with money translates earthly wealth into spiritual riches. Notice that Jesus makes it clear that the money we have is not our own, but another’s, which is God. We must be faithful to that which God has entrusted to us.
Luke 16:13 (ESV) No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”
Jesus concludes with some powerful statements. He says that you can’t server two masters. Many people think they can, but it can’t be done. He then applies that general principle to the story he just told. He finishes by saying that you can’t serve God and money. If money becomes an idol in your life, you can’t serve or worship God at the same time. A believer is someone who serves God 100% and manages all of his blessings, whether money, time, talents or possessions for God alone. Jesus is commanding his followers to be faithful managers.
The Old Testament is full of examples where people tried to worship God at the temple, yet continued to worship idols elsewhere. God always condemned such behavior and said that kind of worship was unacceptable. The same is true today. God desires for His followers to put Him first in every area of life. Whether being regular in worship with your church family or putting him first in giving with your finances. Every minute of your life is His and every dollar you earn is His as well. When you’re full devoted to Jesus, then you will follow His directions with every blessing you have, whether money, time or relationships.
Today, we’ve talked about Eternal Investing. Living our lives today in light of eternity. Managing our finances for eternity, not just for today or tomorrow. Jesus desires for us to be rich toward God, avoiding selfish goals in our lives. We prepare for eternity by using the resources that God has entrusted to us to make forever friends. Be a faithful manager of what you have, whether a little or a lot and God will bless you with true riches, both in this life and the next. When you invest in eternity, you will reap an eternity of reward.