As we continue our “New Year, New You” series, remember our theme verse: “…Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Similarly, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a newcreation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Last week we talked about spiritual, emotional, and physical fitness. When you think of fitness, the temptation is to only focus on the body, however, we are created in God’s image. We are not a body with a spirit, but a spirit with a body. To be fit, we must focus on all three areas. This week, we’ll see that no church or Christian can be spiritually healthy if they ignore finances. There are more than 600 references to prayer in the Bible, almost 500 references to faith, but over 2,350 references to money. Jesus talked more about finances than heaven and hell combined. There is no discipleship apart from stewardship. Your spiritual life is connected to your finances. You can fake prayer, Bible study, worship, etc., but you cannot fake stewardship. Your bank account will tell all. Your life story is written in your bank statement. It reflects your time, goals, priorities, convictions, and relationships.
Luke 16 is about money. In verses 1-2 we read about a steward who wasted his master’s goods. The master asked him to give account. These verses follow Luke 15:13 which is about the prodigal son who wastedhis inheritance. He wasted what His father had given him. Are you wasting what your Heavenly Father has given you? We are not owners. We are stewards. God owns it all. We brought nothing in this world and we take nothing out. One day we will give an account of what we have done with what He has given to us. It is not how much you make, but how you manage what you make. Wasting money drains you. There is no pressure like financial pressure. So many of us buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like!The enemy tells us we need things… and we impulsively spend. Christians are influenced by the lies of the enemy! Money makes promises it can’t keep. It promises identity, happiness, security, etc. Our identity is in Christ! Jesus brings joy and security!
Luke 16:10 says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much….” The key is to be faithful with what you have. There is no distinction between spiritual and financial. One of the most spiritual things you can do is be wise financially. Tell your money where to go or you will wonder where it went.Practice the 10-10-80 rule. Give a tenth (a tithe, 10%) to the local church. Then, save 10% and live off the remaining 80%. So many people are giving 0%, saving 0%, and are living off 120%. In verse 8 Jesus points out that the children of this world are better at seeing opportunities and making the most of them than the children of God. Unbelievers often work harder, plan better, save more, spend less, invest more wisely, than believers do. Are you wise with your money? Pay off your debt. Have an emergency fund. Update your giving and saving plans.
As we continue through the passage (v. 9-13), we read about true riches and how we can’t serve both God and money. True richesare the things on earth that will last forever – people, souls. We can use what we have to impact eternity – a carto bring people to church, a houseas a gathering place for teens or a group, a pool to reach kids, a business to fund the cause of Christ, etc. Lost people matter to God. You either love money and use people or you love people and use money to reach them. “Money” in this passage (also translated “mammon”) is talking about Money, with a capital “M”. The god of riches that is opposed to God. It’s root meaning is “to entrust.” God entrusted to you what you have, and the enemy wants you to trust in the gift rather than the Giver. The enemy controls people’s lives through money. It is not a sin to be wealthy or to enjoy what God has given you. It is a sin to have the world’s attitude toward wealth. God calls us to walk by faith. Money calls us to walk by sight. God calls us to be humble. Money calls us to be prideful. God calls us to set our minds onthings above. Money calls us to set our minds on things below. God calls us to live for eternity. Money calls us to live for temporary things. Jesus did not say you cannot have God and money. He said you cannot serve God and money. But, you can serve God with your money! Generosity is about lifestyle. What step can you take today to honor God with your finances?