Recently, someone told me that they “cannot afford to tithe.” I remember those days—the days when I thought I could not part with the money or the bills wouldn’t get paid. But I also remember the moment I got my finances in order, when I started to take a serious look at where the money was going. The Bible speaks about where the treasure is located, that’s where your heart will also be found (see Matthew 6:21). Take a look at your checking account register. Review it and you will see what has value to you. Recognize that if God is first place in your life, He shouldn’t be getting the leftovers.
You might be included in the likely 90% + readers who know I am a pastor. Perhaps you are saying, “Oh here’s a pastor asking for money again.” Please understand, I am NOT asking you for money. God does NOT need your money. He is the God of the universe. He is our Creator. But He has blessed us with what we have in our possession. It’s HIS! ALL OF IT!! Maybe you worked for it, but He blessed you with that job. Behind it all, before it all, you will find God. He is the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning, the End. He is in all, above all, through all. Bottom line (see 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 4:6, Colossians 1:17, Revelation 22:13). And tithing is a BLESSING to you! Yes, you read that right. Giving some of the money that God blessed you with to your local church to continue God’s kingdom building is an amazing opportunity you are blessed to be able to take part in. It’s a blessing to be a steward, and we are to be generous givers (see 1 Timothy 6:18). Tithing is not an obligation; it’s a loving response, a willing response to the grace of God.
God doesn’t want you trapped. He wants you free. Sometimes we are trapped by lies. Sometimes we are trapped by sin. Sometimes we are trapped by possessions. When you are trapped by your possessions, you cling to them so tightly that your possessions actually possess you. Today, look at your budget. Jot down different categories. Look to see where your money goes. Then pray about your finances. Consider what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. “On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once” (1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT). You do this and you will learn to be a better steward. You will start to loosen your grip on what God has blessed you with, and be the generous, cheerful giver you were meant to be.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]
ctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]
We guard our homes. We guard our possessions. We do whatever we can to be sure that our stuff is safe. Some of us get dogs; some of us get alarm systems. We lock our doors to our homes and our vehicles. We keep our purses, wallets, cell phones, and keys nearby.
Paul tells Timothy to “guard what God has entrusted to you.” In his second letter to Timothy, he again tells him to “carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” In both letters, the Apostle Paul makes this important statement. Why? Because we have been entrusted with something precious, something of great value.
The most precious thing in our lives is Jesus Christ. We need to guard His truth. We need to guard our relationship with Him. We need to guard what God has entrusted to us, more than we guard the things mentioned above. This can only be done through the Holy Spirit. Seek His power, stand firm on His truth. Guard what God has entrusted to you.
“Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.” – 1 Timothy 6:20 [NLT]
“Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” – 2 Timothy 1:14 [NLT]
The Bible talks a lot about the dangers of money. Money isn’t a bad thing. The problem is that money can corrupt. Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:7 that, “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (NIV). Even so, many people are not content to have the food and clothing Paul mentions in the next verse. People want more. And that desire to always have more keeps man from being content with the blessings of God.
In verse 6, Paul says “godliness with contentment is great gain” (ESV). Great gain. To be content with godliness is great gain. Yet, there is a warning here. Paul notes that many people want to be rich. The desire causes them to fall into temptation. They want more. They desire more. This results in entrapment by “foolish and harmful desires.”
God knows our needs and He sees to it that we have whatever we need to continue forward with what He has called us to do in life. When we take our focus off of His plan for our life, and we try to be like the Jones family next door, we plunge into ruin and destruction. We spend our life trying to live like someone else and we miss what God wanted for us. We focus on getting more, on building an earthly kingdom, instead of fixing our eyes on the Kingdom. Don’t take the plunge. Thank God for His blessings!
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:9 [NLT]
More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the first week: RICHNESS.
More Than a Story: Richness
[The Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-21]
BE ON GUARD AGAINST COVETOUSNESS
Covetousness – desire to have more than you have
LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST OF ABUNDANCE OF POSSESSIONS
Possessions are useless when life is gone
Cannot truly live when fixated on possessions
- Focused on protecting what you have
- Focused on getting more – never enough
- Focus is idolatry – God doesn’t have 1st place in life
Rich man called a fool. Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (v. 21 ESV). He’s not called fool for being productive or profitable.
Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [NIV]
Notice that the rich fool is not just called a fool; he’s a fool who loses his soul.
Our possessions: Time – Treasure – Talents
These can be hazardous or helpful. You decide.
Hazardous = It becomes your life <<OR>> Helpful = 1 Timothy 6:17-19
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” [MSG]
True Life — Eternal Life Life is knowing God
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV).
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).
Bible Study Questions:
1) The brother who approached Jesus at the beginning of the passage was covetous. The “rich fool” in the parable told by Jesus was also covetous. Jesus said to “be on your guard against all covetousness” (v. 15).
What are some instances when we are covetous?
How can we be on guard against this covetousness?
2) When reading verses 17-19, what words stick out to you?
3) What was the focus of both the brother and the “rich fool”?
4) Can one be “rich” in possessions (“treasure” – money) and still be rich toward God? If so, how?
5) How can we be rich toward God?
6) John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. What does that mean? What is the difference between knowing of God, knowing about God, or truly knowing God? How does that look in our lives?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.