All posts tagged Money

The Lazarus Effect

Luke 16

If you’ve been following closely as we’ve made our journey through the Gospel of Luke, one of the things you’ve likely noticed is that the use of money is a major theme throughout. In fact, Luke gives us the impression that God’s preference is toward the poor over and against the rich. Think about where we’ve been so far:

  • In Mary’s song in Luke 1, known as the Magnificat, she praises God for “pulling the powerful down from their thrones and lifting up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed” (1:52-53)
  • In chapter 3, John the Baptist proclaims the coming of the Messiah and the people respond, “What should we do?” John’s answers are all about the use of money—share your possessions, don’t extort people, be satisfied with your pay (3:10-14)
  • In chapter 4, Jesus announces his mission in the synagogue at Nazareth, quoting Isaiah 61—“He has sent me to preach good news to the poor.”
  • Moving to chapter 6, in Luke’s version of the beatitudes, Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, because God’s kingdom is yours” (note: not “poor in spirit” as in Matthew)
  • In chapters 9 and 10, Jesus sends out his 12 disciples and then 70 others to preach the news of the kingdom, but they are to travel with nothing—relying completely on the kindness of strangers
  • Many of his parables have an economic bent to them, as in chapter 12—the story of the rich fool who hoarded his resources instead of sharing them.

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Give All You Can

Luke 19:1-10

zacchaeus-1

“Zacchaeus” by Joel Whitehead. Retrieved from textweek.com

We’ve come to the end of our series on Wesley’s Rules for the Use of Money, where we’ve talked so far about earning all you can and saving all you can. But now we come to the third rule which, in many ways, is the goal of the other two—that we “give all we can.”

There are a lot of Scriptures we can point to in the Bible that are about giving all that we can. We might turn to Luke 21, for example and look at the story of the widow who gives one small coin at the Temple, and Jesus says her gift is more valuable because she gave it sacrificially as opposed to the rich who gave out of their leftovers. We could point to Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians to give cheerfully, or we could take another tack altogether and look at Acts 5 at the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who hold back part of the gift they promised to the church and, when confronted with their deception, drop dead on the spot. I’m actually surprised we don’t use that one more often when talking about giving!

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Wesley’s Rules for Money: Save All You Can

Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 25:14-30

talentSo, here’s another parable featuring money which indicates Jesus’ concern over its use or misuse, though this parable actually fits within the larger context of preparing for the coming kingdom of God. It’s sandwiched between the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids and Jesus’ warning about the judgment of the nations. The overarching question of this section is this: will you be ready when the Master returns?

Here again, like last week, we have a wealthy man who leaves his wealth in charge of three servants. The “talents” here are large sums of money—one being worth several years of wages. Two of the servants take the talents given to them and invest them in ways that bring a huge return (imagine, for example, what kind of investment it would take today to double the money). The third servant, however, is more risk adverse and buries the talent in the ground—he didn’t even put it in a savings account to earn that .02% interest they’re giving us today. The moral of the story for Jesus? Will you take the risk of investing the master’s resources in ways that benefit his estate, or will you choose a scarcity mentality and simply sit on it or, perhaps worse, invest it in assuaging your own fears and desires? What will we do with the things God has given us to manage?

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Wesley’s Rules for Money: Earn All You Can

Luke 16:1-13

parable-of-the-dishonest-stewardThis has to be the weirdest of Jesus’ parables. Everything seems backwards—a “dishonest” manager is commended? The children of this world are more clever in dealing with their peers than “the people of light” (i.e. God’s people)? Use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves? It’s no wonder that a lot of preachers leave this one alone.

John Wesley did not, however. In fact, he made this text the basis for his sermon “On the Use of Money,” and when we dive into the parable a little more closely we can see why, especially when it comes to our topic today—Wesley’s first rule on the use of money: “Earn all you can.”

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If You Could Ask For Anything…

First in the series, “Earn, Save, Give: Wesley’s Simple Rules for Money”

I Kings 3:1-14

use of moneyWow, can you imagine God coming to you tonight and saying to you, “Ask for whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you?” What would you ask for? Some would ask for wealth, no doubt, others for better health. Some may ask for a relationship, others for talent, still others might ask for more wishes!

The question, however, is whether we’d know what to do if we actually got what we wished for. Lottery winners, for example, see their wishes come true when they hit the big jackpot, but most lottery winners wind up miserable because they don’t have a good plan for what to do with the money. We might ask God for good health but we may not have the ability to maintain it. We could have a special talent or ability but squander it in the wrong place.

Maybe this is why God doesn’t make this offer very often!

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