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The Church Just Wants Your Money (Part One)

All the Church Wants is Your Money

If I had a dollar for every time that was said! 

Truthfully, in this series we’re unpacking some of these myths that surround the church and talking about what God says in the Bible about our finances – cause the church doesn’t just want your money.

Most preachers I know aren’t very comfortable talking about money.

Common fears are:

Fear of being grouped with a few. There are those who preach for personal gain. Even Paul talked about those in his day preaching for personal gain.

Fear that talking about money is heard as asking for money.

As soon as I mention money some will assume I’m asking for money – again.

  • Fear of reducing attendance
  • Fear of turning off guests
  • Fear of hate mail
  • Fear of conviction regarding their own finances

So here we go. How many of you have ever heard someone say, “That church just wants your money”?

“I don’t go to church anymore because they just want your money.”

Usually they mean that as an indictment against the church. They mean it as a slam.

But I’ve discovered that for the most part, it really has nothing to do with the church, but has everything to do with the heart.

You know why? Because, Target just wants your money. Walmart just wants your money. The mall just wants your money.

We just don’t complain about that. We don’t complain about what or where our heart really is.

Where is Jesus in your life? If you were to rank out your top 10 list of priorities, where would Jesus be?

The second question is this, where do you think He wants to be? He wants to be first.

Last week, we celebrated Easter with Tenebrae and Good Friday and communion and we talked about Jesus suffering and dying and rising from the dead. Can I just tell you He did not do all that so He might finish in our top 10?

He wants to be first. Ever wonder why? Basically 2 reasons.

1. He wants greater things for you than you want for you.

2. He knows unless He is first, everything else in your life is going to be insufficient to satisfy you.

 

 

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s difficult to follow Jesus at times? We struggle in putting Him first in relationships. We struggle in putting Him first in our business or career choice or friends.

The number one place we struggle in putting Jesus first and keeping Jesus first, is in our money. This is the absolute number one place people struggle. And so the reason I’m going to talk about this all month is not that the church wants your money, but that God wants your heart.

 

For you see, if money is that important to us, Jesus can’t be number one in our lives.

A. So here’s our text.

Matthew 6:24-34 NLT

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

What incredible words from Jesus as He teaches this lesson on the mount – we call it the Sermon on the Mount.

He says you can’t have money number one in your life and Jesus number one in your life. Can’t have two number ones.

Have you ever thought about why money has become so important to so many people? I mean, we often sacrifice our health for it, our families for it, our friendships for it. It determines our mood. We are all a little happier come payday.

It’s tax season. We are terribly upset if we have to pay. We are relieved if we don’t. And if we get something back we are thrilled.

For our birthdays, what do we enjoy getting the most? Money.

Because money equals freedom. Money equals choices. Money equals power.

 

But you’ve got to know that there are some things money cannot do for you.

1. Money cannot give you a good marriage.

Money – or the lack thereof – can put all kinds of strain on a marriage. But sound financial footing does not equate to a good marriage. A large bank account is no substitute for sacrificial, selfless love for one another.

2. Money cannot give your kids a better life.

3. Money cannot give you real satisfaction.

 

Thinking that money is a cure-all, end-all for your problems is a deception that only puts us on a never-ending path of never enough.

I want so desperately to communicate that it isn’t a money problem, it’s a heart problem. For far too many of us do the unfathomable – trade an eternal, always satisfying God for a flimsy, 2.61 inches high, 6.14 inches wide, green piece of paper.

4. Money cannot make you generous.

 

Generosity is not a result of wealth. It is a result of sacrifice. It is a matter of the heart.

 A heart given to Jesus always results in a heart given out to others.

5. Money cannot get you to the place where you can focus on your spiritual life.

How many times have we thought – if I could get more money, just get stable financially, I could serve God more fully?

Truth is, the Bible tells us that those who are wealthier have more difficulty submitting their lives to God.

 

Waiting until I’m financially settled before I give Him my heart is a dangerous place to be.

 

There are more than 500 verses in the Bible concerning prayer and nearly 500 verses concerning faith, but more than 2,000 verses on the subject of money and possessions.

Jesus talked about money in sixteen of His thirty-eight parables. Clearly, from the Bible’s standpoint, we need to understand money and how to handle it. Why? Because it really is a matter of the heart.

You nor I can serve both God and money.



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