In Mark, Jesus spoke to a rich man who wanted to inherit eternal life. During this discourse Jesus did this:
"Jesus looked at him and loved him, 'One thing you lack,' He said. 'Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me.'
At this the man 's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!" Mark 10:21-23
Writing on this passage a couple days ago I asked what are you afraid to leave for Jesus? Today, I want to focus on wealth.
How much do you value Jesus?
How much do you trust Jesus?
Jesus doesn't ask most of us to sell everything we have and give to the poor in order to follow Him. I believe He was pointing out something the rich man loved more than Jesus, and Jesus refuses to be second place to anything in our life. But, we are too quick to dismiss the money aspect of this story. 16 of the 38 parables of Jesus involve money. Money and what it provides is one of the chief loves in our life. Money is one of the most common functional saviors.
Jesus might not ask you to give everything, but are you willing to give anything?
How many of you hate the topic of giving? Or worse, tithing? When the subject is broached you may shout "LEGALISM!" in your heart. We've all heard about the person who left a church because they dared to talk about giving.
Jesus once said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, meaning that the Sabbath is a gift to us, a needed break. What if I told you that tithing was made FOR man?
Tithing (regular giving that is traditionally 10% although some may give a regular percentage that is more or less than that) and giving are good for the body and soul. We don't tithe because God is desperate for the cash to keep the heat on in the church building, though your money may go to that; we tithe for the health of our soul. Few things chart the loves and measure the trust of a person like money does. Martin Luther King, Jr called budgets a love letter. What does your household budget say you love? What does it say you trust? Does it say you value Christ?
Last night my wife and I were talking about this. She and I give regularly to our local church. Before we pay any bill, buy any food, allocate any dollar... we write a tithe check. We don't even treat that money as if it is ours, because it isn't, we've pledged it to the Kingdom. We find that the most beneficial way to do it. We give God our first fruits at the same percentage regardless of what life may have brought our way.
Some of you may be thinking, "We can't afford to do that." To that I say, you can never afford to do it. There will always be a reason not to give.
The question isn't, "Can I afford to tithe?" No, the question is, "What do you value and trust?"
"Jesus sat down opposite of the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling the disciples to Him, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything... all she had to live on." Mark 12:41-44
What do you value? What do you trust?
Speaking to his church in Scotland, Robert Murray M'Cheyne said, "I fear there are many hearing me who may know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudgingly at all, requires a new heart; an old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money. Oh my friends! Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity."
What do you value? What do you trust? May your budget declare that you trust and value Jesus today.