Kingdom Principle: Stewardship of resources is a matter of thanksgiving and generosity.
|Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15||Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16||1 Timothy 6:6-19||Luke 16:19-31|
- In business there must be a profit margin which demonstrates good business.
- In ministry there must be a prophet margin which demonstrates godly ministry.
The Good life is a Godly life where there is a value for both profit and prophet. The profit margin leads you to enjoy all the resources & riches the Lord has provided. The prophet margin calls us to be rich in good deeds, filled with thanksgiving and generous and as we share with all those in need. (Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:14-46)
I have worked in not-for-profit organizations (churches, city transformation teams, & counseling and coaching groups) and well as in for-profit industries (Entertainment, education & sales). No “job” (where you receive financial compensation) will last without making a profit. The difference between the not-for-profit and the for-profit is who benefits from the profit. (Not-for profits, must make a profit, but the benefits are NOT to be owned or controlled by the leaders of the organization, rather they are put back into the organization to fulfill its mission. For-profits can put the profits in the pockets of its leaders and owners, for that is the mission of the business. Our lives need to have both profit margins and prophet margins. The Bible says, the poor will always be with you, and it addresses the rich not as the problem. Rather the problem is when the rich find their identity in their wealth. For this reason the command of 1 Timothy is not against money, nor that money is evil, rather it is to find joy in all God provides, being rich in good deeds and generous by sharing with those in need.
Last week the “rich man” had a stewarding problem, which turned out to be a relationship issue. This week the rich man has a stewarding problem, which is both a relational issue and also a financial issue. The rich man was neither generous to nor thankful for the poor man, Lazarus while on earth. God is generous to all… Those who do not live a life of Thanksgiving and Generosity – miss life altogether and are left with bitterness and jealously when they finally realize what they missed. To be rich is not the problem. To not be rich in love and good deeds is the problem whether you have financial resources or not. The rich man of Luke 16 was not rich in good deeds. Jesus had followers who were rich (Luke 8:1-3) Joseph of Arimathea was “rich”, and Lydia was “rich” to Paul. Jeremiah demonstrates that God has given him provision and peace through buying land that has no value in the current/impending threat of captivity and destruction of Judah. To steward according to a prophet margin in primary to the profit margin. Meaning you must value the richness of good deeds, over the value of riches. However, if you follow the prophet margin and the profit margin, you will have more riches with which to be generous.
How you steward your money is the key importance to whether your money will become a vice or a virtue in your life. Stewardship begins with your primary relationships and the way you learn to either use people or invest in people. (or if you feel used or invested in) The same is true for finances. When you use your finances to get what you want – you learned it most likely in your primary relationships. This must be confronted and healed, and will only take place in the presence of a prophet’s message – You are loved by the God who is generous – Follow God’s ways.
The life you live on this earth is to be a foretaste of what you will enjoy for eternity. Heaven on earth is to begin now – I call it ATHOE. God’s desire is not for you to be miserable (suffering, poor, living in want and destitute); rather it is for you to be saved from the Kingdom of darkness. (1 Tim 2:3-6, Colossians 1:13-14) Joy and contentment are the roots of thanksgiving in the midst of trials and troubles in life. (James 1:2, Romans 5:3-5, & Philippians 4:10-14) Further because of your salvation by faith, your life is to be filled with Good works. (James 2:14-24 , Romans 12:1-3, 9-21, Philippians 2:19-22, 25, 4:2-3) Therefore, in Jesus we have all we need to enter into that life of faith and fulfillment. For, it is not a sin to be rich, rather it is the temptation to be rich which ensnares many people and a sin to pursue the glory of riches – for it will lead to ruin and destruction. How much more we are called to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness, for out of such things generosity and thanksgiving will flourish.
So what about the $$$ – Steward what you have generously and with thanksgiving. Lazarus died just like the rich man died– you too will die, so don’t fear or avoid death. Rather pursue life, the make the most of materials of this world are not eternal, but what you do with them does have eternal impact. The Rich Man found himself in a place of torment seeking comfort and pity from Lazarus, whom all his earthly life he had not the slightest compassion toward – and now he is asking for the good deeds he never offered. Death and punishment has prompted the rich man to see the true value of money. (much like last week – the manager’s fear opened his eyes) Money has no value in the life to come – so the call is to figure out the value of money in this life.
That value riches and money is two-fold;
- for those in need (both your needs and that of others – food & clothing)
- for your enjoyment (both your enjoyment and that of others – thanksgiving & generosity)
Anyone who reads this and thinks – “I have a need” – is missing the point for in fact when you have Jesus – then – No, you don’t have any need – for all needs are met in Him. (If you are reading this and don’t have Jesus fully in your life – please reach out to me – I want to know why you are still reading this – I’m fascinated by your dedication– I’ll pay you $$$ to hear your thoughts) Thus we must discover what is true joy in this life, and as the Psalm points out this week that joy is to have no fear, and to be loved and in love with God Our Savior. To return to the beginning, we need a prophet & profit message in our lives:
- The prophet message:
Be filled with Thanksgiving & Generosity demonstrating your Hope in God!
- The profit message:
Be filled with Thanksgiving & Generosity so others put their Hope in God!