Message #3

March 1, 2023
Rev. Randy Booth

Stewardship is focusing on God as we use the gifts God has given us: money, time, and talents. Because God has created everything, nothing belongs to us.

We are caretakers of someone else’s belongings. We are stewards, and neither owners nor hoarders.

Now, picture the scene. Thousands of people were gathered around Jesus, stepping on one another to get close. He was teaching against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees when someone from the crowd called out, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

Jesus declined to get involved by saying, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Luke 12:15)

This raises the question, “If life’s not measured by how much you own, what is it measured by?”

You could ask the man whose brother wouldn’t divide their father’s estate.

No, don’t ask the brother, ask their deceased father. All his wealth didn’t have the power to add a day to his life. He couldn’t buy anything to prevent his death. So why does that man want access to the same thing that failed his father? Jesus gives an uncompromising response. “Guard against every kind of greed.”

God has designed our hearts to tell us what’s valuable, what’s satisfying. Sin distorts those values. Money is a tool that helps us build satisfaction, but it is not the satisfaction itself. In Christ, there is great satisfaction in the things money cannot buy.

That’s why they say that if you’re unhappy before you win the lottery, you’ll be unhappy if you were to win it. It’s not just greed that’s a heart issue, not a financial issue.

So is happiness. So is holiness. Right? Holiness is not a financial issue, it’s a heart issue.

Or another way to put it is, “Greed is having one-way pockets.” When money itself becomes the purpose of living or the definition of happiness, we cut out God.

God created us to be satisfied in him, the Creator, not the stuff of creation.

Sharing and giving brings a satisfaction that money cannot buy.

We don’t know if that man found another arbiter to settle the estate with his brother. We don’t know if he found Jesus’ teaching about greed truthful and started measuring life by spiritual things.

We simply know that’s our choice today.

Greed – those one-way pockets – greed that lies and tells us our value is wrapped up in the stuff we own (and what our children might fight over because we cannot take it when we die).

Or… stewardship – two-way pockets – that leads us to what is the true measure of life, a life rich in God.

Greed is having one-way pockets.

Stewardship is having two-way pockets.

“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed.

Life is not measured by how much you own.” 

Luke 12:15