God and Money 2

Luke 12:13-34

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” (Luke 12:13)

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” (Luke 12:14)

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. (Luke 12:16)

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ (Luke 12:17)

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. (Luke 12:18)

And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ (Luke 12:19)

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (Luke 12:20)

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21)

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. (Luke 12:22)

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:23)

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! (Luke 12:24)

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (Luke 12:25)

Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:26)

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Luke 12:27)

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! (Luke 12:28)

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. (Luke 12:29)

For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. (Luke 12:30)

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12:31)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. (Luke 12:33)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:34)

Series: God and Money

Last Message : Contrast :

And so that’s what we’re going to do tonight. We’re going to look at this thing called ‘The Kingdom of the World’ AKA regular human life. And then this ‘upside-down Kingdom’ which is called the kingdom of God. People call it an upside-down kingdom because in so many ways, it’s the polar opposite of the regular human life.

We read from Luke 6 where Jesus says that he pities you if at the center of your life are:

Jesus would go on to tell us that belonging to the kingdom of God has a direct impact on what you do with your money.


Bloodwork

Start w/thought: Once you reach a certain age, doctors say that it’s smart to get an annual check up.

One thing they want you to do of course is: bloodwork.

B/C we can FEEL really healthy, you could even run a marathon, but it’s possible to have something going on beneath the skin that we don’t realize.

And if you catch stuff early, more times than not it makes all the difference. People b/c of certain genetic realities, and can have all these issues going on without them realizing. Some people can have plaque building up in their arteries, and they have no idea.

So in order to prevent this from happening: You have to schedule routine check-ups where they look under the hood basically. Check your oil. / Dipstick.

Luke 12 is about a universal disease. Most people in the world have it, but nobody thinks they have it.

Jesus - who the church has historically called the ‘great physician’ - comes to us with a diagnosis and a cure.


Tonight : 3 Questions :

  • What is the universal disease?
  • What are it’s symptoms?
  • What is the cure?

1. What is the universal disease?

What is this epidemic that is clogging your spiritual arteries?

Well of course it’s what Jesus calls ‘Greed' : a selfish and excessive desire for more than is needed of something (such as money).

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” (Luke 12:13)

Ok, so most likely these two brothers parents had died. And so all the inheritance was passed on the older brother to distribute to his siblings.

In this culture most likely: The old brother inherited 2/3rds of the inheritance. And the remaining 1/3 was split equally among the rest of the kids.

Any younger siblings in here I’m sure think that’s stupid. I do as well.

And so what’s happening here is the older brother is refusing to do that.

Then he said to them, (notice he said to THEM, not just one brother or the other) “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

It’s an interesting thought to think that there’s different KINDS of greed.

  • In this case, the greed of the older brother is pretty obvious. Right?
  • But how interesting that the young brother could be guilty of a different kind of greed himself.

Never been more outrage - greed - today.

There’s never been more outrage in the world about greed than their is today.

The finger tends to be pointing UP the economic ladder.

September 29, 2008 - Stock market crash.

Think about the stock market crash of September 29, 2008. Me and Jordan were in Disney world on our honeymoon. And it was hilarious. B/C we were having a great time, and didn’t care all that much about the stock market, but people were like wailing in the streets. The streets of Disney world.

Where were the fingers pointing there? The Banks.

2009 - unemployment hit - 25 year high.

Where we the fingers pointing? The Federal Government.

Sometimes outrage over greed (especially systemic greed) is a Godly thing.

But what Jesus is saying here is that greed is not just an upper-class problem.

Greed can be found in every income level, every race, every government structure.

I would say that most people of the world would agree that greed is a problem, but no one thinks it’s THEIR problem.

Just like the younger brother in the story, we all want to point the finger anywhere but at ourselves.

As a pastor at the church, I do some counseling. And so people tell me all kinds of dark secrets about themselves. Sexual sin, abuse, hate. But no one has EVER come to me and confessed to being greedy. - Never. And I’ve heard other pastors say the same thing. That they’re never even HEARD of someone coming and confessing to greed.

And Jesus says ‘Watch Out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed.'

So this is a real issue in the church today.

Tim Keller would say: No one sees themselves and greedy b/c nobody sees themselves as rich.

Everybody thinks they’re struggling.

And this gets really crazy when the comparison thing starts happening.

$40,000 -- $50k! Cambodia

Like maybe you make $40,000/year! Yeah well that’s great, until you learn that all your friends are making $50k!And now all of a sudden you feel like you’re living in Cambodia. Or maybe you’re making $70k/year, and you’re going to work and you’re surrounded by people who make $100k.

Juliet B. Schor : “The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need" :

Only 1/3rd of American households making $100,000 or more per year agree with the statement: “I can afford to buy everything I really need.”

Ridiculous.

So here’s the situation: Over half of the world lives on less than $3/day.

2/3 of the wealthiest people in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world think they’re just scraping by.

So greed is a hidden disease. The fact that nobody thinks they’re greedy is exactly the point.

And it’s not just looking UP the economic ladder, it’s looking sideways, and it’s look down the economic ladder too.

1. What is the universal disease? - Greed.


2. What are it’s symptoms?

The symptoms are basically: you believing the two lies that money tell us:

I can be your happiness. / I can buy your happiness.


Symptom 1. You think money can be your happiness.”

Money isn’t mentioned anywhere in this passage. This is all about ‘crops’ which is appropriate for this time period. In this culture, their currency was often measured in the number of cattle they owned and how much grain they had.

So this man, in this culture, was very rich.

In v19 - Rich man - himself: “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, be merry."

Can you see the assumption here? “With more wealth, comes a better life.” All you need is to reach a certain level, and then you’ll be happy.

God responds v20 : “‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “

What’s Jesus saying? He’s saying “The more we trust in wealth to bring us happiness, the less happy we will be.” - Jesus

Paul says the same thing:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10)


Again, just like we said last week: the Bible is not against wealth. It’s not against having wealth, it’s not against working had to get wealth.

Solomon Jesus mentions Solomon in this passage, one of the richest men to ever live. And Jesus never condemns him for it, never speaks ill of him, never says he should have taken a vow of poverty instead. None of that.

Job Think about Job. Who was both the wealthiest man in all the time and the most Godly. So you can be both.

So being rich is not in and of itself, wrong.

You could say it like this: God wants his people living in every kind of neighborhood.

The Evil is found in greed. Greed. Just like he says in v30 - "To run after money.” And believe that somehow money is going to be the answer to all your problems.


Here’s a great diagnostic question (and it’s not rhetorical, it doesn’t assume a yes or a no):

As you accumulate wealth, are you accumulating regrets along with it?

If a person is greedy, they will sacrifice more important things for the sake of money.

Ex:

  • Being - absent father - for sake - big paycheck.
  • Giving up - God's called - for sake - earning more money.
  • Filling - life w/ so much work - sacrifice - spiritual life.

Nobody on their deathbed thinks “I wish I spent more time at the office. I wished a worked more deals.” Nobody says that.

In fact, it we were able to go into future and custom write what they’re say at your funeral, I bet you’d want something like this:

“Loved people. / Family. / Generous. / Incredible friend.”

But most people don’t live their like with those priorities. B/C we’re greedy.

Symptom 2. You think money can buy your happiness.”

Here Jesus doesn’t just focus on money, he focused on things that money can buy.

So you might say this: There’s this greed that shows itself in excessive hoarding and there’s a greed that shows itself in excessive spending.

On a stereotypical level, I think men tend to be guilty of the first, and women of the second.

v23 - Mentions a few different things: Food, and clothing for example.

And the verse says that :

God values the birds enough to feed them.

And he cares to the grass and lilies by clothe them.

So he’s appealing to core desires of the human heart:

1. To be safe (all the talk about food.)

2. To have worth (you could say it like this: to be beautiful or attractive) (all the talk about clothes)

Jesus is communicating here: Your safety, and your self-worth will never be found in stuff you buy.

"Safety and self-worth are things that you find in me.”


Here’s the diagnostic question: “Where do you spend your money the most effortlessly?”

B/C wherever that is, that’s where our heart is.

I’ve got example from my life:

1. Technology.

I can spend money EFFORTLESSLY on technology. It’s not hard. I love buying new phones, and iPads, and computers. And I’ve always know that my heart is with technology. I love it. And that’s not a bad thing NECESSARILY. But it can quickly get out of order.

2. Books/Bibles/Learning

You might think “That ones only good.” Well, not necessarily. B/C see for me, that can be a way to get something else that I want, and that’s to look smart, and educated, and current, and clever. - So you can see that in a very real way, that can serve as my self-worth, in the same way that a lady buying 100 purses can be trying to get self-worth.

For others:

  • Your physical appearance is where you get your self-worth.
  • High Level Education
  • Luxurious vehicles B/C we need to be seen in a certain way.

Again, Jesus is not coming down against any of that.

It’s totally cool to be as pretty as you can, and a smart as you can, and if you can afford it, buy the car you love.

But again, if you find your safety of your self-worth there, then you’ve been bit by the greed bug.

Remember when all you could think about was getting that new car. Or moving into that incredible house, or once I get that job, I’m gonna be happy forever!!!

Well now that you have the car, or the house, or the job, ‘How long did that happiness last?'

Kobe Bryant - Is a basketball player.

Well years ago, he did an interview with sports illustrated, he was just starting his career, but was starting to dominate the league. - He had this incredible mansion on the California coast, he had a beautiful wife, he had this huge multimillion dollar contract, he had everything that money could buy.

Huge barns, tons of grain.

He was 23 years old.

The interviewer asked: “Are you happy?”
Kobe: “I don’t believe in happiness."

Isn’t that amazing.

Many of us spend decades of our lives trying to get to his level. He’s this young guy, super healthy, people love him.

But he’s not happy.

Bell Curve. Just from a totally secular mindset, we know that when it comes to invoke levels, happiness is a Bell Curve. And what means is that it’s low at the beginning, the highest in the middle, and then goes back down.

That’s why past a certain income level, depression goes up, suicide goes up, divorce goes WAY up.

Madeline Levine (well known psychiatrist in California) - specializes in young people.

“America’s newly identified at-risk group is preteens and teens from affluent, well-educated families. In spite of their economic and social advantages, they experience among the highest rates of depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and unhappiness of any group of children in this country.

Studies of public school students have shown that as many as 22 percent of adolescent girls from financially comfortable families suffer from clinical depression. This is three times the national rate of depression for adolescent girls."

The point? Trying to find happiness in money is like drinking salt-water. The more you drink, the thirstier you get.

Remember the rich man in the parable - “I’m gonna tear down my barns to make bigger ones!!”

Remember Rockefeller - one of the wealthiest men in the world - made his fortunes in the oil industry - When asked ‘How much is enough? “One more dollar.” - No matter how much you have, it’s never enough..

Can you see yourself in that? I can. You reach this level, and then you set the next one.


3. What is the cure?

2 Things


Cure 1. The Discipline of Generosity

  • v21 - We heal from greed when we’re ‘generous toward God’
  • v33 - We heal from greed when we’re ‘generous toward others'.

The Bible teaches the idea of the tithe - which means 10% - to give to God as a starting point.

But again with Zaccheous in the Bible - Jesus was happy when he gave half his possessions, C.S. Lewis famously gave 90% of his money to charity, and the rich young ruler was required to give it all.

So you might say it like this: “You need to give enough to feel it."

You need to give enough that you remember that your safety and worth is found in God.

People like the idea of being generous, but most are scared.


Cure 2. The Love of a Father

In these scriptures, Jesus give us 2 promises from the father:

1. I will keep you safe.

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! (Luke 12:24)

2. I will give you your self-worth

Don’t try to get that from your body. Or your clothes, or your makeup, or your car, or your house, or your success.

Enjoy those things if you want, but don’t obsess about it.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Luke 12:27)

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! (Luke 12:28)

For those of you who have a young daughter, think about this for a second? Do you want her to find her self worth in guys finding her attractive? The answer is no.

You don’t want your daughter thinking : “I must wear a size 4, and I must wear nothing but designer clothes, and I must have the money to buy all that. And if any of that doesn’t happen, I’ll consider myself a failure”

You don’t want that!

You want to be able to go into her room, tell her that she’s beautiful, and she believes you.

I would say that God wants the same thing.


Close

(Prepare - Communion)

Of course it all goes back to Jesus - who gave 100% of himself to us.

And when you get that deep down on the inside of you, finding your security in money just seems ridiculous.

  • That Jesus would be rejected so how could show you acceptance.
  • That Jesus would be poor so that you could become rich.
  • That Jesus would be wounded so you could be healed.

As - Pass : Where do I find my safety? & Where do I find my self-worth?