Covenant Weekly - April 10, 2018
April 10, 2018
I spent several years listening to a certain preacher's sermons online. They challenged my thinking about the Bible and my perception of God in ways that were a real help to me. They often spoke to the questions I was asking about faith and life in ways that didn't skip the challenging questions or try to give simple answers to complicated questions.
One Sunday morning the pastor stood up in front of his congregation and started his message something like this, "When I started preaching at this church eight years ago, I committed to myself that I would never use the pulpit to preach about money!" I laughed as I listened. The congregation applauded. After a pause, the pastor continued. "I was an idiot." I laughed again. The congregation's response was very awkward laughter. He went on to point out that money is one of the most talked about things in the Bible. Jesus talks about money a lot.
- "How do I inherit eternal life?" Jesus is asked. "Ummm . . . go sell all of your stuff and give your money to the poor."
- When he sent his disciples out to preach . . . "Don't take anything with you. Not even money."
- People exploiting worship in the Temple as a means of getting rich, "Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?' But you have made it 'a den of robbers!'"
- About taxes, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
- In response to a poor widow giving almost nothing, "This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others."
So if we are going to pay attention to the things Jesus paid attention to, we need to be willing to talk about money. Starting on Sunday we're going to do that for a few weeks with a series I'm calling Dollars and $ense. I know some people who, if they hear their pastor/church is going to talk about money, they skip out for a few weeks. They don't want to hear it. Please don't do that. As you try to follow Jesus' invitation into living the full life he came to offer, please consider that he might have some wisdom to offer regarding how we handle our money.
During this series, I hope we'll be encouraged as we consider God's posture towards us as we manage our finances (individually and collectively). This is not, in any way, a "give money to the church" sermon series. God's concerns are simultaneously way bigger than that and way more personal than that. Through this series, I hope we'll be challenged if/as we need to be challenged. And I hope that we will all come away with a larger and healthier perspective towards our money than was is typically offered in our world and even in our churches.