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M: 10/6/19: “Consumer to Steward”

Today we are going to address how God wants us to view our finances. We all comsume. We buy things we need, we buy things we want, we spend our money in ways that are both wise and unwise.

Let’s start off by defining what it means to consume. We know that it means “to expend” or “to use up.” I like to think of money like a drill. We can have a nice, shiny yellow one or a red one, 18volt or 20 volt, it doesn’t matter all that much. I’m after the hole in the wood of whatever I’m building and only a drill can get me what I want. We see that money is simply a tool that we use in order to get a desired result. It’s used to purchase a home and to keep the electricity powered on. Maybe, we want to fund a college education, a car, or purchase a gallon of milk. Whatever the case may be, we can do a lot of good things with money.

To steward simply means, “to manage the property or affairs for another entity.” Now think of the money we earn. We are actually earning money that comes from God and He is allowing us to manage it for Him. Some of you might be thinking, “How can it come from God when I worked for it and I earned it?” Great question. So let’s look at what it says in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, verse 18.

“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18 ESV).

We learn that experiencing any type of financial success, producing earnings and gaining wealth are all authorized by God as He empowers us to do so. As God wants us to shift from consumer to steward, He wants us to understand that He will gladly provide as long as we walk

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the way He instructs us to. We shift by being in service to others. We can therefore think of generating finances as a measurement of services rendered to our fellow man.

In Mark, chapter 10, Jesus counsels a very wealthy young man. After they discussed how well he obeys the commandments, Jesus commended him and challenged him to shift.

“Jesus looked straight at the man and loved him. Jesus said, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have, and

give the money to the poor. You will have a reward in heaven. Then come and follow me” (Mark 10:21 ICB).

Jesus emphasized service to mankind by giving away and sharing what he doesn’t need. Jesus wanted him to shift his priorities by attaching himself to eternal things, not material things. Write in your notes,

1. Shift from security in riches to security in Christ.

Let’s think about what we own. We may own a beautiful home, a luxury car or even a boat parked in our front yard. These may be symbolic of a secure, comfortable life. But, those are still temporary. They may be fun to have and Jesus is not against enjoying material things. Let’s remember, Abraham, David, Solomon and Job were very wealthy. They all had very healthy bank accounts. They were rich in their possessions but their security was found in their intimacy with God.

Jesus encouraged the young ruler to follow him. That was supposed to be his shift. Notice Jesus did not say to give up his ability to be wealthy. In fact, God blesses believers to be wealthy so that, we can give wealth away. Then, go create more wealth. God gifts all his children with this ability according to the promise He made. We know God is always faithful. Jesus did not address his ability, He addressed his possessions.

“Have a garage sale.” Jesus may have suggested. “Do you really need 15 Rolex watches?” “There are some great non-profits that could use some help with resources.” “Why don’t you sponsor a compassion kid?” “I know the local church could use some renovating.”

The young ruler could have bought another Mercedes Benz or Benetti yacht after he sold it all if he wanted to. All Jesus wanted was for him to live differently and to not be so attached to

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the temporary things of this world. In order to live successfully at this, we must understand the difference between the way the world views money and the way heaven views money. Write in your notes:

2. Shift from the economy of man to the economy of God.

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” –Matthew 22:21 (KJV).

“Economy” simply means “household management.” So, as believers, are we to manage Caeser’s household (the world’s) or manage God’s household. When we shift from consumer to steward, we begin to see how we can manage the things God blesses us with, such as time talent and treasure. As we remain intimate with God, he reveals to us how we ought to take responsibility for these things.

Jesus wanted to distinguish both realms. As Christ followers, we live in one realm but live by the other. In the economy of God, if we want to lead, we must become the least. If we want to be greatest, we must be servant to all. If we want to receive, we must give. So, if we want to receive the blessings that God so wants to give us, let us rightfully give Him the honor that He deserves. We do this by first acknowledging God’s covenant to prosper us, then celebrating our ability to produce wealth and finally to live responsibly by sharing with others all that He provides.

As we continue on in the passage we see the rich young ruler chose not to let go of his possessions. We sense how the inner conflict inside of him prevented him from shifting from consumer to steward. We ask the question, “Did he have a hold of his possessions or did his possessions have a hold of him? Write in your notes,

3. Shift by testing God.

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How is this a shift? Some of us have never been encouraged to test God before because we know the key to a blessed life is an obedient life. So, let’s be obedient to test Him. God, in His loving way encourages us to take Him at His word. He wants to prove His faithfulness to us.

An area where many are challenged greatly is in the area of tithing. It is a spiritual principle that benefits us and those we love. The encouragement of the prophet Malachi tells us to,

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the

windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Malachi 3:10 NLT).

Imagine living in a constant overflow of provision that allows us to live generously. We can live life that allows us to take our eyes off ourselves and to care for others. Unfortunately, the young ruler was unsuccessful. He didn’t test Jesus at His word by choosing not to follow Him into a world he didn’t comprehend.

Choosing Jesus is choosing to have a right relationship with God. Choosing Jesus ensures we do not idolize finances, riches or wealth. Choosing Jesus ensures we manage or time, our talents and our treasure by His design.

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