Today, the message is entitled “What is God’s Plan for Your Money?” The Bible has a lot to say about money. There are over 2350 verses in the Bible on how to handle money and possessions. Yet, many people, including believers don’t understand the biblical principles concerning money. Many of our ideas about money come from the world. So, they are wrong and lead to great problems in our lives.
Our title “What is God’s Plan for Your Money?” has a problem. Most people think of the money in their bank account as their money. They reason that they earned it, so it’s there’s to do with as they please. But that’s not what the Bible teaches about our money.
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (ESV) Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
These verses, as well as many others tell us that everything on this earth, including your bank account is God’s, He owns it. “All that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.” Any riches that we manage for Him came from Him as gifts to us. We are manager or stewards of the finances that we have been given. So a more accurate title would be: “What is God’s Plan for His Money in My Bank Account.” But that’s a little long for a title. Let’s look at a key principle of God’s plan for His money in your bank account.
Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
This is a command and a promise concerning our handling of God’s finances. God instructs us to regularly give the first 10% of our income to His house. In the Old Testament, that was the temple. In the New Testament and today, it is the church. When you are faithful to give your tithes to God, He promises to bless you, so you will have no more needs. What if you choose not to obey this command?
Malachi 3:8-9 (ESV) Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me,
When we don’t give our tithes to God, we are stealing from God, that which He told us to give directly to Him. Rather than receiving the promised blessing, we will receive a curse, which is the opposite of blessing. That is why believers who don’t tithe are generally in perpetual financial difficulty. Tithing purpose is to bring financial blessing into your life and to help extend the kingdom of God.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
When we seek God’s kingdom first with our finances, He promises to meet all our needs. Exactly the same promise as given to us in Malachi 3:10. What of the other 90% that is not part of the tithe? Is that ours to do with as we please? Absolutely not. All of my money, all of your money is His. We are to use it extend the Gospel and His kingdom. That includes meeting the needs of your family, blessing others, giving to missions above your tithe and following His direction with all your finances. So, let’s learn some exciting principles from Jesus about God’s Plans for the Money He’s given us to manage.
Luke 16:1-2 (ESV) He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’
In this story, the rich man is like God the Father. The manager is kind of like a believer, but in both a negative and positive aspect, as we’ll see. He is in charge of the rich man’s possessions. The story begins with the manager getting in trouble with his boss, for not taking good care of what had been entrusted to him. Apparently by mismanaging or even stealing, the master’s resources had been wasted or lost. The master decided to fire the manager.
Luke 16:3-4 (ESV) And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’
So, the manager began to plan for the future where he would not have a good job. He came up with a plan that would gain him friends to support him after being laid off. He reasoned that with this plan, people, the new friends he was going to make would take care of him in their houses.
Luke 16:5-7 (ESV) So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’
The manager was in charge of people who paid the master for the use of his land. The manager decided to reduce the rent for each debtor from what had previously been agreed on. So, he gave each debtor a discount, 50% for the first, and 20% for the second. And most likely the manager did this with more of the debtors to win their favor.
Luke 16:8-9 (ESV) The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
The manager was dishonest, both in his behavior that led to his firing and for reducing the bills for the debtors without the master’s approval. In the story, the master commends the manager, not for his dishonesty, but for his shrewdness or wisdom. The manager was looking ahead to the future and made plans to prepare for that future. A future in which friends would welcome him into their homes.
Jesus then tells us that oftentimes, worldly unbelievers are wiser in dealing with people than believers. The last verse is the takeaway lesson by Jesus for the whole story. In this life, we are to make friends for ourselves with the money God has given us to manage. The end result is that when money fails, when we die, those friends will welcome us into heaven.
Jesus is telling us that the most important use of the money that He has given us to manage is to lead people to faith in Jesus. Ever wondered how to lay up treasure in heaven? This is the answer. Use the money God has entrusted you with to win the lost. Both through your life and through missions. Those believers are the treasure that you will see in heaven.
Those believers will be friends who will welcome you to your eternal dwelling. As the dishonest manager used the master’s money to make friends and prepare for the future. So, we should be honest managers, who use the money God has entrusted to us, to see people saved who will be with us forever in eternity. Use money to win the lost.
Luke 16:10 (ESV) “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
In this verse, Jesus is showing us an important principle in using the money entrusted to us. If we’re faithful when we don’t have much money, if we give our tithes and offerings and obey God with the rest as well, then God will be able to entrust us with more, not only more money as we’ll see. If however, we are not faithful with little, we will not be faithful with more either.
Luke 16:11-12 (ESV) If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
If money is unrighteous wealth, what are the true riches? The true riches are spiritual riches, spiritual power, spiritual impact. When we’re faithful with the money God has entrusted to us, God will be able to trust us with more, both money and other blessings. Why? Because we won’t use it for our own selfish purposes, but for His kingdom.
Luke 16:13 (ESV) No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Jesus concludes this section with talking about two masters, God and money. Money can be your master, money can be your idol and it is for many people. People worship money, they think that money is their security rather than God. People’s desire for money is never fulfilled, they always want more. We must worship and serve God alone, He will direct and guide us in how to use the finances He has made us manager over.
I was fortunate in that my parent’s taught me to tithe at an early age. When I got a dime for my allowance, I would give at least one penny as a tithe. When I made ten dollars on my paper route, I would give at least a dollar to the church. When you learn to be faithful with a little, God will bless you and give you more to manage for him. The thought that I’ll begin giving God my tithe when I have enough to meet my needs will never work out. If you are not faithful with a little, you won’t be faithful if God gives you more. And usually, if you’re not faithful with a little, God will not give you more.
Take a step of faith to believe God’s Word. Begin to put him first in your finances, even though you can’t figure out how it will work. And God will meet every need you have and give you even more true riches. Use your money to serve God.
Luke 16:14-15 (ESV) The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
This teaching of Jesus was directed to the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders who loved money. Money is an idol that many people love, rather than God. Just as you cannot serve God and money, you cannot love God and money. Those who love money, exalt and honor those who are rich for their wealth. God does not put his stamp of approval on those who are rich in this world for their riches. God knows and looks at the hearts of people, rather than whether they are wealthy or not.
Money is simply a tool that can be used for good as we’ve seen today or for evil. The amount of money a person has is no reflection on their spiritual state or value. The Pharisees believed that their wealth was a blessing from God for following the law. In other words, they believed the more money they had, the more righteous they were. Jesus said that that view of money was an abomination in the sight of God. Much of the Pharisees interpretation of the Bible was in error.
Luke 16:16-17 (ESV) “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.
But Jesus wanted to make clear to the Pharisees and us that all of God’s Word is still God’s Word. All of the Old Testament still speaks to us today when properly interpreted in light of the New Testament. The good news of the kingdom, the Gospel began with the ministry of Jesus. Yet the Law and the Prophets, as Jesus calls the Old Testament will never be outdated. Jesus then moves on to correct another misinterpretation of the Old Testament by the Jewish leaders and many people today.
Luke 16:18 (ESV) “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time taught that a man can divorce his wife for any reason, but the wife could not divorce her husband. They also taught that once divorced, both man and woman could remarry. So, divorce was common in Jesus’ day as it is today. Jesus here and in the other Gospels gives the proper interpretation of God’s word on divorce.
Why would Jesus talk about divorce in the context of His teaching on money? The most common reason for divorce today is disagreement about money. Most likely, that was true in Jesus’ day as well.
From the rest of Jesus’ teaching, the only biblical grounds for divorce is adultery. And even if there is adultery, reconciliation is the best option if possible. If a man divorces his wife for any reason other than adultery, he is still married to her in God’s eyes. So if he then marries another woman, he commits adultery. Likewise, when a woman is divorced from her husband for any reason other than adultery, she is still considered married. So when if another man marries this divorced woman, he is committing adultery.
The biblical principle is that sexual activity is only permitted between a man and woman who are legally married. Every other type of sexual activity is sin. When a couple loves God and not money, they will remain married till death do them part. Irreconcilable differences is not biblical grounds for divorce. The Bible says that God hates divorce and so should we. As with other sin, God forgives those who truly repent of their sin. We must love God, not money.
Today, we’ve been talking about what God’s plan is for the money He has entrusted to us. We must understand that we are managers of God’s money and God’s possessions. Everything that we have has come from Him and has been entrusted to us to use for Him. God’s Word teaches that the first 10% of all our income, the tithe is to be given to Him through His church. He promises to bless those who faithfully give their tithe and He promises to bring a curse on those rob Him by not cheerfully giving their tithe.
The remaining 90% of the money entrusted to us is not ours to do with as we please. We are to use it according to God’s plan for our lives. We are to use money to win the lost and so layup treasure in heaven. We are to use our money to serve God in every aspect of our lives. We are to love God, seek His kingdom first, rather than put our trust in money. When we seek God’s kingdom first, He promises to bless us by meeting all of our needs.