You already have a “mindset” about money. Everyone does. Some are spenders and some are savers. Some are givers and some are takers. What’s your mindset on money?
Below is an automated transcript of this message:Good morning! Let’s start this new series; it’s called, “Making Change.” We need to make some changes in our life. Of course, it’s a play on words. We’re actually gonna be talking about money. Aren’t you excited about that? Don’t you love it when they talk about money at church? I can see it on your faces right now. You are so excited.
What does it say on our currency? Does anybody have real money anymore? I mean, everybody has plastic money, but if you have actual currency, if you look at it, what’s the motto that’s on your coins and on your money? Does anybody know it? “In God we trust.” Do you know that that motto first appeared on our United States currency in the 1950’s? Did you know that it was under President Eisenhower’s administration? There was a revival in the United States following World War II that led to the declaration, the motto that we’re not going to trust in the government. We’re not going to trust in money. We’re going to trust in God.
We’re going to trust in God. This is a good way to kick off what we’re going to be talking about today. We’re talking about making change, and we’re going to begin by changing the way we think about money. This might be called a mindset, a collection of attitudes or the way we think about money. We’re talking about a new mindset; getting God’s way of thinking about money.
I have observed that so many people are so worried and so anxious; they lack joy in their life. They feel so indebted that they feel like slaves. Don’t you want to feel some freedom? Don’t you want to feel joy and peace in your life? A lot of it has to do with where you’re at financially. We’re gonna be talking about getting a new mindset today.
Here’s what Dave Ramsey says about having a money mindset. A mindset is just a set of attitudes towards something but what’s a money mindset? He says, “Your money mindset is your unique set of beliefs and your attitude about money. It drives the decisions you make about saving, spending and handling money. Your money mindset shapes the way you feel about debt, your attitude toward people who make more or less money than you, how easily you can give, your ability to invest with confidence, and more. What you believe about money, yourself and the world shapes how your life will unfold.” Dave Ramsey, as we know, is that guru that talks about money; he has a good point here on how we think about money. Money really matters.
Now, here’s the thing. Everybody in this room already has a mindset on money. What we’re going to be talking about today is, what if you had a better mindset on money? What if you had a new mindset? What if you could think about money and possessions the way God wants you to think about them? But, everybody already has a mindset.
Some of you are spenders and some of you are savers. Some of you are givers and some of you are takers. We all have various mindsets. Some of you just hate the fact that I’m talking about money at all. With that in mind, I have a couple of humorous observations to make, to help get you relaxed a little bit before I beat you up talking about money.
Here’s the first one. It’s a meme I saw on Facebook; maybe you saw it, too. You know, we’re getting that $600 stimulus check. This meme on Facebook, right after congress passed the second stimulus check, said, “Y’all getting $600. Say no more.” They have a whole row of incaps there with $600 television sets and so forth. They’re ready for your $600. They have plans for your $600 stimulus check.
Here’s an insight on money from Jerry Seinfeld. He says this, “Dogs have no money. Isn’t that amazing? ? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? .. No Pockets.” Well, we have pockets. Most of us have pockets, but we have no money. What’s the problem?
Well, it could be that you have one of these six bad mindsets on money. This is from an article named, “Six Bad Money Mindsets.” This is from a money management website. See if one of these sounds like you: (1) Living only in the now. Never really thinking about what you need tomorrow. Living only in the now. Is that you? (2) Extreme frugality. Are you a penny pincher? Being a miser with your money can lead to a lack of joy because you’re just squeezing it so hard it squeals. (3) Living outside your means. You have more month than you do money. (4) Winging it. Saying it will all work out . Doesn’t winging it sound like a lot of us, to do everything in life with no plan? (5) Hating it. I just hate dealing with it, so I just hope it works out. I hate the fact that you’re talking about it. Thank you, pastor. One of the things I’ve noticed about maturing Christians is they love talking about it because they want to follow God’s Word. It doesn’t hurt them to talk about how God wants us to manage our money. (6) Ignoring taxes. Well, you can only ignore them for so long, right? It’s better to keep it in mind before the taxman comes. The Beatles, I think, wrote something about that.
Do any of these bad money mindsets sound like yours? If so, you need to change. These are bad money mindsets.
How do you change? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about it from the parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25, where Jesus is talking to his disciples, and He talks to them about the importance of dealing with what God has entrusted to us.
Jesus teaches this parable and He says that the Master has entrusted to you resources that He wants you to use for His kingdom until He comes again. I believe that we can hear this message from this parable today. As we look, I think we’ll see three attitudes of this new mindset that we can have on our possessions and on our money and how we can be faithful.
I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Matthew 25:14 is where we will begin. Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV) 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ This is God’s word. Amen.
We’re looking for three attitudes of this new mindset of faithfulness towards our finances. Here’s the first attitude:
How to have God’s mindset of faithfulness with finances: 1. Submit to God’s authority.
I want you to look at verse 14 again with me closely and I want you to notice too possessive pronouns. One says that the master went away and he called his servants. Because they were his servants, he entrusted to them his property. That’s an insight I want us to dwell on for a moment. If you have give your life to Jesus Christ, you are not your own. The Scripture says you were bought with a price and now you belong to Him.You are His servant. You are not your own. This has something to do with the way you live in life according to your possessions, your relationships, your time, how you spend it, your talent and your treasure. If you are His, you’re the servant and He is the master. He’s the authority. Jesus is telling His disciples this parable and He is teaching them a spiritual truth about authority.
What is a parable, by the way? It comes from a Greek word, (παραβολή), which means “the placing of one thing beside another.” A simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels. By telling a story in order to illustrate another story or spiritual truth. A parable illustrates a spiritual truth.
Jesus was answering a question, strangely enough, that was asked back in chapter 20 and the early part of chapter 24. They were in Jerusalem; most of these guys were from Galilee. They’d never been to the big city and they’re looking at these buildings saying to the Lord to look at them. Wow, look at that building. These men were a bunch of fishermen living in Capernaum. Jesus told them, “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.”
They asked this question. This is in Matthew 24:3 (ESV) As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” The disciples want to know when it is going to happen.
If you look at verse 14 again, “For it will be like a man…” We have a couple of things to know. First of all, what is “it” and what is this “it” that “it will be like?” It is still answering that question from back in chapter 24 which is, “When is the Kingdom of Heaven coming and when is the Lord returning?” All of this stuff You keep talking about, when is it happening? He tells them he is talking about the kingdom of Heaven and when He returns, it will be your cue. He’s telling them now in a story to illustrate and give an answer to their question to “When will these things happen? When will the kingdom of Heaven come and when will the Lord return? That’s what they’re asking.
When you read scripture, go get the context to know what He is talking about. He says, “For it will be like a man…” What’s “it?” “It” is the kingdom of the return of the Lord. It will be like that.
Here’s something that cracks me up about this story. The disciples were just like my kids, in the back seat of the car, on the way to Virginia. Back in the day, when we first moved down here, all of our folks lived up in Roanoke or Bristol, Virginia. Every holiday, we would pack the kids up and head north. Invariably, we would barely get out of the driveway before somebody would say, “Daddy, when are we gonna get there?” “When are we gonna get there?” That’s what the disciples were doing ; “Lord, when is that going to happen?” Instead of answering their “when” question, He answers a “what” question that they didn’t ask.
Now, I don’t know about your kids but my kids never have asked a “what” question when they were growing up and neither have my grandkids. When I would take them on a trip, I’ve never heard one of them say, “Father, what would you like for us to be doing as we travel now?” I would love to have that question. I would say something like, “How about playing the quiet game.” “What’s the quiet game, Daddy?” “ It’s when you say nothing for a while. Take a nap, be quiet or count cows.” Does anybody know what that means anymore? “Look for cows. Count how many cows are on this side or that side?” No, they have ipads now. They don’t count cows anymore. But , wouldn’t it be great if your kids asked, “What would you like for me to be doing?” No. We want to know when we will get there.
The disciples were asking Jesus this question, and He told them that here is what I would like for you to be doing until I return. That’s what this parable is about. Here’s how I want you to view that which I’ve entrusted to you until I return because everything I’ve given to you, your mind and everything you have is Mine. Someday I’m coming back and I want to know what you did with your time that I gave you on this earth and with the abilities, the talents I gave you and with the treasure. He wanted to know what they did with the time, talent and treasure and with the relationships. These are considerations that I see in this parable. Another word that we might want to think about is this word, “talent.” It doesn’t mean what we think it does here. It doesn’t mean a kind of ability here. It means a measurement of money. The work, “talent,” was an ancient unit of measurement for gold and silver. It was usually formed in the shape of a huge ingot. A talent weighed 75 pounds. It was worth 6,000 denarii and represented about 20 years of income. 1 Pound of Gold = $30,495. 1 Talent = $2,287,128. (2 = $4,574,256. 5 = $11,435,640). The guy who got one talent really should not have been complaining because the master gave him $2.3 million.
Can you imagine the disciples thoughts when the Lord is telling them this story because a denarii is a daily wage. You would get one denarii for one day’s work; one talent is worth 6000 denarii or about 20 years of labor. This story is pretty grandiose. Each of these three was given these grand amounts of income to invest.
In verse 15, there’s this key. It says he did it according to each one’s ability. They were his servants; he knew one guy was a better manager than another guy, but he’s still entrusted great wealth to all of them. And then, the story says, the master went away. Is it interesting to you that he went away?
The new mindset begins here. If we don’t start here, we won’t be able to understand anything else that we will talk about over the coming weeks. This is the first move; who owns your stuff? That’s the first move. Who’s in charge of your life? Have you yet to say, Jesus, You are Lord of my life. I know a lot of us have said those words, I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I know He died for my sins and He’s my Lord. He’s the Lord of everything in my life, except I’ve got some things I am managing myself.
You may be in control of your finances. If you’re single, you are in control of your dating life. Lord, I don’t really need for You to give me advice on my dating life. I’ve got this. I’ve got my job; I went to school for that. Maybe you are like Peter was when he’d been out fishing all night long and caught nothing. You can read this in Luke, chapter five. He was out all night and caught nothing . Here comes Jesus and He asks to get on Peter’s boat. Peter lets Jesus get on his boat. Then Jesus asks if they can go out deep. Peter thinks to himself (it’s not in the text, but this is me trying to get inside of Peter’s mind,) you don’t go out in the middle of the day fishing. I mean the kind of fish we go for here in the Sea of Galilee it’s better to fish at night. I am an expert. I’m a fisherman. I went to school for this. But Jesus and Peter go deep and Peter draws in so many fish that the boat almost sinks because He trusted Jesus with His boat with His nets and with His profession. Jesus blew Peter away because Jesus was a better fisherman than Peter. He’s better at whatever you do for a living , too. He’s better at managing your money than you are.
Wouldn’t it be better to make Him the boss? If we say, He is Lord, make him Lord and mean it in the way you behave and in the way you act. That’s the shift. The first shift is to put Him in charge.
Matthew 6:24 (ESV) No one 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. Money is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. Money is neutral in terms of if you use it for good things it’s good if you use it for bad things it’s bad. It’s really up to what your attitude is towards it, isn’t it?
A lot of people misquote this next verse. Let me read it to you. 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV) “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. …” Money is not the root; it’s the love of money. If you love money rather than you love God, then it will lead you to temptation, trial and evil but if you love God first and use money and let God be the master of your financial life, it’s useful. It’s a good thing but it depends on your attitude. Do you submit to God’s authority over your stuff and do you believe? Do you recognize His ownership?
Psalm 24:1 (NLT) The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Does that include you? Absolutely. I wonder if anybody would just leave here with this simple declaration today and say God, all that I am and all that I have is Yours. If you did that today, get ready. Get ready for the adventure. All that I am and all that I have is Yours.
You see, if we believe this and we release control of our money, it actually brings great joy to our lives. We can say to God, when the car needs new tires, God, your car needs some new tires. When the kitchen faucet starts leaking, you say, God, You need to call a plumber; it’s Your sink. It’s Your kitchen. It’s Your house. It’s Your stuff. I’m being a little bit humorous about it but that shift really does happen. If it’s His, you stop worrying about it but you’re still the steward over it. Being a steward means that you’re the manager over it. You still need to call the plumber. Don’t ask God to call the plumber. I was joking a little there but you don’t have to worry about it.
One of the things that we have here is we have small groups in our church. We call them community groups. We encourage people to be hosts and to open up their house. You may say, I don’t know ; my house is too small or I haven’t cleaned my house yet this year. You know what? You are ten days in; come on. If it’s God’s house, you don’t make those kinds of excuses. You say, It’s not my house. It belongs to God. If you’re God’s people, it means “Mi Casa es Su Casa.” My house is your house. You begin to think like that; it’s a shift. It’s a new way of thinking.
Here’s what happens now because He’s in charge: Every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision because He’s the boss. Every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision. You begin to pray more about things, especially major purchases, but maybe even little ones, because it’s often the little ones that get us in trouble because little ones add up.
Mine and my wife’s spending habits are different. She makes little purchases that seem to have no significance. But they add up, and so we might have a discussion about that. We’ve been married over 41 years now, so those discussions have pretty much found themselves in the past. If they come up now, they’re more lighthearted than they might have been in the early days. But my purchases tend to be more like I don’t buy anything for a long time, and then I drop a big sum on something that she doesn’t think I need necessarily. , What’s wrong with both of our approaches is that in the past I would not really get unity with her, because if I’m following God, He’s going to want me to be in unity with my wife before I make a significant purchase. Come on, ladies, get on board that. You know, guys, we’re still scratching their heads. I got one scratching his head right here. Get unity and pray about it together. Have a meeting around the dining room table. Look at your books and say, Let’s pray about this. Can we afford this? Is this something God would want us to have? Will this be a blessing to our family, to our church family or to our neighbors? Think through things together.
People will often come for marriage counseling and they’ll say it’s money that they’re arguing over, but they’re really not arguing over money. By the way, I’ve never had somebody come and say, We’ve got too much money, we’ve been arguing about it . We just don’t know what to do with so much money. They are usually arguing because they disagree about how the other is spending their money and they don’t have enough. Well, it’s not money that they’re arguing about its failure to communicate. They’re not talking. They’re not talking to God about it. They’re not talking to each other about it. They’re not in unity with God or one another. Well, I got on that. I’ll get off of that now. Did you get the point on that one? I hope you did.
Here’s a practical tip and this one might sting a little for some that don’t understand the importance of it. But for those who have been practicing it for a while, they have felt great joy knowing that this is something that proves that you really believe. It’s one of those ways that you can prove to God that you really believe He is in charge. You really believe it.
One of the ways you could prove to God that you really believe He is in charge is to pay your tithe; to pay the first 10% of your income to the Lord. It says this in Leviticus 27:30 (ESV) “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.”The tithe does not belong to us; nothing we have belongs to us. When you give Him your tithe, you’re saying, I agree with You , God, that nothing belongs to me, and so, I’m going to give You that first part as an expression of faith.
Here’s what it says in Malachi 3:8-10 (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.” I can’t think of any place else in the bible where God says, “put me to the test.” It’s been estimated that if American church members were faithful in tithing, we could meet all of the needs,not only in their country, but probably around the world if we just had Christians to start believing that God is in authority.
Now, may I speak a word of grace to those of you that are not tithers. You might be thinking right now, Wow, I could barely pay my mortgage. I could barely pay my rent. You wouldn’t believe the bills I have. How would I ever start? Start small and, instead of just excusing yourself and saying, Lord, you know my situation. I can’t do anything, test Him in it and say, Okay, I’m going to start here. Maybe you could start at 1% this year but have this in view as you’re listening to the sermons over the next few weeks. How can I get out of debt? How can I live beneath my means so I have a surplus? How can I be faithful and really express that God is in charge of my life and He’s graceful and forgiving? I’m not trying to beat you up. I’m leading you now as your pastor in a way that I love you. I want you to know that if you get your financial house in order, you’ll experience the most peace and freedom. Come on, trust me in this. Put God in charge of your finances and your possessions. The practical tip is one way to look at this is to start being a giver to God and being faithful in your tithes. This is the first attitude. Here’s the second.
How to have God’s mindset of faithfulness with finances: 2. Follow God’s assignment.
Let’s look at Verse 14 again. We’ve already considered that we are his servants and it is His property. I want you to circle two other words here, the word, “called,” and the word “entrusted.” You’ve been called by God. If you’re His servant, He called you and He’s called you to a purpose and He wants you to live for His purpose. So you are a called people. Do you believe that? Do you believe that you’re called? Somebody’s looking at me right now, thinking, We knew you were, pastor. Well, did you know you were also called? I’m no better than you. I’m no different than you. I’m one of you. We are all called. We all have been called by Him, uniquely gifted, with unique abilities and we’ve been given different amounts.
I was looking at these three stewards and I was thinking, Okay, I get why He told the story about the faithful one that got five and I get why He told the story about the unfaithful one who got one. But why do He tell the story about the guy who got two? It seems to be redundant because he got the same reward that the first one did. Why is he in there? The more I meditated on that and thought about it, I thought maybe he is in there for me. I don’t feel like I’m that big guy that got all that and I don’t want to be the guy who was lazy and wicked. I feel like I’m that little guy that got the smaller amount but ran really hard with it. Maybe that’s why God put the middle steward in there because the middle steward got the same commendation as the one with five. The one with two got the same because God doesn’t care about your success. He doesn’t care how much you have. What He cares about is that are you faithful with whatever called with and what I’ve called you to do with it. Whatever I’ve entrusted you with, are you faithful with it? Do you use it? So don’t compare yourself to each other. Just use what He’s given you and start there. He’s entrusted it to you; in other words, He’s giving it over to you.
So let’s look at the two faithful stewards. Look at verse 16 that says, “when at once…” They got moving immediately; as soon as the master gave it to them, they went at once. They had a sense of urgency and initiative. They got started. Verse 16 says that they traded with their talents. In other words, they put them at risk; they put them to work. They didn’t bury them. They put them to work. They put them out there. Somebody here might be thinking, I’m a little scared. I’m afraid to do this. I’m afraid I’ll lose it if I put it to work or put it out there. But then, they made more. They increased.
See, that’s the principle of use. What’s the principle of use? Use it or lose it. If you use it, it multiplies. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
We can see this principle illustrated, later in the text, down to the end, when he’s talking to the wicked servant. He says in verse 29, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” For the one who has used it, more will be given. For the one who has not used it, even that will be taken away from him. So, put it to use.
It says in 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV) “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Be good stewards. What’s a good steward? It’s someone who recognizes God’s authority and ownership and follows God’s assignment to use it for His glory.
So we talked about the faithful stewards. What about that slothful steward? If you look at verse 18, you see that he went but he didn’t go at once. He just went. He just kind of “moseyed” over. I don’t know if “mosey” is a biblical word, but it seems to work here. He had no sense of urgency. He dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. So he had no initiative, no urgency, no investment and no trust. In fact, we see later that it’s revealed how he felt about God. He felt he was hard. He felt that his master was strict and cruel. Also, he lived in a world of lack. And so, instead of taking a risk and putting his time, talent and treasure out there and putting them to use, he was a miser and he buried it.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (ESV) “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” Be faithful. God doesn’t call you to be successful. He calls you to be faithful and to use what He has entrusted to you and to use it the way he called you to use it.
Andrew Murray has been quoted saying, “The world asks, ‘What does a man own?’ Christ asks, ‘How does he use it?’” I believe that is what Christ would ask. “How do you use what I’ve given to you?” Remember what He told the disciples when they asked Him what to do about the people who were on the countryside? They were hungry and there was nothing to feed them. Jesus replies, “you feed them,” and they looked at each other and said, “Lord, it would take a year’s wages to feed these people.” Jesus tells the disciples to feed them from what they have. So, Andrew, who was always so good at meeting people and bringing them to Jesus, brought a little boy with two fishes and five loaves to Jesus. Andrew asks, ”Can You use this?” Can you imagine being the little boy? He was probably thinking, That was my lunch; I came prepared. But no, he gave it to Jesus. He gave it to Jesus. That was his food. Jesus multiplied it and fed the multitude but somebody had to give it to Jesus before the multitude could be fed.
He wants you to use what you have and watch Him multiply it. Watch what he does. Astounding things. He stretches things. He sews up the holes in your pockets. Look at the Book of Haggai, chapter one, that talks about why you have holes in your pockets and how you could get them sewed up. Use it or lose it. Every spending decision is a spiritual decision.
I’m going to challenge you to take a class. The name of the class is “Financial Peace University.” You can sign up for it on the church center app. I want you to take this class. It starts on January the 21st. Go to the church center app, go to events and go down to the one that says Financial Peace University. Click on that. It will send you to the Dave Ramsey site, and you can register there. There is a cost for the class; I can’t remember how many weeks it is. You will get a booklet, a workbook, etcetera. Here, Pastor Jonathan Minter will be teaching the class on Thursday nights. At the Rocky Mount campus, Pastor Jonathan Combs will be teaching the same class on Thursday nights. Don’t come to me saying you can’t figure out how to manage your finances and you didn’t sign up from this class. Please sign up. Even if you’re good with your money right now, go learn more. One of the best ways you could show me that you’re really listening today would be to sign up for this class and start getting your financial house in order, following God’s assignment. Will you do it? Will you put your stuff into circulation the way God’s called you?
Here’s number three:
How to have God’s mindset of faithfulness with finances: 3. Seek God’s approval.
We surrender and submit to God’s authority. We follow His assignment for our stuff. He’s entrusted to us to be faithful with it, and we seek His approval. Verse 19 says, “Now after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” After a long time; he was gone for a long time. He came back and His purpose was to settle accounts. In other words, to “reckon.” There was a day of “reckoning,” to “reckon” accounts. to “Settle” accounts. He wanted to see what they did with what he had entrusted to them.
I think the application spiritually is clear. God wants to know. The day when Jesus returns, I think is clearly in view here. His believers, his followers He will settle accounts. What did you do with what I gave you? What did you do with that stuff that I’ve entrusted to you?
I would take note, first of all, in verse 21 and in verse 23 that you can see a three-part commendation was given to both of the faithful stewards; to the one who had increased from five to 10 and to the one from 2 to 4. First of all, he gave both of them God’s approval. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Oh, my goodness. Don’t you want to hear that? Well done. Well done. I would be fine if we stopped there. Well done, good and faithful servant. But he’s not finished. He gives him a promotion. “You’ve been faithful over a little, I’ll set you over much.” So, they get promoted, they get a commendation, they get approval to get promoted.
And then, he says , “Enter into the joy of your master.” In other words, they are going to have a party and he is invited. So, that’s what he said to the two who used what had been entrusted to them according to the master’s calling.
I’m going to go back to that guy who got the two talents again. He got the same deal. He didn’t come back with 10. He came back with four, which was less than the other guy started with but the master said the same thing to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’m going to trust you with much.” Can I pull out a little principle here? We talked about the principle of use. Here’s the principle of little things. If you’ll be faithful in the little things, God will entrust you with more things. A lot of us would say, That’s too little. Especially those that are called the millennial generation, that got trophies for participation. They want to get promoted the day they walk into the job. But we are to work, serve, get it done, stay at it and don’t hop around from job to job. Stay at a thing and watch what will happen if you’ll be faithful. God will take care of you. And don’t look for immediate big things. Be faithful with the little things.
God asked Moses when Moses said, “I’m not a good leader and I’m not a good speaker, he said, “What’s that in your hand?” It’s a shepherd’s staff; start with that. Let’s use that and you go lead my people of Israel. Start with what’s in your hand. Start with the little things.
The master gives the two faithful stewards this three-part commendation. Then, the slothful servant comes in saying that he is a hard man. He is harsh, cruel and merciless. He “squeezes blood from a turnip.” He doesn’t even plant things and then expectspeople to give him stuff. You can almost hear that he thinks God is unfair. He doesn’t think God is good. He views God in a negative light. And he’s probably compared himself to the other two guys. We can see his heart. We see that he sees God as unjust or even worse, capricious, that you can’t predict what God’s going to do and that He’s not a good God. So this servant was afraid and he hid.
The master’s response, in a way, is expected but then it gets unexpected as we get to the last verse, doesn’t it? We thought we were talking about this story and then it surprises us. It doesn’t surprise me that he takes the talent away from him. He can’t trust him with anything, so he takes it away from him. The fact that he gets fired doesn’t surprise me. The part of this parable that surprises me is verse 30, “And cast the worthless servant into outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Now, that surprised me. That sounded like we all of a sudden left the parable and we got to the spiritual reality of what Jesus was talking about the whole time because there’s a pearl of great price. There is that which is valued more highly than any other possession that he’s entrusted to us. His name is Jesus, and the story of Him is the gospel. And this is the greatest calling that He’s entrusted to us because when we get to heaven some day, there’s not going to be a scale of good works here and bad works there. It’s not if your good works outweigh your bad works, then you get to enter into heaven. If not, then you get to go to outer darkness. That’s not how it works because if it did work that way, your bad works would always outweigh your good works. We’re all sinners, every one of us, but Jesus’ works outweigh our bad works. He died in our place. He is the pearl of great price. He is the most valuable possession that we’ve been given. When you give your life to Him, you’ve also given your life to the gospel, which means aligning your time, talent and treasure so that the gospel is going out.
First of all, is it being applied to your life? Have you become a believer or follower of Jesus? Are you someone who has had your sins cleansed away? Are you aligning the things that have been entrusted to you so that what you have is in alignment so that others can hear the gospel? This was really what He was talking to the disciples about the whole time. I want you to align every resource I’ve given you so that you don’t hide it or bury it. Use it and use it all in alignment with My assignment and do it for My approval, not the world’s. Stop trying to keep up with the “Joneses.” Besides, the “Joneses” are in debt up to here. If you want to find a millionaire, you’ll be surprised. They’re living in a modest house and driving a used car. The people living next to the golf course with the Mercedes or the BMW with a big old house are in debt. If they lose their job, they’ll lose everything they have within six weeks. It’s always the way we look at things. We look at the outer man, but God looks at the heart. Stop trying to keep up with the world. Stop trying to live the way the world does. Live for Jesus. Seek God’s approval.
Here’s what Paul said, he says in Galatians 1:10 (ESV) “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Since I am, I’m gonna live like He’s the boss. He’s the Lord. I’m going to follow His assignment with my stuff, and I’m going to be faithful to Him and look for His approval.
First and foremost, here’s a practical tip. I’ve tried to give you a practical tip on each of these attitudes. Here’s one. I’m really going to be looking for this on social media this week, so don’t let me down. I’m sick of looking at your political posts, so stop it. I need something new from you. Something encouraging.Sometime this week, and you might not have to open the door to your closet, because some of you can’t even close the door to your closet. Go to your closet and clean it out. Get rid of stuff you don’t use anymore. If you’re in debt, try to sell it. You need to get out of debt so you could be faithful. If you are able to give it away, go on our Facebook site, “Have a need, meet a need,” post what you are giving away and you can even ask for porch pickup. Make a change. Start with your closet, then go to your garage. Simplify your life. Start small. I have given you this week’s assignment to clean out your closet and give some stuff away. stuff. Besides, you need to do that because you now have new stuff from Christmas and you don’t even have racks to hang it on yet. We’ve got so much to learn. Simplify; that’s your practical tip. Live for God’s approval but more than that, make sure that we are ones that recognize we are entrusted with Jesus and the story, which is the gospel story. Amen.
Have a new mindset; have a new attitude. Have a new attitude that God is the authority. He’s given us His assignment of how to use this stuff He’s entrusted to us. We’re seeking His applause, the applause of one not of the many.
Let’s pray, Lord, thank You for Your word. Thank You for this parable from Jesus. I pray right now, Lord, for our nation. First of all, I pray that we would really be what we’ve claimed to be on our money. That we would be a nation that would remember you; “In God We Trust.” Oh, we are broken hearted about what we’ve seen this past year. Lord, we give it to You. We do not trust in man. We do not trust in his advice nor his government. We trust You and Lord, we ask You to heal our land and bring revival, starting with us. Let it start with us in this room. Those of us that are watching online, maybe you’re here today and you need revival in your life. Would you give your life to Jesus today? Would you get the new mindset, the new attitude that comes from Him? You can pray with me right now. Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I’ve got a bad mindset about the way I’m doing stuff and I’m not happy. Lord, I give my life to you. I’m a sinner. I know You died on the cross for me and that You were raised from the grave and live today. Come and live in me. I surrender my life to you. I call you my Lord and my Savior. Everything I am and everything I have is Yours. If you pray that prayer, believing, the Lord Jesus will save you and make you a child of God and you can begin to follow Him and talk to Him. Others are here today and there’s some stuff out of alignment today. This Word has led you to a place of confession. Would you confess it right now? Lord, I need to give you this. I took it back, but I want to give it back to you. Lord, I repent that I tried to take charge in this area. I want to bring everything in my life into alignment with Your will. I want Your approval, Lord. Someday I want to hear You say, Well done, good and faithful servant. We pray it in the name of Jesus. Amen.