Do you run out of money before you run out of month? Do you get anxious about your debts, how you will pay them? As Ben Franklin said, “He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.” Are you experiencing the sorrow of out of control spending and indebtedness?
Wouldn’t you like to know how to manage your finances, so that you are able to get out of debt, meet your families needs and be more generous with God and others? In the book of Luke, Jesus taught his disciples a parable to illustrate how to wisely manage money and possessions with an eternal perspective. We can wisely manage our money and possessions with an eternal perspective.
Below is an automated transcript of this message:Hi, let’s continue our series entitled, “Making Change.” Today, we’ll be talking about a new management. Last week, we talked about getting a new attitude, a new mindset about managing your finances; getting a mindset like the Bible teaches us to have. Today, we’ll be talking about new management, so a lot of us need to do that. We need to declare new management over our stuff. And so, we’ll be talking about that today from the scriptures.
Have you ever heard this cliché, “Money talks?” I was talking to someone recently and they said, Yeah, it’s true, money talks. The problem is, my money always says goodbye. My money is always telling me goodbye. What’s your money saying to you? Are a lot of you saying the same thing? My money is saying goodbye. Do you run out of money before you run out of month? You have that problem where you have more month than you do money. Maybe it’s because you’re in debt. Maybe it’s because you’ve bought more than you can afford. Your expense circle is bigger than your income circle and it’s just not working out.
Ben Franklin said, “He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.” Have you experienced the sorrow of being in too much debt; being “up to your ears” in debt? Wouldn’t you like to get out of it? Wouldn’t you like to find the peace and joy of living within your means, being able to enjoy life and not being worried about stuff all the time? That’s really what I think God wants for you. He wants you to learn to manage the stuff He’s entrusted to you His way.
We’re going to look at another parable today. Last week, we looked at the parable in Matthew, given by Jesus, which was the parable of the talents. Today, we’re going to be dealing with a parable that many have considered to be one of the hardest parables to understand in the whole bible. Get your seat belts on; we’re going to dig into that one.
This parable is what some have called the parable of the shrewd manager. Some have titled it the parable of the unjust steward. It’s a difficult parable to understand unless you read it in context; then, it gets to be really obvious.
In the book of Luke, Jesus uses this parable to teach wise money management to His disciples and how they should manage their money with eternal perspective. I believe we can have that same perspective, that we can manage what God’s entrusted to us with a view towards eternity.
As we look at the text, I think we’ll see three principles for wisely managing our money and possessions with an eternal perspective. Are you ready? Get your seatbelts on! Let’s look at this parable in Luke, Chapter 16, beginning in verse one. Luke 16:1-13 (ESV) 1 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. 2 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.’ 3 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. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 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 and write eighty.’ 8 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. 9 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. 10 “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. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 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.” This is God’s Word. Amen.
We will be talking today about three biblically wise management principles. Here’s the first one.
1. Know your current financial condition.
Knowyour current financial condition. One of the most thrilling parts of going to the doctor’s office is when they first call your name. You leave the waiting room and you walk in and the nurse says to you, “Please step on the scale.” I’ve noticed. if I’m coming in behind a woman, the woman is kicking off her shoes and emptying her pockets. All I have is my smartphone in my pocket. That’s the first thing you do when you get to the doctor’s office; he wants to check your vitals. What do you weigh? What’s your blood pressure? What’s your heart rate? These things are checked. It doesn’t matter if you went there because you have a cold or the flu or whatever. They’re going to go through all of your vitals because they need to know your current physical condition before they can really offer any help.
This is the first step to get your house in order. First of all, you need to know what kind of situation you’re in. If we look at this text, we can see as this story begins that that’s what happens here. The manager calls him in and says, I need you to give an account. You need to give me an appraisal of your current situation because I’ve heard that you’re wasting my money. You’re wasting my stuff. That’s the charge right now.
If you look at verse one, where it says, “He also said to the disciples, that means he said something else earlier. This is in continuity with something previous. So, we have to dial back to chapter 15. What was he saying before? Well, he was telling another parable in chapter 15.
This parable was called the parable of the Prodigal Son. You know this parable, This parable is about the prodigal son, going to his father and asking for his inheritance before his father dies. He wastes his father’s inheritance; he wastes the inheritance that was entrusted to him. What’s this parable about? It’s about a manager who wastes that which had been entrusted to him. So can you see what’s going on here contextually.
This parable is odd because it’s basically commending a dishonest servant not for his dishonesty but for his shrewdness, which is another way of saying he was commended for his wisdom and how he managed with a view to the future. So it’s an odd parable, but in context, it’s about not wasting what God has given you. Instead, be wise with it so that you have a view towards eternity. If you want to really get the thesis, the theme or the meaning, look at verse eight. The master commended the dishonest manager. Jesus is not commending that you should be dishonest. He’s commending him for his shrewdness. This is for the sons of this world who are shrewd in dealing with their own generation. You often see this in the world that people in the world often know how to manage their stuff. Strangely enough, then Christians do at least they know how money works better than some of us do. And so, Jesus says that.
Then, in verse 9, it says “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.” So this guy was trying to get a houseafter his master kicked him out. If you were a manager or a steward in those days, it usually included room and board. When he gets fired, he’s going to lose his house and so he had a view of making friends. They’ll invite me into their homes. Jesus is applying it and saying that you should use money so that has an eternal impact on your eternal home.
What is unrighteous wealth? If you look at verse nine, he refers to unrighteous wealth a couple of times. Many translations today will say worldly wealth, which seems to be in contrast with that which would be eternal or spiritual wealth. He says to learn how to use worldly wealth before you can be entrusted with spiritual wealth.
Let’s look at the manager. He’s been accused of wasting his master’s possessions in verse two, where he calls him to an account. Then, in verse three, the manager starts talking to himself. Do you ever talk to yourself? When you talk to yourself, you talk back to yourself. Sometimes I have conversations with myself. This manager had a conversation with himself; that’s really the first point to know your current financial condition. You need to have a conversation with yourself.
If you’re married, you need to have a conversation with your spouse. Remember, the Bible says, when you become one, you need to have a conversation and say, What kind of condition are we in? Remember what we teach about this? We say, “Admitting your feeling is the beginning of healing.” You must admit the situation you’re in before you can make progress.
What does he say here in verse three? The manager said to himself, What shall I do? Okay, I’m in a bad situation. I’m about to get fired here. He appraises his physical situation. He says he’s not strong enough to dig. Do you see that? I like that part.
That reminds me so much of Uganda. We have a partnership with Pastor George Mybonye, in Uganda; we’ve gone over there many times. Many of you know who I’m talking about. Many of you have visitedn there. I remember the first time I went to Uganda. I said to Pastor George, So it looks like pretty much everyone here has a little garden. He says, Yes, this is true. I responded, Even if you’re a pastor, you’re still a farmer, too, in order to make ends meet. Then Pastor George replied, Oh, no, we’re not wealthy enough to be farmers. I said, What do you mean? You’ve got a garden. He said to me, Oh no, we’re not farmers. Only rich people have farms. We dig. That’s what he said. So, after I visited around, I realized what he was saying. They don’t have a horse with a plow or a mule. They certainly don’t have a tractor. They’re out there in the garden with a hoe. Part of the problem is they live in the mountains, called the Virunga Mountains, which have these extinct volcanoes. The soil is so black and fertile, that if you just throw a seed on the ground, something pops up. But the ground is, also, full of these volcanic rocks. Every garden plot has a little wall of these rocks around it, where the digger has been out there digging, has hit a rock and has carried it over to the side and put it on the wall. It would probably break a plow to try to plow in the soil there. They dig.
The manager, in this parable, says he’s not strong enough to dig. This looks like hard work; digging is hard work. He then makes a sort of psychological self appraisal. He says he’s ashamed to beg. In other words, he’s too proud; that was a quick appraisal. Here’s his condition; he’s about to get fired. He’s too weak to dig, and he’s too proud, but he knows how to do something else. He knows how to use his master’s money to win friends and influence people and for them to invite him into their house. Here’s what the Bible teaches. This is the first principle. Know your current financial condition. Here’s what Proverbs 27:23 (ESV) says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.” Know your situation. Some of you may say, I don’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss. But this is not for long, because payday is coming someday and you’ll have to give an account someday. Most of us find out the hard news every April 15th, don’t we? Know your current financial condition. This is what the Bible teaches. Know the situation of your household, of your finances and of your possessions.
When’s the last time, married couple or family, that you had a family meeting? You actually sat down and talked about where you are at as a family? One of things we do as a church family is every December we have a members meeting and we give reports to the members. One of the reports we give the members is a balance sheet. Do you know what a balance sheet is? It’s when you report your assets and liabilities; this is what you own and what you owe. Hopefully, when you take what you owe from what you own it’s a positive number at the bottom. That’s what you’re hoping for; it’s called your net worth .
I remember , when I first got married, my wife and I, who have now been married over 41 years, lived in a house on wheels called a mobile home. Ours was a 12 x 55 little house; we lived there in a place called Rustic Village Trailer Park. We used to call it “Rusty” Village Trailer Park. That’s where we lived. The first time we did a net worth statement, I said, Let’s do a balance sheet. We worked it all out and it was kind of depressing. It was a negative number. How is that possible? It’s when you owe more than you own. Often, we start out that way. If you’re a young person and you are just married, maybe you start out that way. What you hope for is that, at least you know what you own and what you owe. That’s a balance sheet.
Here’s another document. You should know your income and expenses. Go back and look over the last three months and look at how much you make you and your wife added together. If you’re married or if you’re single, look at your income. Then, look at what you’ve spent and then look for an average of how much you spend on certain categories such as household needs, electricity utilities, etcetera. What did you spend on your car, what were your medical expenses, what did you spend on personal clothing? Have an income and expense worksheet. What you’re doing is you’re finding out the condition that you’re in and then you talk about it.
People come for marriage counseling to our church and one of the first problems they’ll present to us is they will say they are fighting over money. They’re never fighting because they have too much money. They’re always fighting because they don’t have enough money. But it doesn’t take long for me to find out that they’re not really fighting over money. They’re fighting over a lack of communication; it’s not about a lack of money. but a lack of communication . They are not talking and he says she spends too much, she says he spends too much. It’s “he, she” back and forth instead of looking at the problem. The problem is, they’re not talking. They’re not creating these two reports I’m talking about and talking about them and really knowing.
Here’s your take-home assignment today. Have a family meeting. If you’re a single person, have a conversation with yourself and look over your stuff. Really take it seriously. Remember, it belongs to the Master; it belongs to Him. That’s your application on this first principle. The first principle is to know what situation you’re in.
Here is the second principle:
2. Make a financial plan with godly counsel.
Look at verse four. You’ll see that the manager says he has decided what to do. He’s come up with a plan. It doesn’t take him long. He came up with it pretty quick He has come up with a plan. He didn’t get any godly counsel. He followed his own counsel. We will see how that goes, but still, he came up with a plan.
Look at verse 4, “I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.” I won’t be homeless and maybe they’ll offer me a job. So he’s starting to plan for the future, and his plan is kind of dishonest. Remember, the parable is teaching us about being wise with what the master is entrusted to us with a view towards eternity.
Being dishonest is not what the parable is teaching. This is what makes the parable challenging to understand. It just so happens that all of us, though if we’re honest with ourselves, are often dishonest with our stuff and we’re often dishonest towards God. So, Jesus has given us a parable that maybe we can relate to.
What is the manager’s strategy; what is this plan? Here’s the plan, he is going to go to his master’s debtors. He is going to go to the ones who owe his master. He is summoning his master’s debtors. In verse five, he said to the first, “How much do you owe?” And that first one said, “100 measures of oil.” This would have been olive oil. Probably the master was one that maybe was in the business of selling. Or maybe he used the oil. This person over here probably owns an olive tree business and he makes olive oil. But he probably needed some up front money in order to pay his servants and do the job. Farmers often will do that to this day. They will borrow some money with a view towards paying it back when the harvest comes in. So this man says, I need 100 measures of oil. And this guy says, Okay, can you front me some of the money? And he does. And so now I owe the master 100 measures of oil. Some translations, say 100 baths. A bath is an amount; 100 baths of olive oil is around 800 gallons. This is 800 gallons of olive oil. By the way, olive oil is so useful. You can use it for lighting or on your food. It’s very healthy.
I remember when my wife and I spent some time in the Middle East. We came home with olive oil. It’s everywhere there. It has all kinds of different textures, colors and flavors, depending on the location. It’s very valuable. This man owed 800 gallons of olive oil. The manager says to him, Let me see your bill. Let’s make it a 50% mark off. You only owe 400 gallons. Now you only owe 50 measures. It’s a 50% mark off. How is he doing this? He’s cheating the master out of it.
Some have tried to think through this parable. Maybe, he was cutting his own commission. No, he’s dishonest, the parable says. He’s dishonest. He’s shorting the master, but he’s making friends with this guy. With the next guy, he asks, How much do you owe? He tells him that he owes the master 100 measures of wheat, which is about 100 bushels. How much is in a bushel? It’s a lot. He marks it down 20%. I don’t know why there was less margin there. I don’t know what it was. Hopefully, the two guys weren’t standing next to each other because they would compare. He probably has these guys in different rooms. The manager goes through all of his master’s debtors, and he marks the bills down. Why? He’s using the master’s money to win friends with people so they’ll invite him into their homes when he gets fired. That’s why he’s doing it. That’s his plan.
What’s your plan? What’s your plan for your stuff? Do you have a budget? Some of you have this look on your faces of Oh, I hate that word. It’s because your money keeps saying goodbye to you. Get a budget so that you will be commended for your wisdom. Come up with a plan . That’s all the budget is; it’s a plan.
It says in Proverbs 21:5 (ESV) “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” So, you need a plan; make a plan and make it with godly counsel.
Let me give you four quick steps. If you have your notes, if you have your bulletin, you’ll see that I gave you places to fill these in. I’m gonna go through them quickly. (1) Seek wise counsel. You might be saying, Oh, it’s my money. No. Go find somebody that has wise counsel that follows the Lord’s way of managing your money and get somebody to look at your books with you. But I don’t want anybody to see my books. Well, see, that’s part of your problem. Go ahead and get some counsel. You can sign up for Financial Peace University. Don’t be saying, I don’t know how to manage my money and you didn’t sign up for Financial Peace University. It’s on our Church Center app. Sign up for it. It starts this Thursday. You need to sign up. We are teaching it at both campuses. The Rocky Mount campus is teaching it, and so is our Wilson campus. So please sign up. Here’s what it says in Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” So get wise counsel. (2) Set God pleasing goals. You’ll have two categories of goals at least. You have short term goals and long term goals. God wants you to take care of your family. He wants you to be generous, and so you start setting goals. Set short term goals. Live within your means and live with them . Stop spending more than you make. That’s a good goal. Some of you will have a hard time; that first one is going to be hard because you’ve been living beyond your means which is why you keep going deeper and deeper into debt. The next goal is to start a savings account. Put some money in it; that would be the next thing. If you don’t have a certain amount of money in the account, under a certain minimum, they start taking your savings like you’re loaning to them and they charge you for it. Start saving. Start tithing. We talked about this last week. If you’re in a place where you’re tithing, giving a portion of your income to the Lord, then that’s a short term goal. Some of you might be thinking, Man, I’m in so much trouble. It’s okay. Start with 1%, go to 2%, go to 3% as you can grow. Start there. Be generous.
What else will be a short term goal of getting out of debt? Start paying off credit cards; credit cards are the worst. It’s a consumer debt. You use your credit card to go buy a meal somewhere, and you’ve digested the meal in less than 24 hours. It is barely a memory. But then, the bill comes in at the end of the month. Then, you say, What in the world? I’m paying interest on a meal I ate last month. Consumer debt is the worst. Get out of that. Those are short term goals.
Maybe you’re a young person. You haven’t bought a house yet, so start saving money for your down payment. That’s a more long term goal. Retirement , college for your kids are long term goals. Start setting God pleasing goals. Galatians 1:10 (NLT) “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Set goals.
Here’s what is shifting: instead of your money telling you where it went, you’re starting to tell your money where to go. Let’s set some goals and then prioritize those goals to what is most important?
This is what I taught my kids and I still try to live by today. It’s very simple. I need simple; I don’t know about you. (1) Pay God first, (2) pay yourself second and (3) live off of the rest. I found that I could live off the rest better than I could live off the whole, if I pay God first, pay myself second and live off of the rest. I will live better.
What do I mean by paying God first? Pay your tithes; be generous. Pay yourself second means putting money in your savings account; that way, you don’t have to hit the credit cards when an emergency comes. Live off of the rest. You’ll live better off of the rest than you will off of the whole.
Pay yourself first and pay yourself second would be the dishonest manager. Proverbs 24:27 (ESV) “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” This proverb is teaching to get your business in order before you start trying to buy a house or build a house. Make sure you have income before you purchase a house.
Is there anybody in the house (don’t raise your hand but you know who you are) house poor? You bought your dream house and now you can’t afford to buy groceries, right? Be careful with going after some big dream and then there is no joy and you wonder, Oh, what have I done? Be brutally honest with yourself and say, Maybe I need to sell this house. Maybe I need to downsize. Maybe I need to get my house in order so I can experience the freedom and joy that God promises me. Prioritize.
Then, finally, make a monthly budget. Set your plans, according to wise counsel; set your goals and your priorities. Luke 14:28 (ESV) “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” So, count the cost, come up with a with a budget and start telling your money where to go and organize it.
We teach Dave Ramsey’s seven baby steps to taking control of your money. Let me just give you the first two. You must take the course to get the next five. Here’s the first one: (1) Establish an emergency fund of $1000. The reason you start here, rather than paying off debt, is because the minute you have an emergency, you’ll hit your credit cards again. You need your emergency fund first of $1000. That seems to be the amount that can handle most emergencies.
Now I have kind of a “bone to pick” with the Ford Motor Company. I don’t know. I just wanted to take a second to share this with you. It’s not my notes, but it just kind of popped in my head. There’s a conspiracy with the Ford Motor Company. I drive a big Ford, and every time, it seems to me, that they need $600 or they hear that I recently got $600, that light comes on in my dash with the picture of the motor on it. My car is running well; there seems to be nothing wrong with my car, but that light is bugging me. So, I go and ask, Can you all tell me why this lights on? They tell me, Yeah, you need to pay $600 because you got some pollution device or something that’s not working. I’m telling you, Mark my words every time they need $600. They hit a button down there at that place, and that light comes on in my Ford. I’m being a little bit facetious. Some of you are taking notes on that right now. The pastor said, Don’t buy a Ford. That’s not what I said. What I’m saying is things are funny sometimes; you need $600 and out of the blue. And if you don’t have an emergency fund, you’ll hit your credit card. Start there; that’s the first baby step. Have an emergency fund.
The second step is this, (2) Pay off your debt. Dave Ramsey gives a way of paying off debt; he calls it the “debt snowball.” Let’s say you have five debts and the smallest one is for $400 and the biggest one is, maybe, $15,000. He says to start with the little one. A lot of us think we should start with the big one; we should start with the one that has the highest interest. No, start with the smallest one and pay the minimums on all the others. Pay as much as you can on the little one. When it’s paid off, you’ll just feel like you’ve succeeded. You will say to yourself, Oh , I pay one off! Then, take the money you were paying on it and put it on the next one. Then pay that one off and then put the money you’re paying on that one and put it on the next one. Little by little, you’ll pay off the whole thing. It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill, little by little. You’ll get out of debt and you won’t believe how you’ll feel. You’ll say, I feel free. The Bible teaches that if you’re in debt, you’re in slavery to the deed. So, don’t get in debt, and if you do, pay it off.
John Wesley, a preacher from a couple 100 years ago, said, “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” This is a good goal. Money is not evil, but the love of money is; make sure you use money for God’s work. Do you have a budget? Have you had a family meeting? These are practical tips. Get a budget, have a family meeting, even if it’s with yourself. Make a plan.
Here’s the third principle:
3. Faithfully work your financial plan.
Know your condition, make a plan to change where you’re headed and then work it. Work the plan. I used to manage drugstores for a company called the Eckerd Drug Corporation. For years, I managed drugstores. One of the things I used to do is I would visit the different stores where I was a district manager. That’s how I ended up in Wilson, North Carolina. I was transferred down here and ran the Eastern North Carolina stores from Raleigh to the coast. One of the things I would do, is I would visit with a manager or with the department, and I would walk through their department and give them a work list, a work plan. I would say, Now, when I come back, I want to see that you’ve accomplished these things. I would say this, It’s important to plan your work and then work your plan. Some employees would look at me and say, That’s a long list. I would say to them, Use the “swiss cheese theory.” Poke holes in it, do one thing and do another thing, and then do another thing. Eventually you’ll eat the whole cheese. I had this person that worked for me, her name was Brenda. Apparently, I had said this so much that she made me a paperweight. If you ever visit me in my office, it’s on my desk. To this day, I’ve had this thing 40 years. It says, Plan your work, work your plan, plan your work, work your plan, plan your work, work your plan. Plans are useless if you don’t work them.
Let’s look at verses 10 through 13; you’re going to see a repetitive word here. The word is “faithful.” After he tells the parable, in verses 10 through 13, Jesus then begins to apply the parable with certain proverbial principles. He’s already given the parable; He’s moved on from the parable. Don’t waste what God’s entrusted to you; manage it well and manage it with a view of eternity. Then, He gives you these proverbs; He talks about faithfulness because here’s what God cares about. He doesn’t care about whether or not you’re successful. He cares about whether you’re faithful. You can’t control success anyway, but you can say something about being faithful. Work your plan, work what God has give you to work, work hard and be faithful. This is what God teaches.
Colossians 3:23 (NLT) “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Work for the Lord; do it for Him. I don’t know who you say your employer is; I understand there are three top employers in Wilson County. The number one employer in Wilson County, the last time I looked at it, was the city of Wilson. The number two employer, I think, might be a tie somewhere between Bridgestone and BB & T. I haven’t looked at it lately, but those were the top three employers. Rather than saying, I work for BB&T, Colossians 3:23 says it is the Lord who I work for. He sends the money through BB&T (which I think has the new name, “Truist.”) Whoever you work for, you are, you are actually working for the Lord. Work hard, work willingly and heartily.
The Bible teaches to work hard in Proverbs 6:6-11 (NLT) 6 “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! 7 Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, 8 they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? 10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” Work hard and lay up for the winter so that you have something planned for the future.
I was watching the news this past week and they were talking about Mark Jacobson and his classic car collection. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He was well known for making these really humorous TV commercials. The owner of Mark Jacobson, Toyota and Durham, started out as a a car salesman when he first got married living in a little apartment in New York. He was very good at sales and was good at saving his money. He loved to work and he loved cars. Before long, he made enough money to buy his own dealership. He bought this dealership in Durham. He had such a hard work ethic. It was reported that he so much loved the car business that he was a passionate car collector, especially classic cars from the seventies. Can I get a witness? Does anyone here love those muscle cars from the seventies? I love them and he did, too.He grew up in that same time period that I and some of you have, too. He started collecting these cars. He hired a second guy who worked on his classic car collection. He built himself a place to store these cars so he could go in and look at him and keep them in a perfect environment so that once they were restored, they would stay beautiful. He started getting a vision for this. He was going to call it “The Mark Jacobson Dream Machine Museum.” In 2020, they were getting ready to open the museum and then covid it and they had to delay opening it. And then before the summer was over, Mark, who was in his seventies, passed away. The museum never opened. He had made wonderful, grand plans for it.
There’s nothing wrong with owning cars. In fact, I was looking through the list. You can go online and look through the list. There’s some good ones there. I was looking for what I wanted; a 1972 Dodge Charger Special Edition. That’s what I was looking for, not that I could afford one. I just wanted to look because that was the car I had when I was a teenager. Remember that commercial on TV where the old man is celebrating a birthday and his sons take him out in the front yard. There’s the old pickup truck that he’d always told them about. They bought it for him. Here. Dad; here’s the keys. Every time that commercial comes on, I say, There you go, boys. I want a 1972 Dodge Charger Special Edition. Have you ever looked up the price of one of those cars? Oh, man, they’re very expensive.
Here’s the thing about Mark; He loved cars. There’s nothing wrong with that but the Lord took him home. He never got to see his museum. Yesterday, by the way, they shipped all of those cars to Florida ; people flew in from around the world. Yesterday was the auction. People wanted those cars that he had restored, but he never lived to see his museum.
No one knows when God will call them home. How do you manage your stuff? They say. “you can’t take it with you.” You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul, do you, but you can send it on ahead. Did you know that you could send it on ahead ? You can do that by managing your stuff God’s way and by having your eye on eternity and thinking about how you manage your stuff and being wise with it.
Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Where’s your heart? Wherever you treasure is, that’s where your heart is. Whatever you have a love and passion for is where your heart is.
Do you remember how this parable closes? Jesus says, in verse 13, “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.” Now listen. Money makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. It shouldn’t be “use God and serve money.” It should be “serve God and use money.” If you put God first, if you serve God, then you’ll use money according to the way He teaches. You’ll take care of your family, and, if you’ll do it the way He wants you to, you’ll be taken care of.
Look at some of these principles . In verse 10, “If you’re faithful in little, then then you’ll be faithful in much.” In other words, trust Him with the little; use what little He’s given you. A lot of people say, When I win the lottery, preacher, I’m gonna do this. I’ve had people come to me and ask, Would you pray for my lottery ticket? No, I’m not anointing your lottery ticket. Don’t be coming to me with lottery tickets. If the Lord lets me win this lottery. I’ll give part of it to the church… like you’re negotiating with God so you could go gamble. Come on, Christian. Listen to me. Be faithful with what you have, what little you have.
Remember what God said to Moses? God called him; I want you to go deliver My people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses says, You are talking to the wrong guy. I’m a shepherd. I don’t speak well. I’m not a good leader. I’m out here hiding cause I murdered a guy, okay? Don’t call me. What does God say to him? Who made man his mouth? I can help you speak. Moses just kept making excuses. Finally, God said to Moses, What’s that in your hand? Moses replies, It’s a shepherd’s staff. Let’s use that. Let’s use whatever is in your hand, I will take that and use it for what I’ve called you to do.
Christian, what little God has put in your hand, be faithful with it. Then, He’ll trust you with more. Start where you are. Stop thinking, Oh, if I had this, then I could do that. No, what do you have now? Be faithful with it. Take an honest appraisal of where you are, make a plan and then start working and be faithful. Be faithful with what God’s entrusted to you.
Jonathan Swift said this, “A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.” Use your head, but don’t wrap your heart up in stuff. It’s all temporary. Plan your work; work your plan. Work hard. Come up with a plan.
As we close today’s message, maybe you’ll go home today and say, I’m under new management. My stuff’s under new management. I have a new master. Who’s in your heart? Do you have the Lord Jesus at the center of your life? Have you made Him the master of your life? That includes your stuff. It makes it a lot easier when it breaks down. As I told you last week, if your car breaks down, you give it to God. It takes the stress out of it. God, you need to help me with this car that belongs to you. This house, it belongs to you. Your sink is broken, Lord. You probably should call a plumber . You know, it eases everything up If you give it to God and make Him the master. Are you with me? Have a new mindset and a new management. Let’s close with these thoughts as we pray.
Lord, give us a new heart. Is there someone here today, Lord, that has never received You as Lord and Savior? I know You’re knocking on their heart’s door right now. That’s what’s happening to you, my friend. That’s Who’s wooing you and calling to you. It’s the Lord Jesus. He’s present in this place. Maybe you’re watching from home. He’s the one that is calling you to Himself. Would you answer? Would you listen to Him? He wants to be the Master and Savior of your life. You can let Him into your life and make Him Lord of your life by talking to Him right now in prayer. Pray like this, right where you are, wherever you are. Whether you’re here in person, watching from home or watching online somewhere else. Pray like this, Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I’ve been trying to manage everything my way and my life is a mess. I need You, Lord. I need a Savior. I believe You died on the cross for my sins and that You were raised from the grave. Come and live in me. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. I want to be a child of God. I turn my whole life, all that I have and all that I am, over to You. I pray that you would be my Lord and Savior. If you’re praying that right now, believing in your heart, the Lord will save you and He will be your Master. Others are here and you’ve prayed that prayer. You believe in Jesus and you have Him in your life, but you’ve been holding back areas of your life. Often, its finances that we hold back. Would you give your finances and your possessions, your time, your talent and your treasure to Him right now and say, Lord, forgive me. I give it all to you. If He’s not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all. Turn it all over to Him now. We do this now, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.