Several years ago my wife and I went to the Youth Congress in Mexico. We were given one day for sight seeing. We went to see the tall stone, pyramid-like monuments. The King who had been buried there would never have guessed that in 1984 archaeologists would break through the last barrier to his great treasure room. His wildest imaginations would never imagine a Seventh-day Adventist pastor standing in His vault taking Kodak pictures of his personal possessions. He was trying to take it with him. Imagine lining your coffin with travelers checks.
After climbing up the steep steps to the entrance to the kings tomb, we went in. The king had accumulated a vast amount of treasure and had it all neatly stacked for his use in the future life. He had arrows, food, a boat, and gold and precious jewels. Was he a Fool? He was no more foolish than men and women today who think that THEY OWN THEIR OWN POSSESSIONS AND CAN MAINTAIN CONTROL OVER THEM. There is an old saying: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. I would like to respectfully disagree with that statement.
Consider LUKE 12:16 The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. It brought forth plentifully. I don't know what the crop was. It could have been wheat or figs or kiwis or even Okra. But his problem was that his barn was too small. If you have a bumper crop and a very small barn what do you do? What follows is what his mind told him to do.
Verse 18-------------I will TEAR DOWN my barns and build bigger ones. There will I store all my grain and my goods. End of problem. Right? Wrong!
He forgot just one thing.... the uncertainty of life.
– He was a fool NOT because he was rich and successful.
– He was a fool Not because he was Frugal & a careful planner
– He was called a Fool because he considered himself the OWNER of the goods which his farms produced.
19-he talked to his SOUL(!); "Soul, thou has much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, & be merry. He should have talked with God. Instead he consulted with himself. That night his many years shriveled into a few hours. At that point Jesus asked a question– Luke 12:20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
When you die, who will take possession of your things? Have you ever gone to an Estate Sale or an auction of someone's estate who you knew? You see the ownership of the things they valued being transferred to someone else. There is no such thing as a FUNERAL HEARSE WITH A U-HAUL TRAILER BEHIND IT.
Ownership implies control. At the best we can only control our possessions for a time. An invading army does not respect ownership. Neither do thief's, or earthquakes, floods, or fires. Today we have ZERO TOLERANCE. You might own a very expensive Yacht! The authorities if they find a fraction of an ounce of POT aboard, can seize your yacht. It becomes theirs free of charge.
Suppose you have a beautiful farm and the state decides to put a freeway through the middle of your farm. Question: Will they do it or not? YES! Their Domain is Eminent! Not yours. See if you think this statement is true: WE ONLY OWN THOSE THINGS OTHERS ARE WILLING TO ADMIT THAT WE OWN. On this earth we have conditional ownership. Only Jesus Christ can have true ownership.
Christian stewardship is really a Relationship with Jesus. And if our farmer in this parable had recognized that he was a steward and who really owned the farm he would not have talked with himself, with his own soul. Instead, his conversation might have been like this: "Lord, your FARM produced so bountifully this year under your blessing that your barn is too small to hold your harvest. Shall I tear it down and build a bigger one?
Jesus might have replied: Leave the barn alone, it is big enough. ......So what are we going to do with all this surplus? No problem. Just give it to My children who are in need. In fact, the Lord may have said something like this: I invite you to Enjoy what I enjoy,--- THE PRIVILEGE OF GIVING. Giving is a divine privilege. Giving from a heart that is in love with Jesus will produce more joy to the giver than to the receiver.
I was in Atlanta one time waiting to board the Marta. As I walked through the underground station I came upon a poor man who looked like he was wearing all the clothing he possessed. As he sat there on the floor his hand was outstretched. I put some quarters in his hand and went on. He said God Bless You Mister! I thought about that man. It is not a divine privilege to sit there against that cold wall and beg. The divine privilege is to be the one who is able to place the coins in his hand.
As humans we were given two divine privileges that God has:
1)-- To give, this is a divine privilege!
2)-- To forgive. Only God can forgive us. But we can forgive each other.
Look at Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth
What a great proof text proving that we did not evolve, but we were created in God's image. We stop right there and ignore the very reason we were created in the first place: I have given you DOMINION. We were created to have stewardship. At the rate we are destroying our old earth I doubt that we have been very good managers.
One problem is that we try to equate material things with security. The more we have the better. So we get more and more until at some point some of us come to a time when we depend upon a god we can see rather that a God we can't see. If an accumulation of material things brings happiness why are so many rich folks so unhappy.
A man wrote about the late JACKIE GLEASON. There were two Jackie Gleasons he said: The LIFE-IS-A-LARK Gleason who charmed his audiences by saying: HOW SWEET IT IS!, and the private man trying to drown his problems in alcohol.
Like Solomon, Gleason could have anything he wanted, and both could have said: all is vanity. They both had vast amounts of money. But the problem was that they did not have dominion over their possessions, their possessions dominated them. Their goods had become their gods. If you remove one of the two "o"'s from goods you have gods.
One advantage of camping is that you soon learn how many things you can get along without. In America 40% to 50% of every thing we buy is either a nonessential or luxury item.
If we truly understand stewardship we will recognize that God gives us the FREEDOM OF DEPENDENCE! We like to think that freedom is INDEPENDENCE. But that is not God's plan at all. God Planned that we should have the freedom of DEPENDENCE. In their ideal state, ADAM AND EVE had no housing problems, no clothing problems, no problems with weather, health, payments etc. It would be a strange person who wouldn't settle for such a situation today.
Then one day along came an ugly old snake in the leaves. he said, Look, God knows that the day you eat of the fruit you will be as gods, you'll be INDEPENDENT. You will not need Him. What happened? Everything went Berserk. They were evicted from their home, they had clothing problems, the weather changed, they needed band aids to deal with the thorns, Eve knew pain as she gave birth, they needed health insurance, they needed death benefits, they had big problems. They were better off when God owned it all and they were the managers.
If today you place everything you own on the alter and give the ownership to God you are better off. IF A PERSON DOESN'T OWN ANYTHING, HE IS NEVER SUBJECT TO LOSS
As a responsible, accountable steward he should take precautions to protect the investment of the Owner, but He, himself, cannot suffer loss! If you don't own it you can't lose it. JOB 1:21 Job thought that way. "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Because Job recognized Who owned everything he managed, therefore, God could trust him with 2X as much as he had before.
One day a church treasurer resigned. Finally the church asked the local grain elevator manager to take over. He agreed under two conditions: That no treasurer's report would be given for the first year. That no Questions be asked about finances during that whole 12 months.
The members were surprised but because he was known for his honesty they agreed. At the end of the year he gave the first treasurers report:
*The church indebtness of $228,000 had been paid.
*The minister's salary had been increased by 8%
*The Cooperative Program gifts had been paid 200%
*There were no outstanding bills.
*There was a cash balance of $11,252!
Immediately the shocked congregation asked: "How did you do it?" Where did all the money come from?
He quietly answered: "Most of you bring your grain to my elevator. Throughout the year I simply withheld 10% on your behalf and gave it to the church in your name. I have your receipts here. And none of you even missed it. Do you see what we could do for the Lord if we were all willing to return an honest Tithe to God, Who really owes it anyway?"
We pugnacious people have been given possessions as a test to determine whether we can MANAGE eternal things. If we can’t manage a few dollars down here, what would we do with a whole galaxy? So this test here is given so there will be no possibility that a selfish person will get into heaven.
We have the divine privilege of giving. Job could say in JOB 29:15-16 "I was father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not, I searched out"
We should look for projects to give to, and not have to wait for appeals to be made. We should consider every NEED as an OPPORTUNITY.
3T 249 says: Every Opportunity to help a brother in need, or to aid the cause of God... is A PEARL that you can send beforehand and deposit in the bank of heaven for safe keeping."
So you CAN take it with you. If opportunities come to your attention where you can contribute generously to the cause of God, those who really love Jesus will gladly give to that need.
In our parable today about the rich farmer who tore down his barns and built larger ones, the final outcome was not long in coming. LUKE 12:20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
The final verse says in verse 21 "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
It just fine to store up things for ourselves but at the same time we need to be RICH TOWARD GOD.
We make a living through what we get,
We make a life through what we GIVE!!
You can take it with you! By giving to the needs of God and His work right here we are depositing PEARLS into that vault in heaven. Unlike the Mexican Vault You will see that your deposits have gained interest and there is quite an accumulation there. It is there because when you were unselfish here. The treasure there will be in proportion and in kind as we have given here.
572 Give of your best to the Master
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