Interestingly, after writing the blog, giving and going, someone sent me this sermon by John Wesley.. written a long while ago.. seems that some things never change. Would that Jesus could move our hearts permenantly to trust and obey… neil
John Wesley’s Sermon No. 44 (Abridged)
“The Use of Money”
The right use of money is of the utmost importance to the Christian, yet it is a subject given too little attention. Wealth has often been regarded by poets and philosophers as a source of evil and yet the fault lies, not with money, but with those who use it. Indeed, money should be regarded as a gift of God for the benefits that it brings in ordering the affairs of civilization and the opportunities it offers for doing good. In the hands of God’s children, money is food for the hungry, clothing for the naked and shelter for the stranger. With money we can care for the widow and the fatherless, defend the oppressed, meet the need of those who are sick or in pain.
It is therefore most urgent that God’s people know how to make use of their money for his glory. All the necessary instructions can be condensed into 3 simple rules:
* GAIN ALL YOU CAN
* SAVE ALL YOU CAN
* GIVE ALL YOU CAN
Luke 16:1-14 [NLT], “Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’
The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’
So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’
The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’
So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’
‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man.
‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply.
‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’
Now here’s a surprise: The rich man praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior. [MSG]
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him.”
* GIVE ALL YOU CAN
Observing the first two rules is far from enough. Storing away money without using it is to throw it away. You might just as well cast your money into the sea as keep it in the bank. Having gained and saved all you can, then give all you can.
Why is this? You do not own the wealth that you have. It has been entrusted to you for a short while by the God who brought you into being. All belongs to him. Your wealth is to be used for him as a holy sacrifice, made acceptable through Jesus Christ.
If you wish to be a good steward of that which God has given to you on loan the rules are simple enough. First provide sufficient food and clothing for yourself and your household. If there is a surplus after this is done, then use what remains for the good of your Christian brothers and sisters. If there is still a surplus, then do good to all people, as you have the opportunity. If at any time you have a doubt about any particular expenditure, ask yourself honestly:
1. Will I be acting, not as an owner, but as a steward of the Lord’s goods?
2. Am I acting in obedience to the word of God?
3. Is this expense a sacrifice to God through Jesus Christ?
4. Do I believe that this expense will bring reward at the day of resurrection?
If you are still in doubt, put these questions as statements to God in prayer: “Lord, you see that I am going to spend this money on … and you know that I am acting as your trusted steward according to your design.” If you can make this prayer with a good conscience then you will know that your expense is right and good.
These, then, are the simple rules for the Christian use of money. Gain all you can, without bringing harm to yourself or neighbor. Save all you can by avoiding waste and unnecessary luxuries. Finally, give all you can. Do not limit yourself to a proportion. Do not give God a tenth or even half what he already owns, but give all that is his by using your wealth to preserve yourself and family, the Church of God and the rest of humanity. In this way you will be able to give a good account of your stewardship when the Lord comes with all his saints.
I plead with you in the name of the Lord Jesus, no more delay! Whatever task is before you, do it with all your strength. No more waste or luxury or envy. Use whatever God has loaned to you to do good to your fellow Christians and to all people. Give all that you have, as well as all that you are, to him who did not even withhold his own Son for your sake.