If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:
CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” [This request, in context, seems hopelessly petty. Jesus has been encouraging the crowd to be fearless and faithful witnesses even in the face of persecution].
[Jesus’ response is terse and to the point] Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” [Jesus clearly rejects the role of judge in such disputes. He has not come to settle matters of inheritances. With this in mind, Jesus issues a warning].
Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
[To illustrate, He follows with a parable].
Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
[And then Jesus makes sure they get the point of His parable by explaining it].
Then, turning to His disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”Luke 12:13-34
As an old penny pincher who had no friends was about to die, he called his pastor, his doctor, and his lawyer to gather at his bedside. “I have always heard you can’t take it with you when you go, but I want to disprove that theory. There’s $90,000 under this mattress and just before they throw dirt on me, I want you each to toss in an envelope with $30,000 in it.”
At the cemetery, as the workers begin to throw dirt on the man’s casket, the pastor threw his envelope in first, and said, “I confess, I need $10,000 for my new church so I am only putting in $20,000.”
The doc same here, “Me too, I need $20,000 for a new clinic.”
The lawyer looks at them both, sadly shakes his head, and says, “Gentlemen, I’m surprised, shocked and ashamed of you. I don’t see how you could dare go against our client’s final wishes. I’m throwing in my personal check for the full amount.”
I guess the moral of that story is: If you are going to try and take it with you when you go, don’t trust the job to your layer, your doctor, or even your pastor.
For sure, the rich man in the story Jesus told was proactive about retirement planning. If Jesus were telling the story today He might say that the man’s IRA’s, 401K’s, and stock portfolio were so plenteous that he needed to find some other investment vehicle to expand his wealth so that he too could sit back and say, “I have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry” (12:19).
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’” (12:20).
Jesus wants His listeners, then and now, to see that there is a much more important aspect of planning for the future, what I’m calling ‘expire-ment planning.’ It asks whether we are ready to expire, not retire.
What might this expire-ment planning involve?
First, recognizing that God is the owner of everything we have.
Jesus said, “Life is not measured by what you own” (Luke 12:15). And he referred to the miser in this story as a fool because he acted as if he were the sole owner of the possessions in his barns. He was not aware or didn’t want to accept that they were on loan to him.
But Jesus was raised on Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.”
Well if God is the owner what does this make us? And the answer, according to the scriptures, is we are ‘stewards.’ A steward is one who is entrusted with the goods of another.
The name on the title of my car is John Randall K’Meyer, but Biblically speaking that is not true. I wonder what they would say if I went to the Medina County Courthouse and requested that they issue me a new title with God as the owner?
God’s people accept the truth that we are stewards, managers of what He has blessed us with; cars, houses, appliances, food, bank accounts. The question is not whether or not we are stewards, the question is, “What kind of stewards are we?” In I Corinthians 4:2, Paul asks, “What is required of stewards?” And Paul answers, “That they be found faithful.”
In stories of survivors of Nazi death camps, an attitude of determined giving was one of the things that distinguished the survivors from those who perished. If a prisoner was on the verge of starvation, but he had a crust of bread to share with a fellow comrade, he was psychologically and spiritually capable of surviving. A survivor of Treblinka described it this way: In our group, we shared everything, and the moment someone in the group ate something without sharing it, we knew that it was literally the beginning of the end for that person.
Jesus, perhaps turning to the person who had interrupted him to complain about his missing share of the family inheritance, makes the point very clear: “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
Second, sharing resources rather than hoarding them makes us rich toward God.
There is no indication that the man in this story was an evil man in any other sense. His land produced good harvests; he no doubt worked hard to make it happen. As far as we know, his riches are not ill-gotten gain. There is no mention that anyone thinks badly of him. But his overriding concern is building bigger barns to store/hoard all his stuff.
To anyone with that kind of philosophy Jesus says,“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God” (Luke 12:21).
God has high expectations that we will use the resources entrusted to us in such a way that His Kingdom might be enhanced.
Deciding to share resources rather than hoard them makes us rich toward God.
This is why Jesus goes on to say, “Sell your possessions and give to those in need” (Luke 12:33).
The Marquis de Lafayette was a French general and politician who would have fit into the same social class as the rich man of Luke 12. He helped George Washington with the American Revolution, then returned to France and resumed his life as the master of several estates. In 1783, the harvest was a poor one, but the workers of Lafayette’s farms still managed to fill his barns with wheat. “The bad harvest has raised the price of wheat,” said one of his workers. “This is the time to sell.”
Lafayette thought about the hungry peasants in the surrounding villages. “No,” he replied, “this is the time to give.”
Lafayette had an opportunity to store up treasures for himself but decided instead to offer his wealth to the poor. This act did not impoverish him but instead made him rich, rich toward God.
A good expire-ment planner knows that resources should be shared, not hoarded. Abundant harvests invite gift-giving, not barn-building or profit-taking. Such generosity is good planning for anyone who wants to be prepared for the end of life.
Good expire-ment planning always involves giving not hoarding.
Some wise sage once said: “I’d much rather be wealthy than have lots of money.”
Minister and author Robert Fulghum, who is now 85 years old, could have said that. He is known for his book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, which has sold over 7 million copies in 27 languages and 93 countries. Needless to say, he has done very well financially.
In an interview, Fulghum says that since his success, people are always saying,
“Well, you must have a big house and a big car.” And he responds, “No, I have the same house, same car, same friends, same wife.” Fulghum is on guard against all kinds of greed and is committed to serving God, not money. Of course, fame is a challenge, he admits, “and the challenge is to be a good steward of God’s blessings.”
So one year he did a book tour and used it to raise $670,000 for a number of good causes. “I don’t think I should be given extra credit for doing that,” he says. “I think you should think ill of me if I didn’t do that.”
Death does not scare Robert Fulghum. In fact, he has already picked out his grave, and he likes to visit it. It reminds him to live life in a way that is rich toward God.
Turns out that stewarding God’s blessings enables us to, in a sense, take it with us when we go. Jesus went on to say, “This (giving) will store up treasure for you in heaven!
As old John put $300 in the offering he said, “I’ll see you in heaven.” Those near him thought old John must be off his rocker. He thinks he’s going to see that money in heaven? He’ll see His maker but not that money.
Now the church treasurer used that money to help pay the electric bill, the preacher and sent some to a nearby seminary to help ministerial students.
Early one morning John died in his sleep and went to be with the Lord. As he was walking down the golden streets he met a man who said to him, “Thanks brother John, I was cold and lonely on a dark night When I saw the light of the church, went inside and the darkness left my soul as I found Jesus.”
It wasn’t long before he met another who said, “Thanks John, I met your pastor one day while having lunch and he encouraged me to trust in Jesus.”
Then John encountered a group of folks, one of whom spoke for them all, “Thank you, John, for helping these students, they preached the gospel to our families and we found the Lord.”
And John, now made new, sat back and gave God thanks for the opportunities he had while on earth to store up heavenly treasure.
My Christian friends, we were born to play this game; to be faithful stewards of all that God has blessed us with.
That includes the time we have, the gifts and talents He has given us, as well as the monetary resources that have been entrusted to us.
The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us; college football season!
I have a story about the Ohio State University and another university that starts with the letter, ‘M.’ On January 3rd, 2003, everyone expected the University of Miami Hurricanes to dominate the Ohio State Buckeyes. Miami had won 32 games in a row and were national champs the previous year. All the experts said Miami had the size, speed, and experience in their favor. The sports announcers were giving the game to Miami; the only uncertainty being how large the margin of victory would be. That dramatic come from behind triple overtime OSU win has been recognized as the most exciting college football game in collegiate sports history.
But most people don’t know what words were spoken by Head Coach Jim Tressel just before leaving the locker room. Among other things, the coach simply said, “Gentlemen, you were born to play this game.” And play it they did with courage and the resolve to win.
Ladies and gentlemen of CrossPointe Community Church, we were born to play this game of being faithful stewards of all that God in His grace has blessed us with. Let’s continue to play the game in such a way that we will continue to store up treasure in heaven.