Sunday, February 27, 2005


Intro: If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, that carried over no balance from day to day, and allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening canceled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day, what would you do?

  1. Draw out every cent, of course.

  2. Well, you have such a bank, and its name is “Time.” Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it rules off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balances. It allows no overdrafts.

  3. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present—on today’s deposits.

  4. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!

  5. Only one life ‘Twill soon be past, Only what is done for the Lord Will last!

Read Mark 12:13-17, 41-44


Tran. It has been two years since I last spoke about stewardship – using what God has given us wisely. Since, as best I understand it, Christ spoke more on the topic of money than any other single topic, it only makes sense that as we look at the life of Christ, we spend at least some time on this topic.


  1. Everything belongs to God

    1. I once had a pastor who spoke about all the “stuff” we own. Most of us own a bunch of “stuff”.

(Appl.) Amazingly, the stuff we own defines who we are. The cars, the computers, the clothes, the food we eat – the stuff we own defines who we are.

    1. But something is wrong here – because I really own nothing.

    2. In reality, God created everything. He controls everything. He owns everything. When I am gone, they still belong to God.

(Appl.) Take a minute to think of your most valued possession. It may be something that has been in your family for years. It may be something that you never let anybody else touch. It may be something you have put into a very safe place. It may be something you put into a very prominent place in your home. Now, let it go. It is not yours. It is God's.

    1. And then remember that God, in his wonderful grace, has allowed you to have it, to enjoy it, to use it.

    2. There is one more point that is important – if God has given us something to use, then he also give us the responsibility to use it wisely. We do not abuse it.

  • We recycle when appropriate

  • We don't waste natural resources

  • We treat all of God's gifts with the utmost respect.

  1. We must be willing to give him everything

(Ill.) Someone once said, “What I gave, I have.
What I spent, I had.
What I kept, I lost.”

    1. Take a minute to look at Mark 12:41-44.

    2. Jesus is sitting in the temple area, watching people make there offerings. The offering box sits in what is called the Women's Court. It is designed for freewill offerings made by the various people who come to worship.

    3. It is the high point of the Jewish year – the time of Passover. More people came to the temple during this week than at any other time of the year.

    4. And the rich – they put in their money. The NIV translate it as “large amounts” of money. But Jesus says nothing. He just sits and watches.

    5. But then someone else approaches the offering box. She obviously is not rich. Mark calls her a “poor widow”.

    6. She does not put much in the box – two small copper coins. They are the smallest known coins from Jesus' era, about what one might be paid for 5 to 6 minutes of work. Jesus turns to His disciples and tells them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.

    7. The rich had been giving out their abundance. She gave out of her livelihood.

(Appl.) The Believer's Bible Commentary makes the “point that we admire and approve what the savior says about the widow – yet we find it difficult to imitate her. She was convinced that it all belonged to the Lord – he was worthy of all she had.”

  1. We must balance our giving

    1. But there is another piece of this – take a look at an earlier part of the chapter – Mark 12:13-17

    2. The Pharisees and the Herodians are out to get Jesus.

(Ill.) Normally these two groups were at odds with each other. The Pharisees wanted a free and independent country – not under the control of the Romans. The Herodians were strong supporters of the Roman government. Yet they found a common ground as they sought to confront Jesus.

    1. The Pharisees and the Herodians were out to trap Jesus.

(Ill.) The Greek word ἀγρεύω is the same word that would be used to describe a snare set by a furrier out to look for small animals.

    1. They begin with a complement: Teacher, we know you have integrity, that you are indifferent to public opinion, don't pander to your students, and teach the way of God accurately. I suppose a complement is a good way to start. I know that it would be a good way to get my attention. But Jesus is smarter than me – he knew it was a trap.

    2. And then comes the question, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?” It was a trap – if he said “yes” then the Jewish people would be upset with him – how could a traditional Jew support an unholy government. If he said “no”, it would be the Roman government that would find fault with him.

    3. Jesus takes a coin and asks about the image on it – it is Caesar's and then he sets the pattern we are to follow, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's; give to God what is God's.

    4. The answer is the balance – I don't think it applies to only the government, but to all areas of life

(Appl.) Give unto your family, what is your families; give unto God what is God's. Give unto you community, what is your community's; give unto God what is God's.

    1. And that is what we are called on to do – find the balance in all that we have.

Conclusion: Let me suggest four guidelines for finding that balance:

      1. Pray about your giving – don't merely drop in a five dollar bill or a hundred dollar check. Whatever you give must be rooted in prayer.

      2. Give proportionately – when our expenses go up, it is easy to reduce our giving. When our expenses go down or our income up, is it not also right to increase our giving.

      3. Plan your giving – put into your monthly budget,

      4. Give systematically and regularly. If it is part of your budget, then systematic giving becomes easier.

I have a dream – of a church that learns to support itself. A church where dinners and suppers are not required to fund the church, but become a means of reaching out to our community. A church which grows and prospers because its members give and support it.

Not this year, not next year, but in the future. I trust that you will be part of that future.

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