Morning Bible Study
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
Jesus has been talking about money and the dangers of greed.
When a man from the crowd (not a disciple) asked Jesus to divide his
father’s inheritance with he and his brother, Jesus rebuked the man and then said
to the crowd,
(Luke 12:15 NKJV) …“Take heed
and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of
the things he possesses.”
Then He told His disciples,
(Luke 12:22 NKJV) …“Therefore
I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body,
what you will put on.
He went on to encourage the disciples to look at the birds and the flowers
and see how God has taken care of them.
Then He said,
(Luke 12:31 NKJV) But seek the
kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
If we will put God’s priorities first, if we will seek God’s kingdom over
everything else, then God will take care of the rest.
:32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.
:32 Do not fear, little flock
The little flock He’s talking about is His own disciples.
Jesus had been addressing the bigger crowd earlier when He was talking to
the man with the inheritance issue.
But He has been narrowing His focus to us, those of us who have made a
choice to follow Him.
The disciples in Jesus’ day had plenty of things to be anxious about,
whether it was worrying where their next meal was going to come from, or how
they were going to be able to afford clothes to wear.
We too have plenty of things that cause us anxiety as well.
Jesus says we don’t need to be afraid.
:32 it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom
good pleasure – eudokeo (“well”
+ “to think”) – it seems good to one, is one’s good pleasure; think it good; to
do willingly; to be well pleased with, take pleasure in, to be favorably
inclined towards one
God isn’t reluctant to give us the kingdom.
He wants to do it. It pleases
Remember, He has just said,
(Luke 12:31 NKJV) But seek the
kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
And now He tells us that God really wants to give us this “kingdom”.
He’s for you
God is not dangling this promise of a heavenly kingdom in front of you,
only to snatch it out of your hands as soon as you get close.
God fully intends to bring His kingdom on earth and to give it to us.
He’s on your side.
(Romans 8:32 NKJV) He who did
not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with
Him also freely give us all things?
God loves you so much that He gave His Son to die on a
cross in order to pay for our sin.
If you want eternal life instead of paying for your sins
in hell, all you need to do is to ask God for help and trust Him.
If God did that for you, how can you think that He’s
Some of us form our ideas of whether or not God loves us by whether or not
life is going easy.
If life is easy, God must love me.
If life is tough, God must hate me.
That’s a pretty shallow idea of love.
God doesn’t promise to make your circumstances better, He promises to make
He wants to form you, shape you, mold you into the image
of His Son.
Sometimes that requires that we go through difficult
1:2–4 NKJV) —2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that
the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its
perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
:33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which
do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief
approaches nor moth destroys.
:33 Sell what you have and give alms
Giving alms means to give money to the poor.
Is Jesus telling all of us to sell everything we have and give it all away?
The early church in Jerusalem did something similar to this
(Acts 2:44–45 NKJV)
—44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold
their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
I think you might be able to make the case that they went too far.
It seems that they all went broke.
The Apostle Paul even made it a point to raise funds to help bail out the
church in Jerusalem because of their financial condition. (Rom. 15:25-26; 1Cor.
16:3; 2Cor. 8:4)
sell – poleo – to barter,
I like that idea of “bartering”
Use what God has given you to “barter” with others.
I think Jesus’ point is that we learn to use the things we own here on
earth and leverage them for the good of the kingdom.
(Luke 16:1–11 NKJV) —1 He also said
to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an
accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called
him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your
stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ 3 “Then the steward said within
himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from
me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the
stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ 5 “So he
called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first,
‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So 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?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of
wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’
Jesus is not advocating that we do illegal things. This steward is simply using what was
lawfully under his control.
8 So the
master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons
of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. 9 “And I say
to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail,
they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what
is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is
least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon,
who will commit to your trust the true riches?
In other words, God has given to each of us an amount of “resources”
over which we are stewards, managers.
God wants us to leverage the resources that He has given us
to further the kingdom of God.
That might mean that you support a church that God would
direct you to support.
It might be that you need to be investing in a missionary
that God is using to spread the gospel.
It might also mean that you buy friend lunch every once in
a while to build up your friendship with them in order to share with them what
God has been doing in your life.
It might mean that you guy a few extra tickets to the
Angels’ game when the church goes this summer and invite a friend to come along
:33 where no thief approaches nor moth destroys
It will all burn
Ultimately, every material thing on this planet will burn and be replaced
with a New Heaven and New Earth. Peter
(2 Peter 3:12 NLT) looking
forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the
heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.
All the stuff you own will one day be gone.
So learn to send it ahead.
Even in the present, the things that you value the most can be lost.
Things get stolen.
Things break down.
Stock markets crash and a 401k is gone.
Thomas Hart Benton, U.S. statesman, was a Democratic senator from Missouri
for thirty years (1821-51) and ardently promoted the opening up of the
West. Benton accurately foresaw the
dangers into which the slavery question was leading the Union.
When Benton’s house in Washington was destroyed by fire, he was summoned
from Congress to view the ruin. He gazed
at it for a while, then said, “It makes dying easier. There’s so much less to leave.”
-- The Little Brown
Book Of Anecdotes, Ed. Clifton Fadiman, (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1985),
Suppose your home is in France and you’re visiting America for three
months, living in a hotel. You’re told
that you can’t bring anything back to France on your flight home. But you can earn money and mail deposits to
your bank in France. Would you fill your
hotel room with expensive furniture and wall hangings? Or course not. You’d send your money where your home
is. You would spend only what you needed
on the temporary residence, sending your treasures ahead so they’d be waiting
for you when you got home.
Randy Alcorn, “The Treasure Principle”, pg. 45
Borden vs. King Tut
Randy Alcorn, in his book, “The Treasure Principle” (pgs. 34-36) writes,
The streets of Cairo were hot and dusty.
Pat and Rakel Thurman took us down an alley. We drove past Arabic signs to a gate that
opened to a plot of overgrown grass. It
was a graveyard for American missionaries.
As my family and I followed, Pat pointed to a sun-scorched tombstone that
read: “William Borden, 1887-1913.”
Borden, a Yale graduate and heir to great wealth, rejected a life of ease
in order to bring the gospel to Muslims.
Refusing even to buy himself a car, Borden gave away hundreds of
thousands of dollars to missions. After
only four months of zealous ministry in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis
and died at the age of twenty-five.
I dusted off the epitaph on Borden’s grave.
After describing his love and sacrifices for the kingdom of God and for
Muslim people, the epitaph ended with a phrase I’ve never forgotten: “Apart
from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”
The Thurmans took us straight from Borden’s grave to the Egyptian National
Museum. The King Tut exhibit was
Tutankhamen, the boy king, was only seventeen when he died. He was buried with solid gold chariots and
thousands of golden artifacts. His gold
coffin was found within gold tombs within gold tombs within gold tombs. The burial site was filled with tons of gold.
The Egyptians believed in an afterlife – one where they could take earthly
treasures. But all the treasures
intended for King Tut’s eternal enjoyment stayed right where they were until
Howard Carter discovered the burial chamber in 1922. They hadn’t been touched for more than three
I was struck by the contrast between these two graves. Borden’s was obscure, dusty, and hidden off
the back alley of a street littered with garbage. Tutankhamen’s tomb glittered with
unimaginable wealth. Yet where were
these two young men now? One, who lived
in opulence and called himself king, was in the misery of a Christ-less
eternity. The other, who lived a modest
life on earth in service of the one true King, is enjoying his everlasting
reward in the presence of his Lord.
Tut’s life was tragic because of an awful truth discovered too late – he
couldn’t take his treasures with him.
William Borden’s life was triumphant.
Why? Because instead of leaving
behind his treasures, he sent them on ahead.
:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
:34 where your treasure is …
Finding your heart
Yesterday I read a small little book I had on my shelf titled, “The
Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn.
I highly recommend you get and read this book. It’s a quick read. Here’s one of the key principles laid out in
The heart follows the money
You might not like this idea. You might say to me, “My heart has nothing to
do with money. I’m not a money oriented
I’ll say to you, “But you still buy things with your
The kinds of things you buy shows where your heart is at.
Randy Alcorn writes (pg. 42),
Suppose you buy shares of General Motors. What happens?
You suddenly develop interest in GM.
You check the financial pages.
You see a magazine article about GM and read every word, even though a
month ago you would have passed right over it.
Suppose you’re giving to help African children with
AIDS. When you see an article on the
subject, you’re hooked. If you’re
sending money to plant churches in India and an earthquake hits India, you
watch the news and fervently pray.
My wife and I have apps on our phones (“Find Friends”) so we can find each
When she’s on her way home from work in Newport Beach I will often track
her progress on the Freeway. She says
I’m “stalking” her J
If she ever wonders where I am or why I’m taking so long to get home, she
can always find me.
What if there was a “Find Heart” app on your phone, an app that showed you
just where your heart was at?
Would it show that your heart is in love with the things
of God and you can hardly wait until the day you get to heaven?
Would it show that you are so in love with this world that
you’re not really all that excited about heaven?
There actually is an “app” like that. It may not be on your phone. It’s your check register.
If some of us were honest, we’d have to admit we’re not too excited about
leaving all this stuff behind…
John Wesley toured a vast estate with a proud plantation
owner. They rode their horses for hours
and saw only a fraction of the man’s property.
At the end of the day they sat down to dinner. The plantation owner eagerly asked, “Well,
Mr. Wesley, what do you think?” Wesley
replied, “I think you’re going to have a hard time leaving all this.”
Randy Alcorn, “The Treasure Principle”, pgs.40-41
Do you want more of a heart for the things of God? Do you want a heart for missions? Do you want to care more for eternal things?
The answer is easy.
Then invest some money in it, and your heart will follow.
This is one of many things I take into consideration when I ask someone to
be an elder of the church.
If I think a man has the heart and character to be on the
board, I will ask our accounting folks a simple question – “Does this person
appear to be a tither?”
I know that if he is a tither, he will have a heart for
Personally, I believe this is one of the underlying reasons why so many people
drift from church to church.
They don’t have a heart for that church because they don’t
invest in that church. They have no
“skin” in the game so it’s easy to quit and move on to the next place.
I’m not telling you to start giving more money next week. You need to check your heart and ask God
where you need to invest.
I’m not saying these things because we are hurting
financially as a church. We actually
I’m telling you the hard cold truth.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have a great
heart for God when you can’t back it up with your check register.
You can tell a lot about where your heart is by what you
spend your money on.