Money in the Vineyard

Money can dominate a person’s life, if he or she is not careful.  This was what the students of the Pharisees and the Herodians were banking on when they approached Jesus.  Think of this as one game of “gotcha” after another.  If they could only trap Jesus in his words once, then the people would see that he wasn’t worth their time.  There was one huge problem with this.  Jesus never failed.  Jesus never sinned.  So when they came to him with the topic of taxes, not only did he avoid their trap, Jesus also gives us a wonderful commentary on our financial stewardship.

Just to review quickly, stewardship is the concept that everything we have really belongs to God.  This includes not just our time, our talents, and our treasures.  This includes our spouse, our children, anything that we possess or can call our own can be taken from us in a heartbeat.  Know that we try to be good stewards of our time.  Spend it with the people who matter to us.  Look at your work as a calling – a vocation – from God.  Open your eyes to see all of the good things that we can do out of thanks for what our God has done for us.  Yes, finally, that also includes out finance.  A wise man once said that the last part of a person to be converted was his wallet.  I think that is shifting our society to his calendar.  People now days would rather give you money than they would their time.  People are very busy.

Let’s start to beak down Jesus’ answer to his enemies.  When he says give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, that says just as much about stewardship of our money to our Lord as it does to our government.  Our kids give some great answers in our children’s message!  We started the sermon with a quick look at taxes in our country.  Due to tax brackets it can be difficult to say what the “average” American pays in taxes.  The actual paying of the taxes is pretty clear – irs will happily tell you how much to pay.  They will even come back and tell you if you did it wrong.  This isn’t how our God works.  Oh, he’s plenty clear on his guidelines for financial stewardship – we look at them later in the sermon.  The problem for so many of us is that he leaves it up to our Christian freedom.  Freely God has given to us all of his blessings.  Freely we can give back to him.

What to know what that looks like?  Check out this week’s sermon taken from Matthew 22, the final in our series In the Vineyard.