That’s what a few people think we did at NewPointe this past weekend. They think we gave away free money. It is true that we handed out envelopes that had different amounts of money in them to our attendees who chose to participate. But the point wasn’t simple generosity. It was more than that.
Jesus told the story of a boss who gave three employees three different amounts of money to manage for him while he was gone, and after a period of time he checked in on them to find out how they used the money he had given them. Did they use the money as a tool and invest it for him? If they did, they passed the test (Matthew 25:14-30).
In similar fashion, we gave money to people who were willing to use it as a tool, creatively investing and maximizing it for good. It’s exciting to hear how people are using the funds they have been given to grow more money to be used in God-honoring causes of their choice. My 95-year-old father decided to participate! His main focus Monday morning was on how he could at least double the money.
The attitude we want to fertilize and grow is this: God owns it all. We are stewards or managers for Him. It’s not just the “free money” we got last weekend that we want to use as an investment to build the things that are important to Him—it’s all of our resources. God is anxious to partner with us in having the best life possible. But God’s goal isn’t simply to keep you and your family reasonably comfortable—He has a kingdom to build, and you are a part of His team in accomplishing that plan.
The problem is, we tend to act as though we are the owners and controllers of everything we can get our hands on, and we set our own rules for using what we have. Mismanagement of resources is as common as the sunrise, and regularly pays off in chaos and disaster. But when Jesus, the Lord of all, came to earth, the Kingdom of God arrived. As His loyal followers, Christians are to recognize Jesus as the rightful owner of all “our” resources. That means our responsibility is to manage His property according to His Kingdom values. We will find our needs met, and His kingdom will be built as well.
That “free money” we got Sunday is simply a tool to help us get started on managing it ALL for Him.
Is it possible for the church to be admired and appreciated by those in our communities who are presently critical and hostile toward us and God?
George Barna, who does extensive research says, “The stumbling block for the church is not its theology, but its failure to apply what it believes in a compelling way. Christians have been their own worst enemies when it comes to showing the world what authentic, biblical Christianity looks like.”
When we see our stuff as a tool, test, and trademark, the world will stand up and take notice that something is different about us.