The Christian faith is a religion that, on the face of it, seems to be quite paradoxical. We believe that to live we must die and that true leaders are actually servants. We serve the God of all comfort and yet find him most intimately in suffering. We find in scripture that we must be the least to be the greatest. Similarly, we see in Christianity that in order to be rich we must be poor. Is is this paradoxical view of wealth that we find exhibited in this week’s passage.
Though not quite a paradox, it does seem strange that God would be so interested in our finances. He is the author of all creation and all ordains all things, including the financial economy of his creation. Why, then, are we exhorted to give to others? Why are we cautioned against greed and commanded to be modest with our resources? Why would God accept the widow’s mite when he own a cattle on a thousand hills?
These are all pertinent questions, and we find the answer tucked away in this week’s passage: “…you cannot serve God and money.” In this we find that God is concerned with our financial life not because He needs or wants money, but because it is inextricably tied to our obedience. And even in this we find that God is not trying to coerce us into generous giving or trying to test our loyalty. Instead, we are called to obedience out of love and friendship (John 14:15, John 15:14).We obey God in his call to give to invest financially in His Kingdom not because we want dividends or simply to begrudgingly obey, but because it is our reaction to the love and friendship that He has shown us.
The greatest paradox of the Christian faith is where we find God’s love and friendship made manifest: that the infinite God would take up finite residence upon Earth. That Christ would live a perfect life in our stead, die the death we deserve, and share with us the power of His resurrection through the work of the spirit is the great mystery that compels us to give generously. It is almost an afterthought, like a child who offers to share the ear of a chocolate Easter bunny because of the abundance of sweets he or she received.
This Sunday, as we come to the table, let us take the bread and the cup, remembering the body and the blood that was given by God so that we might find true joy in obedience to Him.
Scripture: Luke 16:1-31
Sermon: Kingdom Finances
1.Quickly review the ways that you financially invest in God’s Kingdom. How might you commit those people and organizations that you support to prayer this week? How might you pray for new opportunities to support Kingdom work?
2.What is a specific passage of Scripture that speaks to the futility of loving money? What is a passage that speaks to the superiority of loving God and His people? In what areas of your life do you feel this tension most actuely? How might you appropriate these passages during this upcoming week?
3.How does today’s scripture reading speak of modesty and restraint from indulgence? What does this look like in your life? Are there any areas of frequent indulgence from which you can restrain and put towards Kingdom work?
THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
“The Lord’s Supper is a joyful mystery whereby Jesus takes the bread and wine to represent his atoning sacrifice, deepening our union with himself and with each other, giving us of his life and strength. Here Christ is present in his world proclaiming salvation until he comes – a symbol of hope for a troubled age.
The Eucharist is thanksgiving to God. We pray for the world and with gratitude offer our lives to God. We celebrate his victory over death and anticipate the joyous feast we shall have in his coming kingdom. We pledge allegiance to Christ as Lord, are fed as one church, receive these signs of his love, and are marked as his.
Those who belong to Christ come gladly to his table to make a memorial of his life and death, to celebrate his presence, and together as his church offer him thanks.”