We're in the middle of a stewardship campaign at church, and I was one of three people asked to share a little bit about what money has to do with my relationship with God. Here's what I said last weekend.
I became a Christian around the same time I got interested in business and started taking classes at Wharton, which you may have heard is a pretty good school located just down the street from here. You might find it strange that I was getting introduced to the concepts of grace and salvation at the same time I was getting introduced to concepts of profit maximization and portfolio diversification. But I was. And I actually found that my business education was actually helping and not hurting my ability to follow Jesus.
Let me explain. In the 12th chapter of Luke, Jesus is teaching in public and two guys come up to him arguing over money. Jesus uses the opening to tell a story about an ambitious man who hoards his wealth and is proud of himself, and Jesus calls him a fool. But the lesson Jesus teaches isn't that treasure is bad, it's that the ambitious man was seeking the wrong kind of treasure: "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." In other words, the ambitious man isn't a fool for being too ambitious, but for not being ambitious enough; he was storing treasure on earth, when the wiser thing to do is to store treasure in heaven.
And that is what I wanted to share about stewardship. You see, being Christian is about following Jesus, and following Jesus is about being a steward of what we've been given, not squandering our resources nor hoarding them for worldly gain, but rather investing them for maximum heavenly gain.
Churches, of course, can talk about money and giving in sinful ways. Churches can seek material comfort and worldly ambition, and prey on their congregants to provide them with the resources to do it. But that's not what Woodland is about. We're taking stewardship seriously because stewardship is an important part of following Jesus. And we're also taking stewardship seriously because we're a good return on your investment. And so I invite you to join with me in investing in this congregation and the heavenly good it is doing in this community and around the world.