Our pastor started a new sermon series this morning titled “Mixed Messages.” It’s a five-week series on how, as Christians, we sometimes send mixed messages to the world about our Christian faith. We some send mixed messages about Jesus.
The specific topic this morning was money, always a sensitive topic with most people. We really don’t like talking about money or about giving it away. We don’t like to be scrutinized in this area of our lives, because we all tend to like our own stuff and our own money just a little bit too much.
And that’s just the point. As Christians, we should have the extravagant and generous mind and attitude of Christ regarding our money. It isn’t really our money anyway – it is a gift from God – it really all belongs to Him anyway.
Pastor Dave encouraged us to send a clear message about who Christ is by the way we give to those in need and in how we use the money that God has blessed us with. We need to send a clear message so that non-believers will know who Christ truly is and what the Christian faith is all about.
As I pondered writing this post, I decided to reread the passages in Matthew that I read last week as part of my Bible reading schedule, because I remembered I was reading the sermon on the mount. Not really wanting to write about money and mixed messages, I was trying to find something else to write on.
At first I didn’t find anything that spoke to me, so I read the section that I should have read either yesterday or this morning but I skipped my reading time both day. Here is the very next passage on my reading schedule, Matthew 6:19-34 (NLT):
Teaching about Money and Possessions
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Okay, so I get the message loud and clear! I need to pay more attention to what message I am sending to others in this area. Is it a clear message of extravagance and generosity in the image of Christ? Or do my selfish actions belie my words of faith? Where is my treasure stored?
I think these are questions we all need to ask ourselves periodically. We are human and are going to mess up sometimes; we are going to sometimes send the wrong message. But if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and to correct us, to help us send a clear message, then perhaps the world will hear the truth of Christ loud and clear.