It All Belongs To God

Big Idea: Money brings happiness...for a while. We need to pursue that which brings true satisfaction—Jesus.


Money seems to be on everyone’s mind this time of year. My vision for the series was to address the subject of money between the Christmas credit card bills and taxes. How many of you have done your taxes?

Actually, money seems to be on our minds throughout the year. The news is filled with economic news, recession statistics, fluctuating gas prices, get-rich-quick schemes, big sales at the mall, investment strategies, charity fundraising, mortgage refinancing, savings accounts, Groupons and Living Social deals,…

Money is not a newly-popular topic. Jesus said more about money than heaven and hell combined!


Our culture says that money will make you happy, and being happy is the ultimate goal. You’re heard that he who dies with the most toys wins, right?!

Does money buy happiness? Yes...for a while. Think about it. Do you remember how you felt when you got that first paycheck, the raise, an unexpected check in the mail, a gift of cash for your birthday, ... It feels great to get money!

Some people have a negative attitude toward money. They think it’s the root of all evil. Money itself is not a problem. It is a tool like time, talents, our bodies, technology, and other resources that can be used for good or not so good purposes. 1 Timothy 6:10a says

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

We are to be good stewards of the gifts that we have been given. Make no mistake—we have been given much.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Stewardship is wisely using those gifts.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)


If you were looking for a guilt-inducing message today on giving, you may be disappointed. We are not in the middle of a building campaign. There is no thermometer on the wall that we are filling to reach a goal. Our church budget is not even in great trouble. There’s no hidden agenda for this series except to help you use money well.

Often churches talk about tithing. Tithing literally means 10%. Its history dates back to Abraham giving ten percent of his wealth to Melchizedek the priest after receiving a blessing in Genesis 14:18-20.

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
(Genesis 14:18-20)

Following, there are multiple Old Testament references to giving God ten percent. Many Christians are taught to give God ten percent of their income.

Were you taught as children to give God ten percent? One commonly taught formula is give 10%, save 10%, and keep 80%. There’s just one problem. 100% is God’s!

An Experiment

Several years ago I gave a message about stewardship and each person in attendance received an envelope with cash. I’m sorry, today is not that day! Each person received a different amount, some $5, some $10, and others $20 since God distributes gifts differently. We all have different talents, strengths, incomes, intellect, etc.

The purpose of the cash was not to buy everyone drinks at Starbucks, but instead to challenge each person to do something with God’s money and report back on how they used it to bless others, to invest in the Kingdom of God. One friend of mine who received a $20 bill told me he was really struggling with what to do with “God’s money.” I told him to take his decision seriously, but to also recognize that every dollar in his wallet, bank account, and retirement account also belonged to God.

Everything we have belongs to God. He is just loaning it to us.

Some of you faithfully give 10% of your income to Scio Community Church, which is great. We have to pay to keep the lights on, support missionaries, feed the pastor’s kids (!), ... but for some of you, 10% is nowhere near enough. While it is true that Jesus didn’t mention tithing explicitly, He always took the Old Testament commands and made them more challenging, not less.

In fact, He summarized God’s view of money quite succinctly when He said

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:33)

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Note: that phrase is also recorded in Matthew 6:21.

Where is your treasure? Is it in your 401k? Your garage? Your house? Your electronic gadgets?

Those things are fun. They make us happy...until they break, go out of style, get replaced by a better one, or cause us yearning for more.

I want to challenge you to be more generous. I didn’t say give more money to Scio—we already took the offering! I want to challenge you to earn more and spend less on yourself. We talked at Christmastime about not only special opportunities to change the world through providing clean water overseas and food through Hope Clinic locally, but also the Radical Experiment, sacrificially giving our money for a specific purpose.

Did you catch that word—sacrificially? For many of us, 10% is not a sacrifice. We give Lansing and Washington far more than that! If you make $100,000 a year, you can probably live off $90,000 okay! There are many wealthy people that give 90% and live off 10%.

For some of you, you’re not even close to 10%. What are you waiting for? More income? The beauty of tithing is it’s a percent, not an amount. Kids, begin by tithing your allowance, but don’t stop at 10%. Remember, it is all God’s! Every dime! Be generous!


  1. God commands it.
  2. It feels great.
  3. It blesses others.
  4. It destroys the money monster that says you need more.
  5. It is an eternal investment, storing up treasures in heaven

Paul wrote to his protege’, Timothy, and said

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time —God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:6-16)


Money can make us happy, but only for a while. When we see our lives as conduits of blessing with money rather than containers to hold onto riches, we will experience true contentment and joy.

The first two commandments—no other Gods and no idols—speak directly to our temptation to love money. Those commands were not an ego trip for God. He knew that money and wealth and toys will not last. We will always want more.

Our pursuit of an all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, ever-creative God will bring peace, joy, and satisfaction like nothing in this world.

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