“How you handle your riches . . . in many ways marks the character and quality of your Christian faith.” That’s how John MacArthur describes the importance of Christian stewardship in his sermon “Handling Treasure, Part 1.”
Our attitude toward money should stand in sharp contrast to the insatiable lust exhibited by the false teachers and charlatans who now dominate Christian television. But a godly approach to money isn’t demonstrated through taking a vow of poverty, joining a commune, or embracing a monastic lifestyle. We need to steward our wealth, not shun it.
In “Handling Treasure, Part 1,” John lays out a biblical worldview concerning finances and how we should handle them. The message centers on 1 Timothy 6:17–19:
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
That’s a passage easily skipped over by many middle class Westerners. After all, it sounds like an admonition to people who are materially rich—those who live at the higher reaches of our socioeconomic strata. But John MacArthur points out that is simply not the case. He reveals parameters for defining wealth that fly in the face of our modern, Westernized perceptions.
All of us are rich in the sense that we have discretionary dollars. If we choose to spend them on how we eat rather than that we eat, or on how we dress rather than that we’re clothed, or on how we live rather than that we live in a place that’s warm and provides shelter for us, then that is how we have chosen to use our discretionary dollar. . . . I am not starving, barely clothed, unsheltered, and crying to God for tomorrow’s provision. I’m not, in that sense, a poor person. I have to make decisions about my money. I have to decide what to do with it. And that happens every day and that makes me rich. I have more than I need.
Clearly then, Paul’s exhortation in 1 Timothy 6:17–19 is broadly applicable today. We are the people Paul exhorts to be “generous,” “rich in good works,” and “storing up” eternal treasure. We need to carefully contemplate Paul’s instructions to “those who are rich in this present world.”
John’s message brings the vital importance of Christian stewardship into clear focus. He expounds Paul’s instructions, revealing what it looks like to practice wise generosity and perform good works that glorify God. John points us to the true eternal riches awaiting those who wisely steward their temporal resources. And he explores the profound biblical connection between our handling of finances and our worship of God.
What we do with our money is not a peripheral issue. In fact, our financial stewardship provides a clear indicator of the state of our relationship with Christ. “Handling Treasure, Part 1” reveals that connection in a powerful and convicting way.