Abuse of Stewardship
In His Presence: Matthew 19:23-25
We are living in a day of the commercialization of God, where people go to church to find out what God will do for them. Instead of focusing on the goodness of giving to God, some focus on receiving blessing from God. These people have betrayed God for a price, expecting Him to act like Santa Claus, dispensing blessing because of their giving. There are many names for this—prosperity theology, name-it-and-claim-it theology—but it's all the same in that people relate to God simply because of the goodies He provides.
In Acts 8:14-24, me meet possibly the first prosperity gospel preacher, Simon. According to verse 13, Simon believed and was baptized, so we know he was a believer. But he brought with him into the church the materialistic mentality of the culture. Through this passage, we can examine some of the problems of materialism that can infiltrate our church today.
First, Simon brought the crisis of materialism, which was idolatry. When Simon saw Christianity, he saw dollar signs. He worshiped the almighty dollar. "When Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money" (v. 18). Simon wanted the power, prestige, and income that could come from Christianity; he wanted to make his own profit from God's work.
At the heart of materialism is greed. There is nothing wrong with having or wanting things, but when those things take precedence in your life over invisible things, like your relationship with God, you have become greedy.
One Minute Please
If your financial life is going up and your spiritual life is going down, you are probably greedy.