Money is the elephant in the room that nobody ever
wants to talk about, especially in church. Over the
years I have discovered that nothing brings more
disagreement and heated conversations than when I
preach about money. People get mad…they get
defensive… they become defiant…a few have even left
Thus – “The Green Elephant” series.
Money is a problem on several different levels. Take
debt for instance! Instead of asking ourselves, “Can
I qualify for the loan? Can I make the payments?”
Maybe we should be asking, “Is this debt wise? Is
this debt harmful?” More often than not, debt of any
kind is not a great move.
Then there is the issue of money in the scriptures.
Talk about an elephant in the room. Probably the
biggest question of all is, “What does God want me
to do with my money?” Few people have the courage to
ever ask that question and really want to know the
answer. Why? If I ever go to Alaska, one of the
sights I want to see is Mt. McKinley. I’m told that
Mt. McKinley is a beautiful, spectacular mountain to
see. It’s the tallest mountain we have in North
America. If you go to Alaska, everyone wants to see
But I’m also told that if you go to Alaska, you
might see it, and you might not. It would be a shame
to go all the way there, to be right next to the
mountain, and not be able to see it. Even if you
have 20/20 vision, you could miss it. Why wouldn’t
you be able to see it? Some people never see Mt.
McKinley because of the clouds. They roll in thick
and heavy and often, and completely obscure the
mountain. In fact, the mountain is only visible
about half the days of the year.
This illustration represents that many never get to
see what biblical stewardship is really all about.
They are engulfed in clouds of misunderstanding.
They are obscured by wrong ideas of biblical
stewardship. They can’t see through the haze of
their own needs and
desires. And for some, even if they do read the
scriptures, they walk away with the wrong points.
One of the interesting, and potentially problematic,
things about the Bible's teaching about giving is
that giving is almost always associated with a
reward. In Malachi 3, God says through the prophet,
“Test Me...see if I do not open the windows of
heaven for you and pour down an overflowing
blessing.” Jesus says, “And if anyone gives even a
cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is
My disciple, truly I tell you, that person will
certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
And Paul is no exception, “the one who sows
sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who
sows bountifully will reap bountifully.... And God
is able to provide you with every blessing in
abundance, so that always having enough of
everything, you may work abundantly in every good
work.” (II Corinthians 9: 8)
Can this be right? Give for what you can get out of
it for yourself. There's an almost lottery-like
appeal to it. Is giving an investment on which I can
count on a return? If so, it's better than the stock
Let's face it, there is an element of self-interest
to our faith. It would be a strange thing indeed to
follow Christ and make sacrifices involved if it
weren't in our own interest to do so. Being a
Christian has its benefits. It affords us an
explanation to our existence. It enables us to live
a life of joy and love and meaning. It places us in
the midst of a community of faith and caring. And,
most of all, it gives us the promise of eternal
life, no small reward in this world of sin and
death. That's not a bad bargain.
However, when it comes to stewardship, should we be
giving to get? God is a shrewd steward of His
resources. He does not want His money wasted, but is
looking for a return. And when God has a cheerful
giver who loves Him and offers from his or her
resources with a glad and generous heart, God
blesses that person. No question about it. Now,
again, this is no iron-clad guarantee that we will
grow wealthy through giving, or that we will never
face hard times when we give. It's a general
description of the way
the Kingdom works, but an important one, one we can
So, what does God want to teach His people about
money? Why are His people so slow to want to hear
godly principles on money management, and why are we
so hesitant to apply these principles to our lives?
Because we’re clouded by our own wrong views and
feelings regarding money. There is a large green
elephant in the room, and everyone wants to just
Maybe it’s time to clear the clouds. Maybe it’s time
we open ourselves back up to hear what God has to
say about our finances. Maybe it is time we
acknowledge the Green Elephant.
It's the topic that we all know is there in the
church, but no one wants to talk about...money. And
yet, Jesus talked more about money than any other
subject. Some of what the Bible says may surprise
and some will surely challenge.
It's time to acknowledge and address The Green
Nov. 2 Why People Hate Sermons on Money
Nov. 9 Examples of Giving—Can God Inspire Me?
Nov. 16 No One Becomes Generous Accidentally
Nov. 23 How Can Giving be Good for Me?
Nov. 30 Global Impact
[Ron Otto, Preaching Minister Lincoln Christian