Show Me The Money…

Ben Schoettel   -  


Talk about an attention-grabbing title. “I thought stewardship wasn’t just about money? See… pastors are liars…” Now that we got that off our chest, let’s review and dig deep into an important verse.

1 Peter 4:10 says this, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”

I used an illustration a couple weeks ago about my babysitter as an example of profits and motives. Again, people need to eat and therefore people need to work, but I think we should tread lightly around the selfish motives of our world ruled by sin when it comes to differentiating between our “work” and the “service” that scripture is highlighting here.

I also want to highlight that there are many people who make incredible sacrifices in order to live a life of serving others as their occupation. In a society, we need all different types of roles for people to play, but we all can recognize that there are those who really embrace a sense of calling to meet the needs of others through their jobs. We should also be quick to highlight and appreciate the efforts of others who make this world a better place.

Then what is the point of reflection here? It’s the word “serve.” This is not an all-inclusive definition of the word, but how it is used in the above verse implies the key point we need to see. This type of serving that Christians are called to embody is an outpouring of God’s grace that goes beyond a human exchange of goods/services. In the same vein as the conversations around our “love languages”, we should not love someone only for how it might benefit us. Will loving others benefit us? Sure, most of the time, but if that’s the motive, the potential grace of that exchange gets lost.

So, why is money in the title if we are essentially talking about acts of service? Because our limited imagination regarding the power of our gifts and talents often revolve around this tricky word “mammon.” Without getting into the weeds, essentially “mammon” summarizes unjust (evil) influences that become objects of our worship, most often revolving around wealth. In even shorter terms; the love of money. The love of money doesn’t always look like being rich either. The love of money also isn’t always overt or intentional.

I believe that mammon pressures us all to see our talents (and time as we saw last week) as a means to the power that we are falsely promised through wealth. So, as soon as God reveals to us a gift or talent that God wants to show grace through, mammon is quick to whisper, “do you know how much money that could get you?” or, “do you know how much praise that would get you?” and so on.

These are those challenging teachings that Christians today, surrounded by a culture of consumerism that we have built/adopted, must wrestle with today. It causes us to question our motives. It causes us to answer the question of “what is enough?” or “What is this for?” It causes us to look deeper, beyond the external results or what we may receive “in exchange” for the gifts and talents we have been given.

Think back again on the familiar story of the widow and the two coins. We all know that in the eyes of mammon those two coins were worthless. But in the eyes of Jesus the wealthy gifts from the Pharisees were worthless. Why? Because the Pharisees weren’t sacrificing, they were trying to hustle God and people in order to come out on top. The widow knew exactly what type of service Jesus calls for as the golden rule for His New Creation. Sacrifice.

And maybe the sacrifices God is calling us to today isn’t to shower the many with our wealth, maybe it’s simply serving the One with ourselves.