Anyone who grew up in Baptist churches remembers the dreaded "Stewardship Sermon." On this infamous day of the year, the pastor would wax eloquent (cough, cough) about tithing, while we all fought drowsiness and hoped there weren't any visitors at church that day. Some of us were even unfortunate enough to attend churches that featured an annual Stewardship Series.
I have heard it said that Jesus talked more about money than about Heaven or Hell combined. I haven't done the math, but it sure seems to be true when I read the Gospels. Yet when I read what Jesus has to say about earthly riches, it isn't dry and boring like the old Stewardship Sermons, or spiritual pollyannaism like the current "Prosperity Gospel" preaching. Jesus spoke about money with a strong tone of realism, mixed with a willingness to challenge the way we think. Our Lord certainly wasn't about fleecing His followers; He died virtually penniless. Instead, He wanted to set us free from the bondage most of us feel toward our finances. And He wanted to show us how to be rich eternally.
Not surprisingly, Jesus spoke about money in the Sermon on the Mount. This Sunday, we'll see what He had to say in Matthew 6:19-24.