9-30 Blog

3 Money Lessons from Luke

There are thousands of verses in the Bible that teach on generosity.

In fact, the four gospels reveal that Jesus regularly spoke on the topic of money and possessions. If you’re a church leader, this probably isn’t new to you. But, the Gospel of Luke especially captures these teachings.

As we read Luke and the money lessons the book provides, we see that Jesus wasn’t concerned about our relationship with money for the sake of financial well-being. He was concerned about money because He was concerned about our hearts. Jesus knew that there is only one throne in our hearts. We can place Him on that throne or money (or possessions or other desires), but we can’t put both there.

Jesus knew that there is only one throne in our hearts. We can place Him on that throne or money (or possessions or other desires), but we can’t put both there.

For so many in our congregations, there is a battle raging between making money the top priority or making Jesus the top priority. And if we’re honest, that battle creeps up for us too.

Money is clearly a topic of great importance to Jesus. If it’s important to Him then it should be important to us – both as individual believers and as teachers of His Word. As you talk to and teach your congregation about God’s design for money in our lives, I encourage you to turn to the book of Luke. It’s packed full of lessons we can learn about money.

Here are three of the many money lessons that can be garnered from Luke.

1. Our response to God’s generosity is generosity.

The beginning of Luke 8 tells of three women—Mary, Joanna, and Susanna.

“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” –Luke 8:1-3

In this passage, Jesus performed a miracle in the lives of these women, curing them from disease and evil spirits. In response, the women followed Jesus and used their resources to support His ministry.

Jesus’s generosity changed their lives and, in response, they embraced this generosity as well. And we are called to do the same thing.

God is radically generous to all of us. He displayed the ultimate form of generosity by giving us His only Son and continues to exceed our needs in our lives today.

If you are a Christian, Jesus has been abundantly generous and performed a miracle in your life. He brought you from death to life, from darkness to light, from hopelessness to a hope of eternity. This is true for every believer sitting in your church on Sunday morning. We are the recipients of God’s generosity. So with all the Lord has given us, let us respond to Him and to others with generous hearts.

Help your congregation see how Jesus has been generous to them, and the call for us to be generous in response.

Help your congregation see how Jesus has been generous to them, and the call for us to be generous in response.

2. A heart committed to money hinders a heart committed to God.

Another important lesson we can learn from Luke about money occurs in the Parable of the Shrewd Master.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” – Luke 16:13-15

Jesus could have just ended the Parable of the Shrewd Master when He said these well-known words—“You cannot serve both God and money.” And He could have chosen anything to be a potential idol. Like, “You cannot serve both God and sports.” But Jesus clearly chose to warn of the danger money can have in our relationship with God.

Why?

First of all, Luke tells us that there were Pharisees around Jesus who loved money. Certainly, Jesus was targeting them. And Jesus makes it clear that their hearts, which were serving money instead of God, would be judged.

But Jesus also teaches that money has a unique tie to our hearts, not just the Pharisees’ hearts.

For all of us, money management reflects heart management. And while money is meant to be a means for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom, it can quickly become an end. We can easily find ourselves placing our hope in money rather than God, and we will always find ourselves serving whatever we identify as our hope.

We can either serve money or God. We can’t serve both. A heart committed to money hinders a heart committed to God.

We can either serve money or God. We can’t serve both. A heart committed to money hinders a heart committed to God.

3. In God’s economy, the amount sacrificed supersedes the amount given.

Luke encourages us to embrace generosity and warns of the hold money can have on our heart. But it also shows us that the amount sacrificed is of greater value to God than the amount given.

“As Jesus looked up, He saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ He said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” –Luke 21:1-4

In this passage, Jesus and His disciples were watching the rich bring their large gifts to the temple treasury. It is possible the disciples were impressed by their giving. After all, the gifts of the rich could do a lot more to benefit the temple, right?

But Jesus had a different view on generosity. He could see the heart behind the gifts. He pointed out someone the disciples likely missed—a widow who gave only two coins. He said that she gave more than anyone else because she gave all she had. She sacrificed.

The point was that God is less concerned about what is placed in the offering plate and more concerned about what is left in the bank account. God is glorified in sacrifice, not necessarily the amount given. In God’s economy, the amount sacrificed always supersedes the amount given.

God is glorified in sacrifice, not necessarily the amount given.

 

As believers, we should take Luke’s money lessons to heart. If it mattered enough to Jesus to talk about it so much, we should be compelled to teach our congregations on the Biblical principles of money. May our response to generosity be generosity in return. May our hearts be fully committed to God and not worldly idols. May we be sacrificially generous, fully committed disciples of Christ. May we not shy away from teaching God’s people his command to be generous.

Art Rainer
Art Rainer

Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes and speaks widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity, and is the author of The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design for You and Your Money. Art lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.

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