pastors, two simple teachings on giving

Pastors, we are all tax collectors
Why did Jesus teach about money? Because He was making disciples. He knew that how we spend money, time and our talents indicates where are hearts are settling, what we worship. In Matthew 6 Jesus says, “24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.” This is the first essential Jesus wants your congregation to hear, how we use and think about our money and monies indicates our heart’s worship. And without Jesus we are all tax collectors.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector in Luke 19 is a case study that illustrates both the positive and negative uses of money-how £££ used Zacchaeus before he encountered Jesus and how he used £££ after they met. Nine short verses in Luke 19 tells both sides of the story,
Zacchaeus before Jesus
Zacchaeus was rich, but for all his riches he was looked down upon by the people. His riches came from cheating; defrauding (8). He was a thief. He thought he was holding on to his funds but they actually were holding on to him isolating from others. His job choice made him small. Proverbs 11:24 states, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger. The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Zacchaeus worshipped money and this worship is what really makes him smaller, and not just in stature. Then Jesus enters; “they all grumbled.”(7) But change is coming.
Zacchaeus after Jesus
From a lonely man whose house no one wanted to enter into or eat with, Zacchaeus is welcomed into relationship. Jesus is willing to enter his home, “…I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus is so moved that he worships. How? Verse 8 gives us the answer; Zacchaeus standing in the public, gives away what he formerly held dear. He gives half his wealth to the poor. This leads us to the second essential Jesus wants your congregation to hear. Ephesians 4: 20-4, 28:
“But you have learned nothing like that from Christ, if you have really heard his voice and understood the truth that he has taught you. No, what you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way of living, which were rotted through and through with lust’s illusions, and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes of the new life which was made by God’s design for righteousness and the holiness which is no illusion.
If you used to be a thief you must not only give up stealing, but you must learn to make an honest living, so that you may be able to give to those in need.”
Like Zacchaeus, we are all tax collectors. That’s why “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke: 19:10) Our monies are either using us, or we are using it. And if we are using our monies as a disciple of Jesus we have to be like a changed and transformed Zacchaeus, giving to those in need.
Only someone who has been in great need can understand the needs of another; only someone who has been small and unloved can understand the love of a large and holy God. We are all tax collectors till we worship Him.