“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Mark 4:4-9
· Do you have ears to hear, understand and apply the truth Jesus was picturing in this vivid story?
The point Jesus was trying to make was about fruitfulness.
· A fourth soil life is the best kind of life to live because it is a fruitful life! Does your life bear fruit?
· What is fruitful? The fruit of a 4th soil kind of life:
The people you influence.
The impact you make.
The attitudes you display. Love , Joy ,Peacefulness ,Patience ,Kindness ,Goodness ,Dependability ,Meekness ,Self-control
· And how does one become fruitful? How does your life take on the characteristics of the 4th soil?
· The secret is in the farmer.
o The farmer is the one who prepares the soil to receive seed or truth from God.
o That farmer is you! …and a farmer is really a steward.
If you want to be fruitful you must steward your own soul.
How are you doing at farming or stewarding your own soul?
· In prayer, reading the scripture, relationships, integrity and morality …
But in this series we are zeroing in on one very important area of your life…your finances, or the way you manage your money.
If you want to be fruitful you must become good stewards of your finances.
· If you want to be fruitful…You must learn how to manage your financial life God’s way!
· If you want to be fruitful…You must determine to leverage God’s word about money!
· If you want to maximize your fruitfulness…You must become a careful and responsible steward of all the money God allows you to have!
How you steward your soul on this matter depends on which soil you happen to be:
Some of you are 1st soil kind of folks. It’s like you have a hard heart when it comes to money.
· When it comes to financial matters you do not let the word of God penetrate at all.
· You are immune to God’s influence on your spending.
· Despite nearly 2000 verses on the subject in the bible you will not even consider, or have not considered, that God has something to say about your money.
· You’re kinda an atheist when it comes to this topic.
If you want a 4th soil kind of life you can’t live with a 1st soil mentality!
Last week we looked at what it will take to steward your life OUT of that 1st soil truth resistant soil.
4 decisions you must make to open your life to God’s word on finances:
1. I believe God owns it all.
2. God and his kingdom are more important than my financial state.
3. I want to learn how to be more content.
4. I want to give God joy!
Let’s go further in the story…and read it again
Mark 4: 14 page 832
The second soil life is a life with no financial margin.
· It is a life with no room leftover after everything is acquired.
· It is a life so jam packed with stuff that you have no room to do good things with the money God has allowed you to use.
· It is a life with limited fruit.
Let me illustrate: $100 and how it all gets used up as you buy/acquire more and more:
· (after taxes) Housing, transportation, groceries, eating out, health care, clothing, entertainment, phone, debt which we’ll talk about next week, netflix, Starbucks, experiencing life costs
What’s left is…. Very little. You have no financial margin. That’s left when you’ve accounted for everything
· Unable to save
· Unable to be generous
· Unable to rest – Because living a 2nd soil life forces you to work extra to be able to manage the stuff and bills you’ve accumulated
This over commitment of financial resources has different names:
· Acquisitiveness- from acquire: excessive interest in acquiring money or material things (or experiences)
· Rapacity – rapacious
We come by this naturally. We are suburbanites.
Consumerism is the true religion of the suburbs. David Goetz, Death by Suburb
Why do I feel as if I’ll never have enough? Could this obsession with the good life just out of my grasp be a covert manifestation of evil in my life? David Goetz, Death by Suburb
The lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.
~ Richard Foster
So, How do we steward our lives better? What does God have to say about it?
..give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much
and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
God, help me to know when enough is enough!
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. ….I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philip. 4:12-13
God, help me be content!
Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16
(we’ll talk more about the turmoil part of this next week)
All of these verses point to one huge decision that you need to make if you want to steward your life and move from 2nd soil mentality to 4th soil mentality…
A vow of simplicity
Simplicity is the only thing that sufficiently reorients our lives
so that possessions can be genuinely enjoyed without
destroying us. Richard Foster
Practically speaking here are some key questions you must begin to ask to start removing the financial over accumulation of things in your life and free up financial margin:
Can I do without it?
Is it a need or a want?
Is this a status purchase?
Does it need to be this big?
Do I need this much of it?
Can I borrow it instead of buying it?
Can I fix it or make it myself?
Some of the most complicated spending issues will arise around these 5 important purchases:
Houses – what size do you really need?
Vacations – how many and to where?
Automobiles – new or used? How long will you drive it?
(check on these stats)
Education – especially undergraduate education. The average student loan load = >29K in Indiana
Weddings – average in Indiana >26K
ILL – young man or woman unable to follow a dream (fruitfulness) because of debt.
As a pastor this whole thing really bothers me when I realize that your lack of simplicity may be holding you back from real fruitfulness. We were so concerned about it that we decided we wanted to make an investment in your future and hire a pastor whose prime responsibility is helping us all become so much better at stewarding our hearts. It’s like we hired a 4th Soil pastor. And I want you to meet him today.
So, next week we’ll wrap up this short series looking at the 3rd soil…when our financial life is strangled with anxiety.