Good Morning Everyone! Welcome to Hope City Church! We are so glad that you’re here today . My name is Pastor Peter and I’m thrilled to be with you all. Today we are concluding our message series called Making Change. We’ve worked our way through three Big Ideas so far, Let’s see if you can remember them. The first was… Less is More, The Second was “Stress Is Bad”. And the third was “Giving is Good”. Which leaves us with today’s final message, “Tomorrow Matters”.
Speaking of tomorrow, next Sunday we are kicking off a brand new series here at Hope City called ‘the Pursuit of Joy’. If you know someone who is wondering why Life is turning out the way it is, or if they’ve ever felt really happy, and then felt really sad… and wondered what’s wrong with them, you should invite them to join you at church next weekend for ‘The Pursuit of Joy’. Let’s now go to part four of Making Change.
I am thankful for all that God has been doing in the last three weeks in the message series Making Change. Let’s be honest, so many of us need to make some significant changes when it comes to our finances. We’re sick and tired of struggling, and the good news is that God has powerful, life changing truth. We’ve been applying big ideas over the last several weeks into our lives in order to make changes.
All of us have been spoiled with the now, “I want it now, gotta have it now”. Do you guys remember this noise? everything is getting faster. What used to take time, is now on hyper drive. It happens NOW. For example, in my life if you’re a good friend and I send you a text, honestly I expect to see bubbles relatively quickly on my phone. I want to know you’re texting me back quickly. Why? Because we’re good friends.
If I’m streaming a video on Netflix I don’t want it to buffer, I want it now. If I’m watching my favorite show, guess what, I don’t want to wait until next week for my show to come on. I want it to roll immediately into the next episode. I want it now.
I’m not alone in this. You’re there too! We’re impatient at traffic lights. We can’t wait in lines anymore. And then when we talk about things like maturity, and growth, we get frustrated that it doesn’t happen overnight.
We’ve been so conditioned to want things now that it’s really difficult for so many people to actually think about tomorrow. In fact one of the places that we see this show up, and we see it in so many places, in our relationships, in the way we take care of our bodies or don’t take care of our bodies, but perhaps one of the most obvious places we see this today centered mindset is when it comes to our finances.
In fact, according to an article I read saying, 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. 78%. Three out of four people living paycheck to paycheck.
I just want to say for a moment that I do understand for some people it’s almost an accomplishment to do that. I know there’s so many people that a single parent raising three or four kids with a college degree and no one’s hiring in their field and they’re in a job that doesn’t pay very much and you’re actually doing pretty good just to put food on the table. I don’t want to heap guilt on so many people who really are working hard, sometimes two jobs. All of you single parents out there, let me be the first to tell you that you are my hero. There are some nights when I get to the end of the day and I’m tired of being a parent. And I am blessed to have Tiffany in it with me!
Let’s be really honest. Can we be honest for a moment? The vast majority of people do not have to live that way. The problem is we have a ‘today centered’ mindset and we’re not actually thinking about tomorrow. We’ve adopted the phrase YOLO, and rolled with it. We’ve trivialized the Latin phrase ‘Carpe Diem’ and boiled it down to do whatever feels good for today. We’re so good at seizing today, often at the expense of tomorrow.
I get it, Tomorrow can be too hard to think about. Tomorrow can be overwhelming. But like it or not, Tomorrow is coming. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
Turn with me in your Bible’s to Matthew chapter 25:14. That’s page 677 in the Bible’s around you. Jesus tells this parable, or a short story to make a point.
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
This master divides up his money, and heads off on a journey, an undescribed amount of time. He gave 5 bags, 2 bags, and one bag to each of his servants.
16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Two of the men took the money, and put it to work scripture says. Do you know what that means? They invested it. Jesus essentially said the two guys put their money to work and their money made money.
It brings us to our first point today, and that is that we should “Maximize Today to make the Most of Tomorrow”.
When God trusts you with something you have a choice of what you do with it.
You can do what many people do, and that is they spend all they have—Consume it all.
On the other hand, you can spend some, you can give some, and perhaps you can invest some.
The beauty of the phrase YOLO, or You Only Live Once is that it captured the imagination of an entire generation saying, tomorrow isn’t promised, live life to the fullest today. TRUE! Tomorrow isn’t promised, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be planned for.
These three men had a decision to make. Would they maximize their today, in anticipation for what tomorrow would bring? Each of these men made a decision of what to do with their master’s money. Look at what happened when the master returned.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
Two men made money, and one made nothing of it. Look at what the master says.
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
Don’t miss this. Then the master said to the guy that only had one, that lost his one, do you know what he called him? He called him a wicked and lazy servant. Now, not just lazy, but wicked. You didn’t think about tomorrow. You weren’t wise with what I trusted you with.
Do you know what is the problem here? The third guy, had no value on tomorrow. He was afraid of it. He was unwilling to prepare for the future out of fear. Which leads us to our second point, Stay Future Focused.
God uses our today to impact tomorrow. He will use the decisions you make today to impact tomorrow. They are inexplicably connected to one another. Today and Tomorrow. There is always going to be another tomorrow so long as you have today. Stay Future focused.
I have a friend who owns his own business, and he and I grab lunch from time to time. One of the things I love about our conversations together is when I say, “So what are you working on now?” Because there is always some scheme in his head that he’s working on now, but catch this, it’s always future oriented. In fact, when you diagnose the success of his business it’s not because he’s done a great job with business yesterday, it’s because he’s continually thinking about what can be done in the future!
Without a doubt, my friend is FUTURE FOCUSED!
Look back at what the man did in the beginning of this story.
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.
He entrusted his wealth to the servants while he was away on a journey. He didn’t give it to them without a reason. He gave it to them on purpose for a purpose. He entrusted them with it in order for them to do something significant with it.
Here is the principle that Jesus said, “Whoever is faithful with a little will be blessed with more”. Whoever is faithful with a little, and what was faithful to Jesus? Those who multiplied what they had. Whoever is faithful with a little will be blessed with more.
If you invest wisely you might actually multiply what you have, and then you have more. God may look at that and say, you’ve been faithful, I can trust you with even more than that.
When we realize that tomorrow matters it’ll change what we do with resources today.
Or the way we are putting it for our third point is that Tomorrow Changes Today. If tomorrow matters, it impacts what we will do today.
Let me share with you how this impacts my life. So, as pastors there is a common joke that almost every pastor understands. We say things like, ‘It may be Monday, but Sunday’s coming.” There is always something to get ready for, always a message to prepare. SO, let me tell you how Tomorrow changes my today. I know that because Sunday is coming, or Tomorrow is coming, I’ve got to do things differently today. It means that Saturday nights I have to get in bed early. It means that I say No to some Saturday night events/parties/gatherings because Sunday is coming. My tomorrow changes my today.
Do you know what I notice though? There are too many people that neglect this principle. They say, I’m going to live for today and that impacts or changes their tomorrow. Why… Because today you spent all your money, all your energy, all your time. And it impacts tomorrow.
I was a youth pastor for 11 years before becoming a campus pastor. And over the course of those years I inevitably put myself through countless “All Nighters”. We would take 100+ teenagers around town, plan activates that would keep them busy from 7pm to 7 am the next day. After playing hours of dodgeball, scavenger hunts, midnight bowling, and many other things, my Saturday was SHOT, and my Sunday was no better. I poured everything I had into today at the expense of tomorrow.
Some of you run yourselves ragged today, and you are no good for tomorrow. This applies to what you give your time, your talent, and your treasure, or your finances.
In fact, if you’ll look in your notes I put down just kind of a little formula that is pretty much guaranteed over time.
Here’s a little formula that 2 out of 3 men in this parable understood. Money plus consistency plus time equals wealth. Money plus consistency plus time equals wealth. If we put a little bit aside, we invest a little bit consistently over time in even a marginal investment, money plus consistency plus time equals wealth.
Let me tell you what, wealth is not bad when you use it to do good things. Right? I’m going to say this again… half of Jesus’ parables are about money. And 1 out of every 10 verses in the N.T. are about the proper place of money. It is a spiritual matter. Money is not bad. Loving money more than loving God is bad. In fact, that’s called idolatry. An idol is anything that you put in the place of God. Anything that you allow to have your attention, your love, your admiration. If that thing is anything other than God, it may very well be an idol.
We don’t have to be like rocket scientists. Some people teach a really simple principle. 10, 10, 80. What do we do? We’re blessed with 100%. The first 10% we give to God. Then we put 10% aside. We’re either saving it or we’re investing it over time. Then the other 80% we live off of ourselves. Even CNBC has noticed this principle. Tomorrow Changes Today.
Some of us just need to think a little bit smarter about tomorrow. We go back to our principle from week 1. We’re going to say NO for a while so we can say YES for the rest of our life. For example, let me give you a question… Which would you rather have? Would you rather have $1,000,000 today or a penny that doubles every single day for 30 days? If you’re like 90% of the people in this survey you’re going to say “I want the million dollars now, because a penny today, two tomorrow, then four, then eight, then 16, then 32 pennies. After the first week I’d only have 64 cents! I want the million dollars now.”
“Well if you did that you sold yourself way short because if you had taken the penny that doubles every day, after 30 days you’d have had 5.3 million dollars. All you settled for was a million dollars.” Consistency and Faithfulness matters! Why? It’s a great principle that illustrates where so many people are, “I want it now “. Money, plus time, plus consistency equals wealth. We must learn how to discipline ourselves for today, so that way we can be ready for tomorrow.
When we understand that tomorrow matters it will change what we do today.
Some of you are saying, “I am a single mom and I barely can do anything. It is so tough and my world is paycheck to paycheck.”
This is the season that some of you are in. You’re in that season where you can’t hardly anything, but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be there forever. If you feel discouraged maybe one day you’re going to look back and say that was just the then, and you will be amazed at where God has you now! When you recognize that less is more, financial stress is bad, giving is good and tomorrow matters and consistently over time you start doing the right thing, guess what happens? God meets you in your faith.
Little by little you start doing better. Little by little you start learning. Little by little you pay something off. Little by little you’re even more generous. Then you make your first investment, then you’re putting some aside for retirement and years go by.
Today, it doesn’t matter, if you’ve got a whole lot of money in the bank, or your bank account is 100 dollars overdrawn. The principles of what we are talking about applies to all of us. Notice that in the story Jesus tells, the master isn’t concerned with the amount of the money. It was what was done with what he gave.
What legacy are you going to leave? What are you doing today to make tomorrow better? And not just better for yourself, but better for the world around you. How can you make a change today that has ripple effects for Jesus for years to come. That’s what we call a legacy.
Let me tell you about my friend Dave. Dave is an older gentleman who has lived a very successful life. Dave was the executive pastor at my church in NJ. Dave was an exceptional man who loved Jesus and understood that tomorrow matters. And it changed the way that he lives today. Before Dave became the Executive Pastor at our church, Dave was the CFO of BP, an international multi billion dollar company. And it is safe to say that you don’t get to that position without being quite generously compensated for it. Now, you would never know this about Dave based upon his lifestyle. In fact, there is a funny thing about Dave that I always thought was odd. He and I bought our cars from the same place. We both bought our cars from Manny, the used car guy. He had a gas station on the corner of the road and he purchased wrecks and fixed them up. Imagine this, the CFO of a multi-billion-dollar company driving a straightened wreck. Well, it came time to sell his old Honda Civic… the miles were getting higher, and it was time. So, I knew this was coming, so I said, Hey Dave, what card did you end up with. He said, oh, I got a new car. But let me tell you what his new car was. His new car was a year older than the car that he had just gotten rid of. WHY?
Because Dave wasn’t living for today. Dave was living for tomorrow. He knew that you could either pile up a lot of loot or leave a lasting legacy. It is a decision that we all will face at one point in time or another.
SO let me ask you, what are you living for? Today or Tomorrow?
What is your legacy going to be? Or maybe a better question is, what do you want your legacy to be?
You can change all of that right now! God may have given you some incredible finances, you’ve got cash. What are you going to do with it to honor God, and bless others?
Maybe you’ve got some incredible leadership skills. Well what are you going to do with it to honor God and bless others?
Maybe you’ve got time right now. Well what are you going to do with it to honor God and bless others?
In your program today we’ve put a legacy card. Everyone go ahead and pull this card out. I want to invite you to take this card and step out in faith. We have set up our legacy fund here at Hope City to equip our church to do things that leave a lasting legacy. I want to encourage you to fill this out and after service today you can drop it in a bucket in the back on your way out.
God has entrusted us with so much. The question is what will we do with it? Because tomorrow matters we will make change today.