Who's The Master Of Your Heart
Okay, I'm going to warn you. Brace yourself please. More than half of Jesus' teachings are about money. I can see your eye roll from here. "The church always talks about money. Father so-and-so only cares about money. All they want is money. Why do they talk about money so much? We should talk about something more spiritual." Hear me again. Over half of Jesus' teachings are about money. And about two thirds, maybe even three-quarter, depending on how you count, of Jesus' parables have something to do with money. It's even more true in this gospel of Luke, where that theme of how you use your money and your possessions runs through the whole gospel over and over and over again. And this parable today and the teachings that accompany it do that exact same thing. Why is that? Why does Jesus talk so much about money? And a better question, I think, really is why does talking about money make you and me so uncomfortable?
In fact, I have zero doubt that if you ask people what's the subject you want to hear the least about at church, the answer would unanimously be money. I know. I served as a pastor. I've preached three times a week for 20 years. I've heard the sighs. I've seen the crossed folded arms. I've encountered the resistance of rolling eyes, shrugs, and frowny faces. So let me ask you a question, an honest question. If money is the subject that makes us the most uncomfortable and yet money is the subject Jesus talks about the most, do you think maybe there's a connection? If it's the subject that makes us the most nervous, the most anxious, the most squirming, the most resistant, and yet Jesus continues to insist on bringing it up, maybe, just maybe he knows something. Maybe that's why he's bringing it up. Maybe Jesus realizes that the greatest competition he has for our hearts is our stuff. The greatest competition that God faces for your heart isn't Satan. It's money.
Maybe Jesus knows that if we're not careful, you and I can grow so attached to things and money and possessions that we become detached from him. Because when you're in debt, when you're stressed, when you're borrowing, when you're spending more than you can make you feel owned. You feel confused. You feel desperate. You feel enslaved. When your life goals are financial first, you are in danger. So hear me, Jesus doesn't want your money. He cares deeply about your heart. And he makes it clear that money is a spiritual issue. Why? Because your heart follows your money. You think it's the other way around. You think it's that your money follows your heart. But no, no, your heart follows your money. Let me demonstrate. When I was 15 years old, my family moved from North Carolina down to Florida. And when I got to Florida, I discovered something fantastic, Girls, God's best work. Wow.
Really began to notice these girls. And I began to do extensive studies on guys who got to spend time with girls. And I realized that they all had a car, and I didn't have a car. So I went to my dad and I said, "Dad, I, I need to get a car." And he goes, "What do you need a car for?" And I said, "Well, because I want to spend some time with girls." And he goes, "That's great. How are you going to pay for your car?" "And well, that's kind of why I came to visit." And he goes, "Well, you better have a plan B because I'm not paying for your car." So I got a little job and I was selling tennis shoes in a sporting goods store and saved up my $3 and 35 cents an hour, extravagants that I was earning there and began to save and began to save and began to scout out for the car. And I found just the right car. Beautiful, beautiful Volkswagen Rabbit with, oh - I don't know - 300,000 miles or so. And so I was only about $500 short. And so I went to my grandmother and I said, "Grandma, my dad's not going to help me pay for this. I'm only about $500 short." She says, "How much does it cost?" I said, "$550." And I only need 500 more dollars to be there.
And she said, "Okay, I will loan you the money. In fact, I'll give you the money if you'll make me a promise, that anytime you ride in any car for the rest of your life, you'll always wear a seatbelt." I said, "I'll make that promise." So anytime that you ever see me, if you and I are riding together, you'll notice I'm wearing a seatbelt, no matter where we are, even in the driveway to honor my grandmother. But this was a special car. This was a holy car. It was a 1976 lime green, think leisure suits and shag carpet, Volkswagen Rabbit with, eh, 300,000 miles. But it was special. It was holy because it was a foot washing car because anytime that it rained - and in central Florida, it rains about every single afternoon - the back floorboard would fill up with water just on the passenger side, not on the driver's side. So the back passenger side floorboard would fill up with water. And so when you'd have a girl with you and you'd be riding down the road, when you'd stop at a red light, that water would come slushing forward underneath the seat, and it would wash her feet. And when you start going again, that water would recede and slide back into the back floorboard. No matter what we did, we couldn't get it to stop that leak. But it turned out to be perfect. It was a foot washing holy Thursday, Monday, Thursday, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, kind of holding his car, a foot washing car. And I loved that car. I loved that car.
I started getting up every Saturday before I would go to work. I'd get up at 6:00, 6:30 in the morning. I would wash that car in the driveway. And then I would wax that, turtle wax clockwise, counterclockwise. I'd get armor on and spray the dashboard and the console and the tires. And I would Windex the windshield. I just took care-- I couldn't spend enough time with that car. And pretty soon, I began to do it two times a week. And then pretty soon, I said, "I need to wash this car and shine it and wax it every single day." I was spending all my time with my car. I couldn't wait to get up and spend time with that car and take care of that car. All my energy, all my attention was going to that car. Why? Because I had sunk every single penny I had into the universe into that car. Your heart follows your money. That's why Jesus says in this gospel today, you can't serve two masters. You can't serve God and mammon. Mammon's a fancy word for stuff. You'll either hate one and love the other. Why does Jesus talk so much about money? Because your heart follows your money. Jesus doesn't want your money. He wants to capture your heart.