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May 28, 2023

Kingdom Banking

Preacher: John Repsold

Keywords: finances, resources, kingdom, missions, banking


Various times in the Gospels, Jesus calls upon his followers to be sure they are engaging in good Kingdom banking. This message looks at how we do that and what happens when we do.


Kingdom Banking

Missions Conference Close 2023

May 28, 2023


INTRO:  We’re going to work into today’s Scripture by a brief and hopefully elementary discussion in economics…because, as you will see, it IS spiritual to talk about economics and money.

Q:  What is a ‘banking crisis’?  To answer that, think of the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life?  Jimmy Stewart, who plays George Baily, despite his big dreams of discovering adventure out in a big world, ends up taking charge of his father’s struggling little bank, The Baily Savings and Loan.  But, on the day he and his new bride, Mary, are married and headed out of town for their honeymoon, the Baily Savings & Loan has a “run on the bank.” As the movie so ably illustrates, a run on the bank can happen when people lose confidence in the bank’s ability to return to them some or all of the money they have deposited with them and everyone goes to the bank to withdraw their money.  In essence, the bank doesn’t have enough liquidity of funds to pay back all the deposits people have made with them and so they ‘fail.’

So, a banking failure is fundamentally a loss of confidence in a bank’s ability to deliver on its promise of handling money safely, securely and responsibly.

Q: How many bank failures have you lived through?  That depends on how old you are.  Look at this chart which give the years at the bottom and the number of banks and total assets of the banks that failed using 2023-dollar value (black line). 
Notice: While an average of 635 banks failed each year from 1921 to 1929 (think beginning of the Great Depression), the amount of money at stake was relatively small (black line).  That’s because most of them were like the Baily Savings & Loan—one branch, small, rural operations that didn’t have millions or billions deposited with them. The Great Depression ravaged our banking industry.  Between 1920 and 1933, more than 9,000 banks failed in America.  So the Federal Government created the FDIC (the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) which spent a decade cleaning up the U.S. banking system and guaranteeing that any member bank’s deposit would be “insured” for up to a certain amount ($2,500 then, today $250,000).  Since then, we’ve continued to have bank failures, as the graph shows.  But not nearly the number pre-FDIC. 

However, what has changed?  Clearly the amount of money involved in those bank failures. 

  • In the 1980-95 crisis that peaked in 1989, a total of 2,900 banks failed with collective assets of $2.2 trillion.
  • Then between 2007-2014, we saw 500 banks fail with total assets of $959 billion. That was brought on by the sub-prime home mortgage crisis.  [BTW, our own WaMu (Washington Mutual) that failed in 2008, still holds the record as THE largest bank failure in U.S. history coming in at $424 billion in 2023 dollars. 
  • This year, with the failure of just 2 banks (Silicon Valley Banks—SVB and Signature Bank), we’re already at the 3rd highest year in U.S. history of bank failures dollar-wise ($319.4 billion).

Q:  What is THE worst banking crisis? 

A:  The one that affects you personally the most. 

            Now let me ask you one final banking question related to how our country banks.  WHY do we put our hard-earned money into a bank instead of stash it under our mattresses (thought I’m sure there is some of that going on today too)?  Besides the comfort issues…it probably isn’t because you love banks…or bank managers…or even the tellers.  The benefits of keeping money in a bank are…

  1. Safety
  2. Convenience
  3. Return

The Bible actually speaks about banking.  EX:  Jesus spoke to the issue of return on investment when he told the parable of the talents/money and reproved the wicked and lazy servant that didn’t even put his one talent in the bank to draw interest (Mt. 25:26-17; Lk. 19:23). 

            So, what happens when there is a “kingdom banking crisis”?  Well, that’s when God’s people lose confidence in or refuse to put their confidence in what God says about money and its relationship to His Kingdom.  To determine whether or not I believe in Kingdom banking and the management of God responsible for that ‘banking’, let’s take a look at what God says about Kingdom banking.  What are the principles and promises God has given us about ‘banking’ this world’s wealth that comes to us in His Kingdom?  Only then will I be able to measure whether or not I am actually living as if I’m in a Kingdom banking crisis OR if I’m actually living believing in what God has said about Kingdom banking. 

            So, let me outline for you a few principles of Kingdom banking that will tell me whether my banking with God is sound or whether I’m in a banking crisis mode with Him.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 

21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • Sound Kingdom banking embraces the divine truth that we are wired to save wealth somewhere. In fact, we are commanded in this passage to accumulate/gather/store up/amass treasure.  Hopefully that doesn’t surprise you.  Most of us intuitively follow that desire to gain and manage wealth well.  We work jobs that earn money that allow us to not only meet our daily needs for food and shelter but set aside additional money for the future. It’s only when we are undisciplined or in slavery to other desires (like feelings we get from certain expenditures on entertainments or substances like drugs or alcohol or unnecessary food, etc.) that we trade building and saving wealth for something else.  The real question is, “Am I saving wealth primarily here on earth or also and primarily in God’s Kingdom. 
  • There is a related principle here: when it comes to WEALTH, there are only 2 possible places it can be held—on earth and/or in heaven.  There is no third option.  I can either amass it here and eventually bid it farewell forever when I die (which could be today or tomorrow) OR I can invest it in the coming Kingdom and, in some way, have it waiting and available for life eternal with God. 
  • Sound Kingdom banking embraces the divine truth that we won’t be able to hold onto wealth held on earth (“where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal) and we won’t be able to lose wealth held/banked in heaven. There is a certain “deceitfulness” or “deception” about world-based wealth.  Jesus talked about it in 13:22 in the parable of the soils when he said that often the power and fruitfulness of God’s word gets chocked out in our lives by “the deceitfulness of wealth.”  One of the deceptions of wealth is that it will not lose its value or be stolen by others in this life.  Let me tell you, IT WILL!  Another deception is that the process of amassing more wealth for this life won’t rob us of a life that builds wealth for the next.  IT WILL!  Yes, we all need money to supply basic needs.  But what we do with everything after that will display how much we’re being deceived by wealth or banking for the eternal kingdom. 
  • Sound Kingdom banking embraces the divine truth that my affections will follow my asset decisions (vs. 21)—for where your [my] treasure is, there your [my] heart will be also.” This is another somewhat self-evident truth that a little bit of reflection proves true.
    1. Take tangible wealth assets: real estate (house, apt, land), stock market, 401(k), car, clothes. Homeowners know that you spend a fair amount of time, energy and money maintaining a home.  You have to if you don’t want that asset to deteriorate.  People who are not invested in the stock market don’t really care whether it goes up or down.  People who are and have their retirement accounts there will probably spend more time following news related to the market.  If you invest your retirement in gold or silver or oil, you’ll be interested in how they are doing.  Our interest and even our affection follows our asset decisions. 
    2. People assets: marriage, family, friends, missionaries, the needy. If a certain group of people is where I choose to spend my money, their well-being, their success, their happiness will be where my heart is. On average today, it costs $260k-310k per child to raise a kid from birth to 18.  That couldn’t be one more reason parents are rather emotionally involved in their children’s lives, could it?  Add to that the “cost” of raising a spouse and we’re easily into million dollar territory for a family of 4!
    3. Lifestyle assets: experiences, good or bad, that require money (food, trips, entertainments, hobbies, addictions).

God knows that our energies, attention and affections will follow our asset decisions.  So every time I say “no” to a fund-raising appeal, I’m making a choice about where my heart is going to go.  Every time I say “yes” to another expenditure on my family or myself or a friend, I’m making a choice as to where my heart is going to go.  The same applies to ANY decision that impacts the Kingdom of God be it sending a kid to church camp in the summer, supporting your local church or sending a missionary to Asia, Africa or some other continent.  Our heart leads and follows our asset allocations. 

Which all leads to a very fundamental question about kingdom banking:  HOW do we exchange this world’s wealth for eternity’s wealth…and what will that wealth look like?

ILL:  Countries that have experienced hyper-inflation have to replace their currency.  They give citizens a set period of time to turn in the old currency in exchange for the new.  Or, in some cases, they adopt a completely new currency (like all the EU countries did when they together started switching to the Euro in 1999 and completely phased out national currencies by 2002.  After that point, if you had your nation’s old currency, it might as well have been monopoly money.  They gave lots of time and plenty of warning about what was going to happen. 

            So has God in regard to how every currency in this world is going to be worthless for the next life and kingdom.  Remember the parable of the rich land owner who was making money hand over fist and decided to build bigger barns to hold his bumper crops (Luke 12:13-21)?  God called him a “fool” because he did all his investing in this world and none in the next.  Jesus broadened that parable to all of us, rich or poor, when he gave the application in vs. 21-- This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”  That little statement in itself lets us know that “storing up things for ourselves” is the opposite of becoming wealthy in God’s kingdom.

Matthew 24 & 25:

Matthew 24 ends with these words of Jesus:   45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 

When we faithfully and properly discharge the responsibilities God has given us to care for people around us, Jesus tells us that some day in His Kingdom, God will use that as the measure of how much He is going to put us in charge of then.  How I’ve managed my family will determine how much God entrusts to me in heaven.  How I’ve cared for brothers and sisters in Christ will determine how much God entrusts to me in heaven. 

            That truth is carried into the next chapter, Matthew 25, in the parable of the bags of gold and 3 servants. 

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To 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. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The 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!’

Again, this reinforces the reality that good stewardship of wealth, of relationships, of time and abilities God gives us in life will determine, at some level, what God assigns us to do in the next life.  They both got to “share in their master’s happiness”.  But they received different responsibilities/jobs when the King returned. 

ILL:  We’re in “graduation season” right now, aren’t we.  Thousands of students in Spokane from kindergarten to universities are walking across the stage, receiving diplomas and degrees. 

Did they all work equally hard?  No.

Did they all get the same grades?  No.

Did they all have the same intellectual or social or athletic capacity?  No.

But they ALL are graduating as long as they achieved that minimum grade point average and fulfilled the class requirements, right?

            They won’t all go on to the same colleges or land the same jobs, however.  How they did in those classes and how well prepared they are for life will land them in different jobs or colleges.  All of them probably can look back on what they did and wish they had done some things differently.  But they all are celebrating graduation and moving on to the next chapter of life.

APP:  That is very much like our graduation from this life to the next.  As long as you’ve responded by faith to God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ, you’re going to walk across that stage, be greeted by Jesus and “graduate.”  We’ll all be super-grateful and super-happy in that.  But we won’t all move on to the same opportunities, responsibilities, assignments or experiences.  Depending on what we did with what God gave us in this life with Christ will impact what God involves us in in the next life. 

            So, stewarding/investing the resources/money/gifts/ opportunities God gives me in this life as best I can and into the best things I can (people and Kingdom impact) is HOW we make that great exchange from this world’s wealth to Kingdom banking. 

Two one-line parables in Matthew 13:44-46 tell us HOW this kingdom “transfer of wealth” takes place.  Jesus said, 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

            These parables cannot be talking about our salvation.  If they were, salvation would be all according to what we give up in life to ‘purchase’ salvation.  Jesus’ purchased our salvation, not us.  So if these parables apply to our choices, the treasure and pearl must be something that comes after salvation but is deeply influenced by it. 

The really striking thing about these Kingdom parables is that their purest application happened in God’s relationship to us, whether Israel as His chosen people or us as the church.  Jesus laid aside all His glory so that he could buy us, His bride, that which He incomprehensibly sees of great value.  That is humbling.

And it is that depth of love of God that should move us, having discovered the unparalleled treasure of Christ himself, the greatest treasure in life and eternity, to piece by piece, ‘sell off’ everything else of inferior value in our lives so that we can acquire what is of supreme value—more of God.  Every time we “sell” something we used to value, we have to make a choice:  Is what I am gaining of life with God worth more than what I am “selling” by letting go of this thing, this $1,000, even this relationship or experience?  This is what we are spending the rest of our lives doing—“selling everything”, piece by piece, bit by bit, choice by choice, so that I don’t miss out on THE BEST, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, THE MOST VALUABLE treasure in the universe—a fuller experience of God. 

Might this be what Paul (2 Tim. 4:8), James (1:12), Peter (1 Pt. 5:4) and John (Rev. 2:10) were referring to when they wrote about “crowns” in the N.T.?  John tells us that crowns in heaven are to be used in eternal worship of the Lamb of God (Rev. 4:10).  Might the level of our worship in heaven somehow be related to the value we are placing right now on “selling off” this life and the things of this life for the one love of our hearts, God himself?  We are being given a lifetime of opportunity to exchange what we value and love in our flesh for what we value and love more in the Spirit, in that Kingdom rather than this one, and in Christ rather than anyone or anything else.

Finally, Mark 12:41-43—

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

A couple of concluding truths about Kingdom banking:

  • God sees every investment in Kingdom banking, large, intermediate and small. He wasn’t critical of any of them. Every gift to the kingdom, given with a true heart, is noticed and recorded by God.
  • But Jesus was highly commendatory of one poor woman in particular that day. I’m sure there were lots of other poor people who also gave something that day.  But Jesus too special note of this woman. Whereas we humans are impressed with amounts, God is impressed by faith and trust.  In the kingdom banking system, giving out of poverty, giving everything, even when the amount seems completely insignificant, is a far larger deposit in the eternal bank than the way most of us give—out of our abundance and a small percentage of our total wealth. 

APP:  As far as God is concerned, some of you who live on the street but give God a dollar… or everything in your pocket today… is far more than all the rest of us put together who gave 1 or 5 or 10% of what we made this month. Kingdom banking doesn’t count dollars; it counts love and faith and abandonment to God.

So WHY am I preaching this message today?

  • I want to see every one of us become as eternally rich as possible. Eternal wealth is within the reach of EVERY one of us, regardless of income level. 
  • I want every one of us to be banking as much as possible in the Kingdom of God for as long as God gives us breath. Last month’s kingdom deposit may have been significant.  But God has given all of us another month…and, Lord willing, another year…or two or ten or fifty.  Like the power of compounded investing, I want every one of us to be delighted on the day we meet Jesus at the power of compounded Kingdom banking you and I will choose to do or not do this year.
  • I want every one of us to be engaged in kingdom banking through investing something regularly and specifically in the mission of God in this world—in world missions. To invest in what you know is at the center of God’s eternal love for mankind is to invest in world missions. 

APP:  Where do we currently stand in that last, specific application of investing in missions?

  • Pledged during the Mission's Month so far: $27,300
  • Money given year to date to world missions: $9,915
  • Number of giving units (singles or couples) that have returned faith commitments: 13 of a little over 100 potential giving units at Mosaic.

Let’s just assume we all take just 1-5% of the annual resources God is putting in our care and invest that in Missions:

  • If you’re a minor/teenager who has most or all of your needs taken care of by parents, what’s to keep you from trusting God for $20/month? You can mow lawns, babysit, work at fast food restaurants or get some other minimum wage job for 2 hours/month, and you’ll get to do some Kingdom banking for $20/month or $250/year…or more.
  • If you receive any government assistance or pension, be it SSI disability, EBT or SS retirement: of $800/month = (1-5%) = $8-$40/month = $96-480/yr.
  • If you have a job that pays $25,000/year: 1% = $25/month…(or 2 meals out or coffee 1/week. 5% = $125/mo. or $1,250/yr.
  • $50,000/yr. = $50-$250/mo. or $600-$3,000/yr. of Kingdom banking!

Let me get more specific to what this could look like today:

We need roughly $30,000 in additional faith commitments to meet our 2023-2024 annual need that will keep our current missionaries out on the field and our new ones, like Alfred & Jewel, on their trajectory into their first term. 

  • 70 people giving $40/month meets this kingdom banking challenge
  • 50 people giving $55/month

OR let’s suppose we have

  • 15 youth that trust God to use them to give $20/month ($3,600)
  • 15 people on SSI investing $40/month ($7,200)
  • 25 people giving $60/month ($18,000)

Totals   55 people (of 80 not yet giving)  $28,800

That leaves $1,200 in the whole year for the remaining 20-30 people not yet investing in Kingdom banking through missions. 

This is not impossible.  It’s really not even difficult. 

I know inflation is taking a bite out of all our salaries.  But can we trust God enough to look for Him to supply this need?  If God trusted us enough to give us these dear brothers and sisters who He has called to the ends of the earth, surely we can trust God enough for a few more dollars that we get to bank in His Kingdom forever!

[Walk through the Commitment Card:

  • No one is going to come back and ask you for a dime of what you commit. We just need to know the current faith level of Mosaic in order to be able to plan accordingly for our missionaries.
  • We ask for your email & name so, if you want to pray for a particular missionary, we can add you to their prayer letter group.
  • Make a duplicate card to keep in your Bible. Use it as a bookmark for your daily reading and remind God daily that you’re looking to him to meet you in your faith.
  • Give in faith, even before you know where it will come from, as a true step of faith.

VIDEO:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBCwP8KDMhs&ab_channel=JAARS%2CInc  (From 1:00:38-1:04:05)  As you fill out this card, I want to end with a 3.5-minute video which shows how God uses both those with lots of resources and those with little to get done the very world mission work we are involved in here at Mosaic. 

CLOSE:  If you engage in this faith journey of a Faith-Promise Commitment, I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed about how God provides and what He does.  And I can guarantee you that in eternity, you will never regret a single dollar you invest in Kingdom banking this year!