I discovered an interesting piece of trivia during my reading on technology, and I thought it might have some homiletical value. You are welcome to use this illustration as it fits in your sermon or lesson, and as always, give productive feedback before I send it in to Our Daily Journey.
And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? (Luke 16:11).
Johannes Gutenberg had an idea that would change the world, but he needed money to finance it. He contacted his neighbor, Johann Fust, who loaned him the cash to build his first printing press. Gutenberg initially made his loan payments by printing indulgences for the Catholic Church. The job paid well, but Gutenberg had higher hopes for his new machine. He wanted to print Bibles—magnificent books with Gothic letters that resembled a scribe’s meticulous style. But his 1200 page Bibles took too long to produce and sell, and in three years he was bankrupt. Gutenberg handed his press over to Fust, who used it to publish a wide variety of books throughout Germany and France.
While he must have been annoyed to watch someone else make money from his invention, at least Gutenberg could be pleased with how he went out. It may have been bad business to print Bibles rather than indulgences, but Gutenberg had no doubt which was more valuable. Ironically, the world agrees, for the same Bibles that once bankrupted Gutenberg are valued now at $30 million each.
Have you faced a Gutenberg decision? Tired of taking advantage of others, you chose to value the Word of God above all else, and you discovered there is a cost to following Christ. Perhaps you gave your best advice, even though it meant steering your customer to another shop. You charged your normal fee rather than gouge a client who might pay more. You chose to marry your live-in fiancé, knowing that marriage would cut your government assistance in half.
Jesus said that your financial sacrifice is a down payment on everlasting wealth. Because you have been faithful in the “little things” of “worldly wealth,” you will be entrusted “with the true riches of heaven.” What a deal.