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Chest of Joash, Part One: WHY?

(94)

Sermon shared by Russell Brownworth

March 2001
Summary: A three-fold rationale for keeping stewardship a primary focus in the church...It is a Lordship matter, Heart matter, and Eternal matter.
Denomination: United Methodist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Chest of Joash, Part One: WHY?
2 Chronicles 24 March 4, 2001

1Joash was seven years old when he began to reign,
and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem.
His motherˇ¦s name also was Zibiah of Beersheba.
2And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 3And Jehoiada took for him two wives;
and he begat sons and daughters. 4And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair the house of the LORD.5And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter.
----
8And at the kingˇ¦s commandment they made a chest,
and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 24.1-5, 8 KJV


This week every family of our congregation received a letter about The Chest of Joash. (I congratulate each of you for being here, knowing I would be speaking about money!)

There are three very important questions (relative to stewardship) which we will explore as we approach our Victory March to the chest on March 18th. The questions: WHY, HOW, and WHEN? One question each of the next three weeks. This morningˇ¦s question is ˇ§WHYˇ¨?

If you are a believer, you have heard many times how it is a Christianˇ¦s responsibility and joy to give. If you are human, your heart probably rebelled, alerting you to the fact that you really didnˇ¦t want to give.

You might have even had the thought cross your mind, "Who does that preacher think he is, telling me I should put MY money in HIS plate?" There are three responses Iˇ¦ve come to understand ˇV
a. Itˇ¦s not my plate;
b. Itˇ¦s not your money;
c. The preacher is supposed to tell the congregation to put the Lordˇ¦s tithe in the Lordˇ¦s plate on the Lordˇ¦s Day, and in the Lordˇ¦s way (cheerfully!!).

The story about the three pre-teen boys is one of my stewardship favorites. The first boy begins the bragging. He says, My Dad is really important. Heˇ¦s a songwriter. He scribbles a few words on paper, calls it a song, and they pay him $500. The second kiddo, not to be outdone, brags, He ainˇ¦t nothinˇ¦ ˇV my Dadˇ¦s a lawyer. He scribbles a few words on a paper, calls it a brief, and they pay him $1,000. The third little guy takes the cake, Ha! you think your Dads are important? My Dadˇ¦s a preacher. He scribbles a few words on a paper, calls it a sermon, anˇ¦ it takes six guys to haul in the cash!

Well, the story is funny, but it illustrates the untruth of the matter ˇV it really is Godˇ¦s plate, not anyone elseˇ¦s here.

Now that we have dealt with the issue that so-often keeps us from the real issues, Why IS it so important to talk about money in the church? Why canˇ¦t we just talk about loving God and let the money issue alone?
Several reasons ˇV but one underlying thought ˇV money is very ˇV even extremely important.
„« We watch the stock market.
„« We hear reports on the news of Government trade agreements.
„« We want a balanced budget and Social Security security.
„« There are robberies.
„« We see the poverty which is the absence of money.
All this about money. Money occupies a vital role in society. What we do about, and with the money, with which God blesses us, expresses much about our life and faith towards
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