Summary: Our stewardship should include tithing to support our local church.
A Handful of Peanuts
(The Law of the Harvest)
(As people enter the worship center, let them take a handful of peanuts from large containers.)
Amedeo Obici was born in 1876 in a small village near Venice, Italy. His widowed mother read him letters
from his uncle in America, and Amedeo told everyone he was going to America one day. Everyone knew he
was an exceptionally bright and enterprising child. By the time he was 11 years old, his family had helped
him save enough money for an immigrant's ticket to America, and he set sail by himself.
One story says Amedeo had no money for food, so his mother gave him a bag of peanuts which was all he
had to eat for the 10 day trip across the ocean. In this land of opportunity, Amedeo, at 11 years of age, went
to work as a bellhop and a helper at a fruit stand. He worked hard and saved his money as he had promised
Amedeo soon learned that Americans liked the peanuts he shared with them; but few, if any, were growing
them here. So, he found a place to plant the handful of peanuts he had left. While his peanuts were growing,
he saved enough money to buy a horse and wagon. When his peanut crop came in, he drove around calling
himself "The Peanut Specialist" selling roasted peanuts. By 1906 he had developed his own method of
blanching and roasting peanuts and founded Planters Peanuts headquartered in Suffolk, VA. He became
wealthy enough to send money to his family in Italy; and, years later, he gave to the city of Suffolk the
Louise Obici Hospital named after his wife.
Now, Amedeo had only a handful of peanuts; but he had the choice of what he could do with them. He could
have eaten them or sold them, but he wisely chose to plant what he had so that, in time, he would have
enough to eat, give away, and sell to send money to his family. I don't know if Amedeo knew about the Law
of the Harvest in the Bible, but he certainly practiced it! Look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
When you came into our worship center you reached into a bowl and got a handful of peanuts. Some of you
took a large handful; others took just a few.
That's alright, because each of us is different. Keep those peanuts and let them represent the resources God
has given you. Like Amedeo, you have choices to make with what you have: You may eat your peanuts.
They'll taste good for the moment, but then you won't have any left! Or, you may just hide them in your
pocket and keep them. You, also, have the choice to divide them: You could eat some and sell some. We all
need to eat and pay for our basic necessities. You might share some with others. A wise choice would be to
give the first 10% to God knowing he will honor that and bless what you have left.
The Biblical practice of tithing is connected to the Old Testament covenant with Israel. Jesus renewed the
tithe in the New Testament when he spoke with the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23. However, the New
Testament goes further under our new covenant of Grace. Under grace, when we're saved we give
ourselves and all we possess to God. When we say Jesus is our Lord, it means that we should consult him
about everything! When we're thinking about giving to his church, we ought to ask him how much he wants
us to give.
Personally, I don't believe God will lead Christians to give less under Grace than he asked the Jews to give
under the Law. I believe the tithe is the minimum every child of God should give. My family's practice is
that we give 10% right off the top of our salaries to this storehouse, and we add some to that for an offering.
Then, we're free to give above that to our work in Jamaica and to a few other charities. We can't give to
every worthy cause, but we do try to give regularly to two or three additional ministries the Spirit has laid
on our hearts.
1. The Principle, v. 6
Now, I want us to look again at the Law of the Harvest to see the Principle, the Practice, and the Produce
we're promised. The Law of the Harvest is a principle stated in 2 Corinthians 9:6. I can summarize that
principle in 8 words: "Plant little, harvest little; plant much, harvest much!" Unless some other
circumstances take their toll, that principle will work. If you invest a little bit, you can only expect a small