Summary: This week, as we try to answer the question, “are we too rich to give,” we’ll consider our attitudes toward giving.
Are We Too Rich To Give?
Preached By Pastor Tony Miano
Pico Canyon Community Church
February 11, 2001
Introduction: Now that we’ve finished chapter one of the Book of James, we’re going to take a break from our study of that great letter. For the next three weeks we’re going to try to answer the question, “How can we give without regret?”
We’ll answer that question by asking ourselves three other questions. Don’t you love it when someone answers a question with a question? We’ll consider how we can give without regret by asking ourselves, “Are we too rich to give?” “Are we ready to give?” And, “Are we giving for the future?”
We’re going to spend the next three weeks looking at three verses at the end of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, Paul’s envoy to the elders of the church in Ephesus. We will look at several different passages in our study, but these verses in First Timothy will serve as the anchor of our study. In First Timothy 6:17-19 we read, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”
This week, as we try to answer the question, “are we too rich to give,” we’ll consider our attitudes toward giving. Next week we’ll check to see if we’re ready to give by considering our aptitude for giving. Finally, in our third week of the study, we’ll look to the future as we consider the altitude of the treasures we seek.
Seeing that our church is young and I’ve never done a series on stewardship, I thought it wise to ask some pastors with a little more time under their belt what they thought about doing a series such as the one we’re going to begin. Without exception, each of the pastors shared the merits and benefits about teaching what the Bible says about giving.
The next thing each pastor said was how difficult it is to put together such a series without conveying mixed messages to their congregations. Considering the climate in which we live, and the several black eyes the Christian community has received over the years, by charlatans and snake oil salesman who have but one message, “give a lot to me and maybe God will give a lot to you,” you can see why pastors have a difficult time broaching the subject.
Over the next three weeks, I hope you will find our study to be helpful to your spiritual growth, the health of you family, and the health of our church. Now, I hope you’re not expecting our study to be a pep rally, fundraiser, or telethon. There are a number of television preachers who can fulfill that expectation. No, we’re going to set our sights much higher than that.
My goal is that by the time we are finished, we will all see giving—and not just financial giving, but also the giving of our time and talents—as an act of worship. I want us to see giving as an act of worship that is not dependent upon our present financial situation, but dependent upon our spiritual maturity. I want us to see giving not as a religious habit, not as one of life’s necessary evils, but as yet another way to show the Lord that we are His.
Who is rich?
Before we can answer the question of the day, “are we too rich to give,” we need to define what a rich person looks like. My guess is that none of you consider yourself to be rich in a worldly sense. My guess is that most of you consider yourself to be middle class and you may have already answered today’s question in your own mind. Maybe some of you have already determined that there is no way you are too rich to give and think the whole idea is an oxymoron. “How can I be too rich to give?” Maybe some of you think you’re not rich enough to give.
Paul begins verse 17 by telling Timothy to “instruct those who are rich in this present world.” When we think of the word “rich,” we probably think of some of the following people.
Bill Gates Microsoft $63,000,000,000
Lawrence Ellison Oracle $58,000,000,000
Paul Allen Microsoft $36,000,000,000
Warren Buffet Stocks $28,000,000,000
Ted Turner TBS $ 9,100,000,000
(Source: Forbes Magazine)
Now, I know you are all heartened by the fact that Ted Turner is only ranked 25th in Forbes Magazine’s report on the 400 richest Americans. I know we are all hoping that things will turn around for him and he will be able to dig himself out of the financial hole he is in. After all, how far can nine billion dollars go these days?