Summary: Fifth message in this series. This is part one of a two-parter about how we view money: as ours or God’s, and how that should affect how we handle it.
Blessings of Following Christ
#4 – We Get to Handle God’s Money (Part 1)
November 11, 2007
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Today we’re going to talk about money. And let me tell you, I’m not comfortable doing that, for a couple reasons.
One, I don’t want to be accused of laying a guilt trip on anyone to increase their giving. That is certainly not my intention, and you can believe that that is not my motivation at all.
Two, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that the church is all about how much money we can squeeze out of people.
Unfortunately, the church around the world is seen that way, in large part because of what people see on television, with preachers talking about how without your money, they will have to limit or cancel their ministries around the world.
And while that is true for some ministries, I have to admit that I share the skepticism of those who wonder why that guy on TV with the mansion, planes, and really cool hair can’t give some of their own money to support their ministries.
I don’t want us to be viewed as a religious organization that’s only interested in your money.
That’s the main motivation behind why we use offering boxes in the back of the sanctuary instead of passing the plate for your tithes and offerings. We want guests to not have to worry about us wanting their money.
Besides, the boxes are more reflective of how offerings were received at the temple in the Bible than any idea of passing the plate. That’s not even in the Bible!
“Yeah, you need to pass the plate on Sundays, because that’s the way Jesus says to do it in Mark 17!”
Today I want to look at a passage that I think really forms the core of how giving should be viewed in the life of the Christian.
Next week I want to take a look at some questions that people ask about giving. There are all sorts of questions that come to mind when we talk about giving.
What about tithing? Actually, I’m going to address that one today, at least a little.
What about when we don’t have enough money to give?
Should we give when we don’t feel like it?
If I give like I should, will I become wealthy?
Or as people ask, “If I give, will it mean that I or a loved one can get into heaven?”
These are real questions that people wrestle with. And they can’t just be dismissed by a pastor or teacher.
So next week we’re going to look at some questions – questions that others have asked of me, and questions that I have asked as I have wrestled with this over the years.
Me: I didn’t get much teaching about giving as I was growing up.
About the main thing I can remember was when I was in second or third grade, we were given a box of little bitty envelopes with numbers on them.
We were supposed to put money in these and then put them in the offering baskets at church during the service.
I don’t remember them saying anything like, “Put ten percent of your allowance in the envelope and bring it to church,” or anything like that. They may have said it, but I was probably too busy looking at the cool envelope to hear it.
“They don’t give these envelopes to just anybody, you know. You need to be in second grade to get them. You first graders are too immature for these…”
It wasn’t until I had come to know Christ for myself and started attending a Bible-believing church that I started really hearing about this whole thing about giving.
And I don’t claim to have it all figured out even now. I’m walking through all this just like you, and I’m asking God to help me live a life of faith that allows me to implement what I do know.
So today I’m just going to share with you what I’ve found in Scripture about handling God’s money.
We: One thing I think I can say confidently is that all of us are conscious of the role that money plays in our lives.
We’re aware of what comes in and what goes out, and we keep close tabs on it because it doesn’t grow on trees and we need it to take care of the necessities of life.
Because for some reason, the electric company doesn’t care that you’re a nice person – they want money for the electricity you use.
When you fill your car with gas, they want real money for that. They don’t care if you’re struggling financially – they want money for that gas.