Summary: Sixth message in the series, this one dealing with the issue of tithing.
Blessings of Following Christ
#4 – We Get to Handle God’s Money (Part 2)
November 18, 2007
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
I know it’s coming up on Thanksgiving, and you were probably thinking I would preach about Thanksgiving.
And I’ll be tying that in, but I promised last week that I would answer questions about the issue of giving, because I don’t think it’s enough to just preach a sermon and say, “You should give,” without looking at the questions that people really deal with in their hearts about giving.
I mentioned last week that the Bible is filled with teachings about money. I found some documentation for that this week:
“In fact, there are more verses in the Bible regarding our resources than about Heaven and Hell combined. Of the 38 parables Jesus told, 16 of them are about money. The Bible has fewer than 300 verses on prayer, less than 500 on faith and over 2,000 verses that deal with wealth and possessions! The inescapable conclusion is that how we deal with finances in general, and what we give in particular, is a big deal to God. And so we need to focus on our funds, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel about it.”
(Brian Bill, pontiacbible.org)
Me: Let me state once again for the record that what I’m sharing over these two weeks has nothing to do with anything I’m “supposed” to teach about regarding money. The denomination doesn’t give me “talking points” that I’m supposed to use when discussing money and giving.
What I’m sharing with you is the result of my own study of the issues of money and giving from Scripture and my own application to my own life.
I’ll be referencing my applications of these things throughout the message, but it’s not because I think I’m so perfect about all this or I feel the need to toot my own horn– because I’m not.
My purpose is to show you that I know what most of you are either going through right now or have gone through in the past when trying to discern just what God would have my family and me do in terms of giving our limited income to God through the church.
This stuff isn’t always easy for me to apply. But I’ll be honest. It’s easier for me to do it than it is to preach about it.
We: Why is that?
Because I don’t want to give anyone the impression that the church is after your money. That’s not the point.
When I was growing up, whenever a parent called for a “family meeting,” it was never a good thing. It wasn’t a meeting to see how everyone was doing, or to praise one of the kids for doing something well. The purpose of the meeting was to call someone on the carpet. And so I came to fear the term “family meeting.” I would just freeze with fear or anticipation of getting in trouble for something.
That’s how a lot of people react when they see that we’re going to talk about money at church.
So let me tell you that my purpose is not to lay a guilt trip on anyone or to beg for money.
My purpose is simply to let you know that part of the blessing of following Christ is that we get to handle God’s money.
And the primary way we handle God’s money, aside from meeting the needs of our family, is to invest in His kingdom.
You’re going to hear that phrase a lot today – investing in God’s kingdom. Because that’s how I think Scripture views our giving. It’s an opportunity to see God use the funds you give back to Him to advance His Kingdom and bring Him glory.
And I’m not giving these messages because we’re about to start a fund-raising campaign or something.
One member of the church was a very wealthy man who had never been known for his generosity. The church was involved in a big financial program and they resolved to pay this man a visit. When the committee met with him one afternoon, they said that in view of his considerable resources they were sure that he would like to make a substantial contribution to this program.
"I see," he said, "so you have it all figured out have you? In the course of your investigation did you discover that I have a widowed mother who has no other means of support but me?" No, they responded, they did not know that. "Did you know that I have a sister who was left by a drunken husband with five children and no means to provide for them?" No, they said, we did not know that either. "Well, sir, did you know also that I have a brother who was crippled by an automobile accident and can never work another day to support his wife and family?" Embarrassingly, they responded, no sir, we did not know that either. "Well," he thundered triumphantly, "I’ve never given any of them a cent so why should I give anything to you?" (SermonCentral.com. Submitted by Dennis Fakes)