Summary: This is a stewardship message based on Elijah and the Widow
If there is one type of sermon that really bugs people more then any other, one sermon topic that really bends people out of shape it’s when the preacher talks about money,
That’s right good old filthy lucre. He can talk about adultery, not a problem, stealing, murder, lust s’alright. When he preaches on cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women we cheer him on. But let him talk about money and well, he’s gone from preaching to meddling.
It’s great to watch people when you talk about money because they frown, cross their arms look disgusted and hold unto their wallets all at the same time.
I don’t know if it’s because it makes us feel guilty, or if we think the church shouldn’t dabble in such worldly things as money or what. Maybe it’s the scandals that happened with the TV evangelist back in the late eighties. When one of those fellows was photographed with a hooker I don’t know what upset people more, the fact that he was with a prostitute or that he was driving a Jaguar.
And I don’t like men of God begging for money any more then you do, but fourteen chapters into the bible the tithe is introduced when Abraham gave Melchizedek that mysterious king and priest of God, ten percent of all he owned.
So God introduces the tithe in the first book of the bible and it’s there again in Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament. And Jesus spoke more about our money and how we use it then he did about prayer, bible study, or heaven and hell.
When the tabernacle was built God asked his people for money, and when the temple was built God asked his people for money, and when the temple was rebuilt God asked his people for money
And because the Christian’s financial responsibility to the church is biblical based, I would be irresponsible if I failed to preach on it. So prepare yourself for Denn to meddle and for you to get bent out of shape.
But be thankful because I only preach on money once in a while, and I never try to sell you a brick, or a blessed cross, or a prayer cloth or offer you a free book for your gift of twenty dollars or more.
It’s the giving of God’s people which allows the church to exist. It’s the tithes of God’s people that provides outreach into the community and allows us to support missionaries overseas. And I’m hopeful that this message will reveal the privilege we have of being able to return a portion of the gifts that God gives to us, to him.
How many people here have ever taken their kid’s to MacDonald’s. Ok you’ve taken the fruit of your loins to the golden arches, you’ve forked over some of your hard earned wealth, received your dinner and now you have retired to one of the tables to indulge yourself in these culinary delights.
You begin this experience of excess when you realize that you’ve only ordered one large fries, now if there is only one thing that MacDonald’s does extremely well it is their fries, and so you reach over to junior’s side of the table and help yourself to one of the fries. When suddenly his hand is upon yours he looks deep into your eyes and says, “Don’t eat my fries”. His fries? His fries? Who earned the money for the meal? Who drove the car to get to the golden arches? Who ordered the meal? Who paid for the meal? His fries?
Been there, done that? Sure you have. His fries! But how often do we refuse to give God some of our fries? After all isn’t he the great provider of all our french fries?
God provides for his church through people who he has provided for. It has been said that God’s multiplication begins with our subtraction. And I believe that. Matthew 25:23 The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! ’
The scripture that Larry read this morning illustrates this truth. 1 Kings 17:8-9 Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. There is a widow there who will feed you. I have given her my instructions.”
1) Her opportunity This widow had been chosen specifically to provide for Elijah. Too often we view giving as an obligation, don’t we? Let’s be honest. We see our tithes and offerings as one of the prices we have to pay for eternal life. The cost of passage on our celestial journey to heaven. You know the thought, “salvation is free but you’re going to have to pay if you want to keep it.