Summary: Sermon #4 of 6 sermons in a series entitled "I’m in!" which focuses on the ways members of a local congregation will participate in the life of the church. This one deals with stewardship issues. Ideas borrowed from Southeast Christian Church, Louisville,
CHCC: January 25, 2009
So far in this series we have addressed the issues of worshipping together, studying the Bible together, and serving together. The assumption is that if “I’m in” as a member of CHCC these are the things I will do on a regular basis.
Today we’re talking about GIVING… now, you knew we would arrive at this topic sooner or later. I’ll do my best to make this message as painless as possible while staying true to scriptural admonitions.
And I know people’s minds are on football, since the Super-bowl is only a week away. We want to help you really “get” today’s message … So we’re going to try to put today’s topic of “church giving” in football terms.
VIDEO: Bluefish TV Sports Sunday – “The Ushers”
We want all our members at CHCC to excel in GIVING … but more than that to be CHEERFUL GIVERS! Notice what the apostle Paul had to say about this topic.
1. Give with Cheerfulness!
II Corinthains 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
God doesn’t want you giving to His Church out of mere obligation or duty … any more than you’d want someone tossing a gift at you with a sneer: “You always give me stuff, so I know if I don’t give you something you’ll be mad at me. So here’s your stupid birthday present. I hope you’re satisfied!”
Notice verse 7 says, Each man should give what he has decided in his heart. We don’t wait until the plate gets to our row to reach in our pocket and see what we pull out. God asks us to give REGULARLY and PROPORTIONATELY. We give as an act of worship, and we give in proportion to our income.
How do we decide what amount to give? How much would God consider to be a generous gift? Think of it this way. Let’s say you take a group of your friends out to your favorite restaurant to celebrate some special occasion. (Maybe your team won the Super-bowl.) You ask for your favorite table and your favorite waiter. You see the fine print of the menu where it says, “A gratuity of 15% will be automatically added for parties of 8 or more.” But when the bill comes, the tip hasn’t been added in.
You realize that the waiter knows you well enough that he’s trusting you to give him a generous tip on your own without him having to charge you the standard 15%. Maybe you’re like me. When a Waiter gives good service and DOESN’T add the gratuity to the bill, I ENJOY giving him or her MORE than the minimum!
Back on Mount Sinai, God gave the Jewish people this LAW: “A tithe (that’s 10%) of everything from the land … whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees… 10% of everything belongs to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30) But we are no longer under the law. We live under GRACE. We have been given so much more. We’ve been given forgiveness and eternal life in Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. We have the guidance of Scripture and the fellowship of the church and the privilege of living and worshiping in a free country.