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.
Because of His RELATIONSHIP with us, God no longer tells us what we MUST give back to Him by LAW. He trusts us to give generously … and CHEERFULLY as he as prospered us. It’s a JOY to give a tithe back to God … and when we can give even ABOVE the 10% of the LAW, that’s when giving REALLY starts to be FUN.
A few times someone has told me, “I want to tithe regularly, but my wife (or my husband) doesn’t agree. What should I do?” Here’s what I think makes sense. Give the amount you BOTH can agree to give regularly … and give it CHEERFULLY. Don’t allow giving to become a point of contention in your home. Chances are, when you experience giving regularly and cheerfully, you will find yourself WANTING to increase your giving in the future.
And part of the reason I feel sure about that is because of what God promises in the next verses of II Corinthians 9: 8, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.