Summary: Part two of three in a stewardship series leading to Chest of Joash debt retirement Sunday, answering questions about why, how and when of making a commitment to give.
6But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Corinthians 9.6-8
Last week we investigated the WHY of our giving. This week it is the HOW of our giving. Next week will focus on the WHEN of making a commitment to give.
¡§How¡¨ involves ¡§what¡¨ also. Tithes and offerings are the substance; we should be aware that God requires a tithe. We bring the tithe, because He has told us without question that it belongs to Him. It is holy. In its purest form, the tithe is a tenth.
I have been asked over and over during my ministry, Is a tithe calculated on the net income or gross? Trying to nail that down is like the young lady to whom a proposal was offered:
Darlin¡¦, I want you to marry me. I love you more than anything in this world. I¡¦m not wealthy. I don¡¦t have a yacht or a Rolls-Royce like Johnny Green ¡V I don¡¦t have a condo in Palm Beach like Johnny Green, and I¡¦m not heir to some fortune like ol¡¦ Johnny Green, but I do love you with all my heart ¡V will you marry me? The young lady thought a moment, then said, I love you too with all my heart, and of course I¡¦d like to marry you¡Kbut now tell me more about Johnny Green.
If you calculate your tithe on the gross ¡V fine! If you figure it on the net ¡V fine! Paul helped us understand that we give according to conviction. They didn¡¦t have payroll deductions in Paul¡¦s day ¡V or social security. The point about the tithe is, however you calculate it ¡V it is holy to the Lord! The more important part is being faithful with what¡¦s holy:
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him¡K
C.S. Lewis said, I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.
The ¡§offering¡¨ or ¡§gift¡¨ is something above the tithe. The difference is made quite clear when it comes to the Chest of Joash. Our mortgage is paid each month out of our general fund. The general fund is where the tithes go. The gifts to the building fund should not be tithes; neither should the tithe go to new commitments to pay off the building.
In the letter you received about this Joash emphasis, we made the point ¡V if you are bringing your tithe, and are unable to give to the Joash chest, put in your card, promising to pray, and to give if and when God blesses you. Putting your tithe into the chest defeats the purpose of faith giving.
This thought leads us to the main idea ¡V the HOW of our giving is connected with faith. And your faith is connected to your heart! The principle then becomes¡K
Once your heart changes,
you will be able to take the giving leap of faith
Notice the STEPS in the HOW of giving¡K
Step#1. Believe giving is God¡¦s way
Giving is God¡¦s way. He gave us life, air to breathe and food to sustain us. It is also hard to ignore that heart-giving is God¡¦s way.
Once, a man said, "If I had some extra money, I¡¦d give it to God, but I have just enough to support myself and my family." And the same man said, "If I had some extra time, I¡¦d give it to God, but every minute is taken up with my job, my family, my clubs, and what have you--every single minute."
And the same man said, "If I had a talent I¡¦d give it to God, but I have no lovely voice; I have no special skill; I¡¦ve never been able to lead a group; I can¡¦t think cleverly or quickly, the way I would like to."
And God was touched, and although it was unlike him, God gave that man money, time, and a glorious talent. And then He waited, and waited, and waited.....And then after a while, He shrugged His shoulders, and He took all those things right back from the man, the money, the time and the glorious talent.
After a while, the man sighed and said, "If I only had some of that money back, I¡¦d give it to God. If I only had some of that time, I¡¦d give it to God. If I could only rediscover that glorious talent, I¡¦d give it to God."