Summary: This message looks at 3 different times that Jesus commended people for what they gave.
Everyone enjoys being recognized for the good they have accomplished even if they do the “No really, you don’t have to” thing. They enjoy being thanked and acknowledged for what they’ve done, maybe not publically but people want to know they have made a difference in their world. The scripture that dearest to the heart of many is the picture of Jesus welcoming us into heaven saying, “well done my good and faithful servant.”
But the same doesn’t always hold true for money, at least for a lot of us we aren’t comfortable when we are recognized publically for our giving.
Apparently, there are some things that shouldn’t be talked about in public, sex, your giving and being a Habs fan.
When we did the capital campaign to raise the initial funding for our building there were three of us who made our commitments publically. It was part of the plan for the pastor and the campaign directors, to publically make their commitments as part of the leadership process and it was open to others on the leadership team if they desired to, and one other person chose to. We had people leave the church over that very issue or at least that was the excuse they gave.
What was it the man said, excuses are like noses everybody has one and they all smell. And so we were told that by publically stating what we intended to give we were putting people on a guilt trip. Guess we should have talked about sex, actually that is next month.
Or maybe we aren’t comfortable with seeing other people being recognized for their giving. We like to keep it a secret.
As a matter of fact people have a scripture that they trot out whenever the issue comes up, words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount, you are probably familiar with them Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Of course that criticism was levelled at people who wanted others to see how much they gave, right? All you have to do is go back one verse and you read Matthew 6:2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.
If the truth be known too many people use that scripture for the opposite reason, they don’t want people to know how little they give. But if we look into the gospels we see a couple of examples where Jesus very publically commended people for their giving, what they gave and how they gave it. And in doing so condemned others for their lack of giving or at least the attitude with which they gave.
So here we are in week last of our Stewardship month, “Giving to the Giver.” You can all breathe a sigh of relief. Money month almost over.
For those who are visiting with us or new to Cornerstone this is an annual event. Each Spring I take the opportunity to teach the theology of stewardship, which is a fancy way of saying we look at what the Bible says about money, what got, how we get it and what we do with it after we get it. Nice thing is that means I won’t ambush you about money throughout the year.
And we culminate Money Month with an event we call Step Up Cornerstone which happens today, and we will be talking more about that later in the service.
Sometimes pastors choose to not speak about money in church, maybe in hopes that somehow their people will learn about it on their own, perhaps by osmosis.
Or maybe it's because they feel that talking about money is too personal or too obtrusive. but Jesus talked a lot about money, he talked about the way people make it and what they do with it after they have it.
And because money is talked about in the scriptures, and because Jesus seemed to attach a great deal of importance to it, to the point of linking it to our eternities it is something that needs to be addressed. And we can’t just ignore it because it bothers some people and offends other people.
Seriously, what would happen if every preacher prepared his messages in an effort to not offend or bother anyone? You might as well open fortune cookies.
During Week one we spoke about “the Giver”, that would be Jesus. In week 2 we looked at “The Giver on Giving”, last week was “Giving to the Giver” as we looked t practical examples of people giving to Jesus.