Summary: Daring to Be Givers Series: Daring Faith Brad Bailey – November 18, 2018
Daring to Be Givers
Series: Daring Faith
Brad Bailey – November 18, 2018
Today…we are concluding our Fall focus on Daring Faith.
Faith has a daring nature to it.
If we understand that faith is the intersection where finite beings respond to an infinite God… it means faith is choosing to trust what we by nature do not fully understand…or control.
Some of us may find that exciting… but many of us will find that challenging. Human nature likes to have a full understanding…and full control. We want to think we can understand….and control.
We really want to be like God…but we are not.
So faith is not a break from reality…it is facing reality…the reality that we are not infinite.
Faith calls us to live as the finite in relationship to the infinite.
That sense of dare becomes most clear in God’s call to be givers.
In the days before the time of Christ, in which God raised up prophets to speak to the people… God spoke through the prophet Malachi saying:
Malachi 3:8-10-11 (NIV)
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings….10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.
You can hear the divine dare in daring faith. It is the only time God says “Test me.”
To appreciate this challenge…we need to understand that God was restoring a partnership to be managers of God’s provisions.
So God addresses us as mere mortals… the finite…those who are not the ultimate source of anything. He speaks of the irony of such mere mortal finite beings robbing Him…He who is the source of everything. It is not a matter of robbing God of resources…but of treating what he has given as if it is our own.
He is confronting the people for failing to be partners in their communal needs. They were called to be a nation of people united under God…with a responsibility to honor God and care for one another.
That included giving the first tenth of what they had gained to the storehouse where it would provide for the place and provisions of worship …along with offerings that would serve those in need. It was part of establishing His reign over in a new people. He was declaring “I am your king…and you give to my new kingdom community.”
God had formed them to understand that their communal needs were not simply a matter of praying that God would provide…but understanding that they were partners. He was providing to them and they were to set aside provisions to meet those needs.
We tend to think there are two ways to think about the material resources we receive in life:
One is: We are the source of our life resources…so what we get…we own.
Some recognize that life’s resources didn’t originate from us…so we may see God is the giver…he is the provider… and we are merely passive recipients.
But God says we are managing partners in that provision. He provides to us and THROUGH us.
So God is confronting them…that they are not being faithful partners. A “faithful” partner is literally “faith filled”…and they were not operating with faith.
What we find is that our relationship to money…and giving…usually reveals faith more than any other. So God confronts them… they may have thought that everything was fine… carrying on some form of religion….but God reveals what only our relationship to money reveals.
So lets quickly unpack…
Why Does God Dare us to Give? And then …
How Can We Become Daring Givers
Why Does God Dare Us to Give?
1. Giving represents TRUST… the essence of relationship God wants with YOU.
Can you hear the heart of what God is after?
It’s not money…it’s trust.
God is after the heart of his people… my heart…your heart.
It reminds me of a parent getting the family some food…and they give it to the child…perhaps in the front seat…to pass out…and the child begins clutching what was given. Dad reaches for a bite and they clutch it. They begin to fear sharing it. They begin to trust in what was given more than the giver. We naturally think how ridiculous they are. But I wonder if it’s much different from what we may do every day.
The parent had provided…but now that provision is not being fulfilled. SO they do have a provision issue…but the parent is more deeply faced with the loss of trust and relationship.