Summary: Analysis of why people don’t give and reasons for giving.
- A Barna research study back in April 2000 found that only 8% of born-again Christians give 10% of their income or more.
- We’ve obviously got a lot of work ahead of us this morning.
Three questions about your attitude toward giving:
1. Who owns your money?
- "That’s pretty obvious, pastor. I own my money."
- Wrong - the Bible teaches us that everything we own belongs to God:
1 Cor. 4:7 - ". . . what do you have that you did not receive?"
- Everything that we have we have received from God.
- When I understand that, suddenly the focus isn’t on my generosity ("I’m giving God 10% of my money") but on God’s generosity ("God is graciously letting me use 90%").
2. What makes you feel safe and secure?
- A lot of people feel safe because they have a lot of money in the bank or a high-paying job.
- The Bible teaches us that our safety and security is not in our paycheck, but in the fact that each of us is a child of the King:
Heb. 13:5 - "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’"
3. Will there be a report card?
- This ties in with the first question I asked. Many of us believe that our money belongs to us, so we don’t envision any accountability for what we do with it.
- Matt. 25:14-30 makes it very clear that we will be judged for how we handled the money entrusted to us.
- Our checkbook reveals a lot about our priorities. As Hilbert Berger once prayed before an offering: "O Lord, no matter what we say or what we do, here is what we think of You."
Perhaps as I’ve asked those questions, you’ve realized your giving is not what it needs to be. Now, I want to give you some positive reasons for improving your giving.
- The only reasons some people can think of for giving is "Because I have to" or "I feel guilty if I don’t." But I want you to look on giving not as something you have to do, but something you want to do.
Three reasons you should want to give:
1. What you keep, you lose - what you give, you keep!
- Most of us think, "The utilities I paid for and the stereo I bought, at least I got something for my money. But the money I gave to the church, it’s just gone."
- That’s not true. In fact, it’s exactly backwards.
- All the stuff we bought, we’ll leave behind when we leave this world; but the money we gave that the Kingdom of God might increase, we will see the dividends of that on the other side.
- Investment firms say, "Invest for the long term." I couldn’t agree more: invest for eternity.
2. Giving will bring you more joy than hoarding!
- Where did we get the stupid idea that you can get more joy out of buying something else for yourself than you can out of giving generously to someone?
- If you want more bang for your buck, try spending it on someone else. Their joy will bring you lasting joy.
3. You cannot outgive God!
- Luke 6:38 - "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. . .."
- 2 Cor. 9:6 - "He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but he who sow bountifully will reap bountifully."
- I’m not talking about a shallow health-and-wealth, God’s-gonna-make-you-rich gospel, because God’s greatest blessings are rarely in the form of money. I simply mean God desires to bless you in so many ways.
If your giving is not where it needs to be and you’ve decided this morning you want to do better, where do you start?
A couple of quick suggestions:
1. You’ve got to commit to an amount to give.
- If your finances are a mess and you can’t commit to a tithe right away, that’s ok. But commit to a specific dollar amount each payday that will come off the top.
- If you only give whatever’s left over, you’re not going to give Him anything.
2. Commit to increasing it.
- You might decide every six months you’re going to increase it $5. You find the timing and amount that are plausible for you.
- As your finances straighten up, you can slowly move toward the level of giving you want to be at.
This is not about you and the church budget; this is about you and your relationship with God.
Does your giving "stop" at nothing, or does your giving stop at "nothing"?