Summary: This could be used as a stewardship sermon and hopefully would get people to realize that their is more to being a Christian than just filling a pew. Hopefully this sermon compels people to look beyond the superficial and truly look to their heart.
(a note about the opening illustration; It is not my own but i don't know where I actually found it originally, it is tucked away with some notes I have.)
There was a man who called a church and asked if he could speak to the Head Hog at the trough. The secretary said, "Who?" Then she gathered herself and said "Sir, if you mean our pastor you will have to treat him with a little more respect than that and ask for the Reverend' or The Pastor.' But certainly you cannot refer to him as the Head Hog at the Trough." The man said, "I understand. I was calling because I have $10,000 I was thinking about donating to the building fund." She said, "Hold on for just a moment-I think the big pig just walked in the door."
In our world today it seems we sometimes become tempted to change our tune when substantial amounts of money are on the line, and the church is not immune. Even in our churches we sometimes play favorites, sometimes it seems that we treat those who give more like they are the cornerstones on which the church is erected.
Sometimes we even act like we should be recognized more than others for our contributions and sometimes we want people to know what we have given or what we have done. Folks that is not the way it’s supposed to be.
Let’s look at what Jesus says about it (read Mark12:38- 40)
Jesus said don’t be like that the scribes that like to walk around in long robes, and that like to be recognized when they are out and about. The ones that like the best seat at church and at parties and suppers. They devour widow’s homes and then make long prayers to cover up their wrongdoing. They will be condemned. (He was talking to the very folks that were doing this)
Let me ask you a question. How often do we see people that are just in church for show? They dress up and come in because they want to make sure someone sees them there. They talk religion, they talk scripture, they talk a good game, but are they really sincere, or are they doing this just to get noticed. Are they all High and Holy on Sunday but come Monday they are pushing the other hogs away from the trough just because they can. Are they sincere or just playing church, pretending to be a Christian.
(Read Mark 12:41-44)
The treasury was right outside the place where the people worshiped. It was a chest with a long funnel looking attachment. People would walk by and put their money in. Imagine Jesus sitting there amongst the scribes watching the people go by and drop their money in. Not paper money but coins.
The rich would put in lots of coins and make a lot of noise. (Example). Then the poor widow drops here change in. The scribes and Pharisees probably didn’t even notice. They were to busy with the wealthy and trying to look important. But Jesus noticed, Jesus always notices those on the margins of society. He told his disciples look that poor widow put in more than anyone else. Everyone else put in a surplus, Everyone else put in leftover money, Everyone else put in what they thought was enough, but she put in all she had. The Widow had faith trusting that God would provide for her needs.
How often do we just give God leftovers or just what we think is enough? Did you know the average Christian gives less than 3%. Let me ask you something who does it really belong to?
I know how hard it is to step out in faith. I’ve been there (example) but I think when we don’t give we miss out, and I’m not talking about just out of obligation, but give because it makes us feel good, cheerful giving.
Personally I think we need to get off this 10% kick. I think we should give all we can, I think we should strive to give our very best.
You might ask me why I believe that well here’s why. God gave His very best for us, he didn’t have to send His Son, Jesus didn’t have to die, he gave us His life so that we might be saved and we act like we are doing God a favor when we put $100 in the offering plate when we are in a job or position that pays us 4 or 5 thousand dollars a month.
Luke 6:38 Jesus says, “ Give and it shall be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.