Summary: Generosity & celebration go hand in hand
Title: First fruits From Faithful Followers
Bible Text: 2Chron. 31:1-12
Subject: How can we say Thank you to God?
Complement: By being generous and celebrating all He has done!
Main Idea: Generosity and celebration go hand in hand.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
Intro: Today we are celebrating what God has been doing and continues to do. We are not the first group of people to do that and we won’t be the last. In actuality, celebrating God is what we do every Sunday, it’s what we call worship! Worshiping God can be difficult to nail down. The reason is that different people worship God in different ways depending on their temperament, their background, their tradition. Some like singing praise songs more, others like hymns.
An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended a big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
"Well," said the farmer, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."
"Praise choruses?" said his wife. "What are those?"
"They’re sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer.
"What’s the difference?" asked the wife.
The farmer said, "Well, if I said, ’Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ that would be a hymn. But if I said, ’Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,’ that would be a praise chorus."
Meanwhile in another part of the state a young Christian went to his local church usually, but one weekend attended a small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
"Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."
"Hymns," said his wife, "What are those?"
"Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.
"Well, what’s the difference?" asked his wife.
The young man said, "Well it’s like this: If I were to say to you, ’Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:
"Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth. Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.
"For the way of the animals who can explain There in their heads is no shadow of sense, Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.
"Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight, Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed. Then goaded by minions of darkness and night They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.
So look to that bright shining day by and by, Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn. Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.
"Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."
The bottom line is that there are different preferences but one thing we can all find again and again in our Bibles is that when people worship there is to be a sense of celebration that takes place!
So the question is an obvious one; How can we truly worship God?
I. Returning Wholeheartedly To God Is A Cause For Celebration. (2Chron. 30:18-31:1)
A. Returning Requires Knowing We Have Drifted Away. (Chapt. 29: 6-10)
1. We see that the Israelites had drifted away from God.
ILL. I remember visiting an aquarium last Summer. I had my 7 year old son with me and I told him to stay with me as we moved around looking at the various tanks of fish and aquatic life. It was a bit crowded and so I mentioned again that he needed to stick with me and keep his eyes on me. We had lots of fun but it wasn’t long until the next thing I knew I looked up and he was gone. We had become separated. He had taken his eyes off me and been distracted by a big tank of shinny bright fish and had gone left when I went right.
a) We all know how spiritual drifting occurs.
b) One day we are reading our Bibles faithfully, praying and striving to obey God.
c) The next thing we know we look around and we are distant from our heavenly Father and not on the same path with him.