Summary: It is impossible to outgive God.
Getting Fit: Generosity
Rev. Brian Bill
It’s really great to be back in the pulpit today, though I wonder if I should take a few more Sundays off. Didn’t Pastor Andy do a tremendous job preaching about witnessing last week? Actually, his sermon must have had some subliminal teaching about today’s topic because the offering was about 5 times more than it normally is! Check it out in the bulletin. Our weekly need is $10,860 and over $50,000 came in!
I received an email from Ken Fulkerson this week that makes me think that Pastor Andy should come back up here and preach again. Here’s what it said: “OK, Pastor Andy preaches and does a phenomenal job…hmmm…offering - $54,000…hmm. Don’t know whether to tell you to get well soon or take your time!”
I guess the pressure’s really on today because we’re going to take the offering after the message. One PBC member has dared me to do this for years because he thinks there’s a direct correlation between a good sermon and a good offering. We’ll see what happens.
Seriously, you can relax because I am not preaching in order to get you to give more to PBC. Our budget is doing fine. My concern is not so much whether we meet budget as it is whether each of us are honoring God with our finances because how we manage our money is directly linked to our discipleship. In fact, there are more verses in the Bible regarding our resources than about Heaven and Hell combined. Of the 38 parables Jesus told, 16 of them are about money. The Bible has fewer than 300 verses on prayer, less than 500 on faith and over 2,000 verses that deal with wealth and possessions! The inescapable conclusion is that how we deal with finances in general, and what we give in particular, is a big deal to God. And so we need to focus on our funds, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel because there is no way to separate faith and finances.
According to a new study on Christian giving called, “Passing the Plate,” more than one out of four American Protestants give no money at all. Of all Christian groups, evangelicals score best: only 10% give nothing and 36% report that they give less than 2% of their income. I was surprised to learn that the median giving for an American Christian is just $200 a year. One sermon title I came across captures the state of Christian giving: “Cirrhosis of the Giver.”
That really can’t be said about this church, however. I was really impressed, though frankly not surprised, by the results from the REVEAL survey that was taken by 222 PBCer’s a couple years ago. 47% of you report that you give 10% or more of your income to God’s work. This is certainly a generous group of people! When you throw in the well in Honduras, the Christmas Food Baskets, the WISH Backpack Project, the Caring Closet, the Gideon Offering, Project Angel Tree and Operation Christmas Child, this church is filled with joyful and generous givers!