Summary: sermon in giving
“Give” is not a four-letter word!
Time and Money – both are hot commodities in Northern VA. Both cause a great deal of anxiety in our lives because we never think we have enough of either. People are even now talking of the economy and about pouring money into it to “jump start it.” We as individuals complain we don’t have enough of it, but by the world standards we are living like royalty.
In our world money equates to power and many people strive for it, they ask, “how can I get more money?” Very few ask the question “what should I do with the money?” And even fewer ask, “How can I give more money?” To “give” now days has taken on a bad connotation in some arenas. Today even before Sept 11th you would have been inundated with pleas on T.V. to give. And televangelists have even given “giving” a bad name for churches. TV evangelists have a reputation for exploiting people financially. Now, this is not universally true, but that doesn’t matter. BECAUSE - the media has so stereotyped TV evangelists –as always having their hands out (stealing for little widow ladies), that we desperately want to disassociate ourselves from them..
And today someone will leave here saying, “I went there and all they wanted was money!”
But I want to tell you something. The Bible speaks more on finances than on any other subject, some 2000 plus verses in all. And since this is only the second sermon in 16 months on which we will learn the biblical premise of giving… I would have to disagree with you.
It is like a doctor prodding, poking until something hurts, he either pushed to hard or something on that spot is not right, so goes the pastor preaching on finances… certain members will cry out in discomfort, criticizing the message and the messenger. Either the pastor has pushed too hard. Or perhaps there’s something wrong. In that case, I say, “My friend, we’re in need of the Great Physician because it’s not supposed to hurt there.”
Oddly, we will believe what the bible says about Jesus, salvation, heaven, etc… but we don’t want to believe what it tells us about money, and giving. BUT because the Bible does speak to us about it, we must learn from it…The Biblical Teachings on giving…
These three particular items cover the Biblical ideals and concept of giving back to God.
1. There is the - TITHE – this equals to a tenth of what you have. The first mention of a “tithe” is actually in Genesis when Abram gave a tenth to the priest. And later in Leviticus the “tenth” was instituted as an actual command.
This command was that a tenth of ALL each person had would be consecrated unto God, that it would be brought into the local temple to be used for the service of the temple. And this tenth was not to be the last tenth but the first tenth and in fact there was to be no picking and choosing of the good and bad then the bad tenth given. Plus the command held that it was to be given at a regular systematic interval.
This idea of a command, that is to give to the Lord on a regular basis is indeed covered not only in the OT, in the NT it is mentioned in 1 Cor. 16:2.
What we call the tithe today is not really a tenth, for 94% of the church it is actually only a tip!!!
2. and then –
A Freewill Offering – offerings can actually be traced all the way back to Cain and Abel. They were offering to the Lord what was supposed to be out of their best… Abel gave out of the first portion and Cain…Well most of you know the story.
The freewill offering was to be something above and beyond the tithe. It was an expression of gratitude that was a spontaneous flowing from the heart. This was not giving out of duty it was a voluntary act of devotion. This is what your doing when you buy something for the church and turn the receipt in… it isn’t a tithe it is an offering. This act of giving from the heart was often for a specific need (in Exodus 35 & 36 to build the temple). So much was given then that Moses had to tell them to STOP!
3. and –
SHARING – In the NT this was distinctive and significant, it was giving that was done to meet a special need. It is discussed quite a bit in Acts and even in James.
This is giving that even goes beyond the previous two… It is that Christians would respond to the needs of others and share generously with them. As people would have need both the Church and the Christian would respond above and beyond the tithe or offering.