Summary: What are we declaring when we give our weekly offering to God. Powerful insights are given by Solomon to his son. (A couple of families changed their giving practices as a result of this sermon)
CLOSE: Now, my closing illustration deals with something other than “planned giving” but it’s it shows how faithful God is in matter of money. How many of you are familiar with a concept known as a “Faith Promise Rally?” (Get response) For you who don’t understand the concept, many churches use it in supporting their missionaries. During the “Rally” Christians are challenged to make a “Faith Promise Pledge” that – in essence – is a promise to give a specified amount of money to missions ONLY if God supplies it above and beyond their ordinary income.
A few years back, Harry Reinfelder attended a Faith Promise Rally at his church, and decided to give a certain amount of money. His immediate first notion was that even if God did not give him the extra money, he would be able to pay it anyway.
After further thought, he decided that his philosophy went against the whole concept of faith giving - giving back to God - so he made a faith promise of "thousands of dollars," and determined "it had to be from God."
His promise set the wheels in motion for God to perform a series of events that would exceed his wildest dreams.
Reinfelder made the pledge in the fall, and months later God still had not supplied the money. His wife Nancy thought the money was supposed to be paid monthly, but Reinfelder told her if God wanted them to pay it, He would provide first.
In the spring, however, his faith promise became reality.
Reinfelder and his wife owned and operated a resort on Munuscong Bay in Michigan’s upper Peninsula. One day Reinfelder received a call from the Michigan Outdoors television program, asking if they could do a show from the resort with Reinfelder.
After the crew arrived, Reinfelder was delayed and couldn’t take them out until long after the generally accepted fishing time. A he was getting ready to go fishing, "something told me to get a salmon net," which is a larger net than what he had originally prepared.
Reinfelder used light tackle and no steel leader, and a walleye fishing lure. A short time later, "I hooked into what I thought was a snag. At the same time, I heard the cameraman turn the camera on."
What he thought was a snag, turned out to be a 50 inch muskie. After playing the fish for 5 to 7 minutes, a very unusual thing happened, "the fish became docile and laid on the surface." At that time, he used his salmon net, "which the fish swam into - all recorded on film."
It was at that time that Reinfelder realized that God would supply the money through "publicity and notoriety." He was right. After being televised on Michigan Outdoors, his business skyrocketed, providing three times in profit what his original faith promise had been.
When Reinfelder took the money to the preacher and told him that he was the one who had made the large pledge, the preacher had his own story. When he saw the card and the amount of money pledged, he thought it was a kid playing a joke and threw the card away!
In addition to providing the faith promise, the muskie has opened other doors for Reinfelder to minister. He was able to sell his resort and go to work for a business that provides flexible hours for his new ministry. He now travels to various churches telling his "fish story." "People have accepted Christ because of that story," he says.