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Summary: Sermon #3 in Stewardship series. This talks about why anything short of the full tithe is robbing God.

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Stewardship Series #3

“Giving God Your Treasure”

Malachi 3:6-12

One day a certain old, rich man of a miserable disposition visited a rabbi, who took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window. "Look out there," he said. The rich man looked into the street. "What do you see?" asked the rabbi. "I see men, women, and children," answered the rich man. Again the rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. "Now what do you see?" "Now I see myself," the rich man replied.

Then the rabbi said, "Behold, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, but you see only yourself."

I want to start out my message this morning by making something very clear. We are going to be talking about money, especially as it comes to worshipping God by giving Him our tithes. Money can be, and probably has been, a contentious issue with some people. No matter what is said this morning, I want you to know this one thing: I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU PUT IN THE PLATE EACH WEEK.

On my way home for lunch on Sunday afternoons, I have seen the tellers counting the money, but I have never stopped at their table and asked “How did we do today?” I have never asked about who has given what. For the most part, I avoid them all together, except to share some light banter. The only ones who know what goes from your pocket into the Lord’s hands are God, yourself, the tellers and church treasurer. All I know is what I give each week, and I can tell you if you want.

This morning, we have sung some beautiful church songs. We have lifted our hearts to heaven with our words and our prayers. But what happens to a church that does not worship God fully? I know that money is a very sensitive issue. We, like a dog on a bone, are very protective of our resources and defensive when questioned about them.

There are many different factors that impact a person’s reason for giving what he or she gives to a church. They range from personal church involvement (the more time you invest, the more you give & vice-versa), personal faith, age, and attitudes about the pastor have an impact on how much, or how little a person gives.

I want you to notice something special in verse 10: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse...” God’s word to His people is that He wanted them to bring the WHOLE tithe into the storehouse. Of course, this passage is talking about grains and such, but I want you to notice something special here. Although God accuses them of stealing from Him (vs. 8), the people are oblivious to it. In fact we see that, also in verse 8, the people question God in the matter: “How de we rob you?”

They were either not aware of their wrong doings, or they feigned ignorance because in their eyes they were still GIVING! God does not accuse them of not giving anything, but His charge is they were not giving it ALL! Many of you this morning have been giving. From the depths of my heart, I want to thank you for that giving. However, you are fooling yourselves if you think that just dropping something in the plate is an act of worship. We MUST bring in the WHOLE tithe!

The CHURCH as a whole in North America has become ANAEMIC when it comes to giving. In fact, the average church attendee gives a total of 1.9% of their monies to God. When you split the difference between Mainline Churches (Catholics, Anglican, United etc.) and Evangelicals, the percentages are the average Mainline church attendee gives 2.5% of the annual income, while Evangelicals, on average, give 3.5%. According to the Christian Stewardship Association, the average Nazarene gives 4.92%.

Tithing is a voluntary, systematic plan of financing God’s church. The literal translation for the word “tithe” in both the Hebrew and the Greek language means a “tenth.” There are those that would suggest that since Jesus never addressed the issue of tithing, then what should it matter to me? At the end of his gospel, John closes off this way; “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) Who’s to say He never addressed the issue? He did say, however, that people cannot serve God, and be ruled by money at the same time: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) Just in case you were wonder, mammon is another word for “wealth.”

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