Summary: This is the 6th message in the stewardship series, this is the second one on Tithing. I use Rick Warrens 5 Purposes to connect our members to how their offerings serve God and our ministry.
In Jesus Holy Name February 17, 2008
Lent II Redeemer
Text: I Timothy 6:18-19 TLB
“Stewardship: Managing the Things of God”
6th in the series: “What Good is my Giving?”
On Wednesday evening at our Mid Week Lenten service I shared this illustration. When you see a mother hen out with her baby chicks…the chicks are running every which way. They are all over the place. For protection the mother hen has to call her chicks and gather them to herself. It’s a good illustration of people in our culture who are searching here and there for spiritual knowledge or a spiritual connection to God.
On the other have you have seen a mother duck? When the mother duck wants to take her brood to the pond to swim, she starts walking and they all follow in a line. When they swim, they swim in a line. It is as if the mother duck is saying… follow me, this way… it is safe. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:1 calls each believer to imitate Jesus. Jesus himself calls us to follow him. Let me ask you a question. Are you a chicken or a duck?
My point: There are two major themes which weave their way through the Bible. The 1st theme tells how we can have peace and harmony with God. It is the “way to God.” The gospel of John explains it this way. “there are many things that Jesus said and did which are not written down in this gospel, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you might have eternal life.” (John 20:30-31) The way to God is displayed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.
People who are spiritually lost…are like the baby chicks, scurrying around, pecking here and there… Others are like the baby ducks… they follow Jesus to eternal life.
The 2nd theme which weaves through the bible is our “walk with God”. These are people who follow the words of Jesus, like the baby ducks who follow their mother.
These past 6 weeks have been about our walk with God. When God created humanity he gave to man and woman the responsibility to manage his creation. We were created to be managers. Our stewardship is about the management of all the things God has entrusted to our care. We were created to use our “time” to worship God, and serve one another with the “talents” and “abilities” he has given. We talked about the stewardship of our earth, taking care of creation. We are to take care of our bodies, with healthy habits. We are to be good stewards of God’s word. We are to manage the financial resources God has placed into our hands.
Principle #1 of stewardship is: “God owns it all.”
Principle #2 of stewardship is: “We are to manage all to the glory of God.”
“How much do you pay for a loaf of bread? The price depends on where you buy it. However, in reality we pay nothing for the loaf of bread, or anything else.
When a farmer places a seed of wheat in the soil did he created the grain of wheat? No. He plants the grain of wheat in the soil which was created by God. God provides the sun and rain and that enables the seed to germinate and grow. In due course one see produces many seeds.
Eventually the farmer harvests what God provides. When we purchase a loaf of bread, we do not pay for the bread as such. We merely return “service in storable, exchangeable form” (called money) to the farmer, the trucker, the flour miller, baker and store keeper for producing the bread and making it available for purchase.” (Harry Wendt-Crossways)
God provides, we receive, we know all things including our ability to earn an income, to pay for services is a gift from God. (Deut. 8:17) In God’s economic plan he is only asking for 10% return and he allows us to keep 90% of what we earn.
That 10% is an investment for God to use for his purposes. I Timothy simply reminds those who follow Jesus to “use their money to do good. Be rich in good works, give happily to those in need, always be ready to share whatever God has given.”
When we read Rick Warren’s book (40 Days of Purpose) we learned that God has five purposes for our lives. God has five investment funds, one for each purpose of your life.
When we give our offerings, we are investing some of our money in the “fund” that enables us to ‘worship’ God. There is nothing that God needs. God certainly does not need our money. But when we give an offering, we are saying: “God, I love you.” When we honor God with our offerings, proportional, planned, set aside on the first day of each week, it is an act of worship.