Summary: Do others see Christ in you through your giving?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
September 16, 2007
For the past couple of Sundays I have brought up subjects that matter. Preaching Matters & Church Matters. Preaching matters because God has a message for humanity: a message that begins with the gospel: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation, then a message that calls us into holiness as we give our lives for the glory of God. Preaching matters because God has a message for us and He ordained that preaching be the instrument used to proclaim that message.
Last week I said that church may or may not matter, depending on your take on the church. If church is just a place you go to sit in class or a service for any number of reasons or if church is a place you go to make connections and hang out with your friends, irregardless of how old you are, then no, church doesn’t matter. But when we realize that a church is a group of disciples who have come together to be discipled and to make more disciples, then yes, church is absolutely fundamental to that disciple’s journey of faith.
Today’s sermon is Giving Matters. I have told you before that giving has not always been an easy thing to do in my house. It was hard when I first started tithing, and though it became easier through the years, it is still difficult today. From a purely human perspective, giving today is harder than it ever has been for me, especially since we bought the house. As I write my tithe check I have allowed myself to wonder whether my giving really matters.
Many of you at some point in your own journey of faith, in your own involvement in church, in your own giving, have asked whether giving matters. Maybe you can’t give much because you don’t make much. Does your little amount matter? Maybe you’re on a fixed income or a single parent or you’re a widow scraping by and it’s hard to give up that 10%. Most of us, irregardless of our income, have fixed our spending to match what’s coming in and leave too little room for giving. There will be plenty of other people who give. Surely the church won’t miss your giving. That’s another way of saying giving doesn’t matter. I remember one couple who got mad at their preacher and decided to withhold their tithes. In essence they were saying that their giving mattered, but they were confused about why it really mattered.
I asked several people earlier this week why giving matters. Here are some of the reasons you gave.
• Financial support of the church
• High cost of ministry
• Because God tells us to
• Because it feels good
• To help the less fortunate
• Because of your love for people
• Because it already belongs to God anyway
Those are all good reasons, reasons I have preached before and will preach again, but as I have studied in preparation for this message I believe there is a more significant reason giving matters, and it hinges on this question: What kind of giver is God? I want to take a minute to read several passages of Scripture as I answer that question. For the sake of time don’t try to turn to all these. Matthew 7:11 says,
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
This verse reminds me that God is a good giver. Matthew 11:28 says,
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
God does not have to help us, but He does, because He is a gracious giver. Matthew 14:15-16 says,
“And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, this is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said to them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”
When the disciples were tired and ready for everyone to go home, Jesus insisted that they continue to serve the people and meet their needs. “Don’t send them away, give them something to eat.” Why? Because God gives out of concern for us. He is again a good and gracious giver. You can see it again in Matthew 20:28.
“…the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Turn with me to John and let’s read four verses of Scripture. I know you know them, but read them anyway. John 3:16 says,