Summary: Fifth sermon in a series dealing with how we can make a difference for Christ in the world
GIVING MOTIVATED TOWARDS CHANGE
Years ago The Chaplain magazine told how the noted preacher Charles Spurgeon and his wife were called miserly because they sold all the eggs their chickens laid and wouldn’t give any away. Because they always made a profit on their butter, milk, and eggs, rumors circulated that they were greedy. The Spurgeons, however, took the criticism graciously, and only after the death of Mrs. Spurgeon was the truth revealed. The records showed that their entire profits had been used to support two needy, elderly widows whose husbands had spent their lives in serving the Lord. Yet because the Spurgeons did not want to call attention their giving (Matt. 6:3), they had refused to defend themselves.
One pastor had a rather crude layman who liked to go out visiting people. But he was rather crude, so the pastor gave him a list of delinquent church members and some church stationary and told him to write letters to all those who haven’t been coming.
Several weeks later the church secretary received a letter from a lawyer with a check inside for $1000. And enclosed was this note:
“To whom it may concern. I received your letter and I want to remind you that there is only 1 “T” in dirty and no “C” in skunk.”
In Huntsville, Alabama in the city’s oldest and largest church, a small girl and her mother were attending services when the little pre-schooler announced, “Momma, I feel sick.” Momma told her if she was going to throw up to leave quickly and to go down to the little garden area behind the church. Hurriedly the child left. When little Peggy returned, mother asked did she get there in time? And Peggy said she didn’t have to go that far. Peggy said she found a box right alongside the front door which said “For the Sick.”
A very wealthy religious little old lady was a soft touch for any panhandler she happened to meet on the street. One day she met a very shabbily dressed man and impulsively pressed a five dollar bill into his hand, smiled warmly and whispered, “God speed.” The next day the shabbily dressed man knocked at the door of her house and said, “Here’s your hundred dollars. Godspeed came in first and paid twenty to one.”
INTRODUCTION: Not a week goes by when we are not receiving some sort of request for financial consideration. There is not a week that goes by when we are not assaulted by our own financial priorities. Everywhere we look, it seems that we are be motivated – good or bad towards some specific financial call – personal or otherwise.
TRANSITION: So then the question comes up, “What should be both our motivation towards financial requests, and what should be our motivation in giving?” In addition, “How do we motivate ourselves correctly in this area of giving?”
As we approach the final SALT step, we also approach what is the last area in many of our minds where we will choose to make a difference – the area of our finances!
So let me set the context of the passage
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
As Paul begins to address financial concerns, he lays the groundwork. This area of our lives, just as in ANY area of our lives, has the capability to come under the power of God’s control. Moving from a control limited and affected by my personality, ability, and nature, to a control rooted in the perfection of God Himself. By expressing my finances through Christ, not apart from Christ, I can affect this world for Him!
Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;
POINT #1 – EVERY CHURCH HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE
ü Churches are people not buildings – so every believer has the responsibility to give.
ü Most churches were not concerned with their greater purpose.
o There is a local purpose
o There is a global purpose
o Ultimately there is a gospel purpose
ü Communicate/shared – Take part, or participate
o It is the job of a church to take part in the ministry
o Taking part involves a “whole” attitude
o When a church fails to take part in ministry
§ The church fails corporately
§ The church fails individually
ILLUSTRATION: Dr. Harry Ironside has said, “For the saints to be so callously indifferent to the temporal needs … is to show themselves out of touch with Him who has given to them the privilege of being in this way fellow-helpers to the truth.”