Summary: A sermon on giving
Bob Doyle tells the story of overhearing a father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said, 'I love you, and I wish you enough.' The daughter replied, 'Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too.' They kissed and the daughter left. The father went through security and over to the window where he was seated. Standing there he could see the old man wanted and needed to cry. Bob tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed him in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?' 'Yes, I have,' he replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'. 'I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' he said. 'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?' He began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from my parents. They said it to everyone.' He paused a moment, looked up, smiled and continued, 'When we said, 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.'
And that is what God wants for us as well. In fact, that’s God’s promise. So why should we give? First, God provides for our every need. Last week, we looked at the question of “Why Trust’ in God? We looked at Matthew 6:25-34 which says in part, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life….Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Jesus went on to encourage us not to worry about clothing or food either because we are God’s children and God will provide for our every need. When we can trust God in his promises, including his promises to provide for our needs, it opens our hearts to giving and stepping out in faith, even when it may appear that we don’t have it to give.
Second, we give because God owns it all. "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Ps. 24:1 When Giovanna was working for Channel 38, they had a suite at the Saints game. In the suites people spend time sitting in the seats watching the game and time sitting inside the suite on the couches provided. I got into a conversation with Giovanna’s boss at the time. Steve was a man of the world, who worked hard, played hard and drank hard. We got to talking about money and I mentioned that I tithed. Steve asked what that was and I said it’s the first 10% you make which you give back to God. He asked why and I said it was based on the understanding that everything I make and everything I have is God’s. He created everything and He owns everything, I’m just a caretaker. The things I earned, I did so because God not only gave me the opportunity for the education and the job, but the gifts and abilities as well. And a hush came over Steve and I saw the wheels turning in his mind and finally he said, “I never thought about it that way.” Many of us have never gotten to the point of knowing and accepting that God owns it all. But everything is His, and he has asked us to manage it. All of us have been blessed, some more than others. That blessing did not come from your hand. It comes from the hand of God. The fact is it makes all the difference in the world when you realize you’re handing someone else’s money.
Third, God calls for the tithe. God said in Malachi, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house." Many people think the tithe means giving, rather it means tenth. To tithe is to give back to God your first 10% of what you earn for the God’s purposes and His Kingdom. If I bring $20 out of every $1000 I earn, that’s not a tithe. It’s $20. A tithe is 10%. Why does God need food in his house? Well, how's he going to feed the needy in the community? How is he going to take the Gospel to people who have never heard it? How will children discover the good news of Jesus? It happens as we bring the food, our financial resources, to the storehouse. Being faithful has nothing to do with how much or how little you have, it’s a matter of what you do with that which has been entrusted to you.