Summary: Both the Old and New Testament have much to say about how money and possessions can be used to further God’s Kingdom or how it can literally destroy a person’s joy and hope. The goal of this sermon is to allow the Scriptures (Phil 4:14-23) to teach us som
Overwhelmed by Need
Two weeks ago, Milt Hanson and I took our children to Cornerstone Music Festival. We enjoyed the fellowship, the great weather, and were inundated with incredible Christ-honoring music for four days. But we were also overwhelmed by the opportunities to give. In between main stage shows, commercials for World Vision (www.wvi.org) and the “ONE campaign” (www.one.org) encouraged us to give sacrificially to erase poverty and AIDS in Africa. Switchfoot (www.switchfoot.com) showed us video from their recent mission trip to India and pleaded with us to give. At the church service, we participated in an offering that supported Jesus People USA (www.jpusa.org) and their work inner-city Chicago. The helicopter ride we took supported Wycliffe Bible Translators (www.wycliffe.org). There were even three hungry teenage guys who sat in front of our camp site singing songs about chickens while begging for money to buy a pizza. There were so many noble causes, so many needs, so many opportunities, and only so much money in my wallet. Should I feel guilty that I didn’t give my last dollar? What did God require of me?
Right Here at Home
I am equally overwhelmed here. With the addition of Heart to Heart Counseling Services, PBC now supports nineteen missionaries. From Mexico to the Philippines, from Dallas to Pontiac we support individuals and projects that are proclaiming the name of Jesus. (For a full list and email addresses go to www.pontiacbible.org) We also have six students doing five day clubs this summer, sharing the Gospel with children all over Livingston County, and are still raising their support. We just approved a budget that is approaching half a million dollars, our new executive pastor starts today, and a parking lot waits to be paved. We still owe on the family life center and are in need of a new roof.
Do you know this feeling? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the seeming endless needs that constantly tug at your heart through the television, radio, and internet?
Because the Bible Tells Me So
When confused or needing answers, we need to search the Scriptures and find out what God says about the matter. What does the Bible say about money and giving? More than you think! Almost half of the parables are about money or possessions. There are 40 verses on baptism, 275 verses on prayer, 350 verses on faith, 650 verses on love, and 2,350 verses that related specifically to finances and material possessions! (For a detailed account of these Scriptures go to www.kluth.org) Both the Old and New Testament have much to say about how money and possessions can be used to further God’s Kingdom or how it can literally destroy a person’s joy and hope. This morning my goal is to allow the Scriptures to teach us some basic principles related to giving. Before we begin, let me make a couple of disclaimers.
All the Church Wants Is My Money!
The story is told of two business men who were flying to a conference overseas. The small plane they were in developed engine problems and they had to crash land on a deserted island. One of the men began to cry stating that he will never get to see his kids grow up and never tell his wife how much he loved her. The other man simply leaned against a palm tree and fell asleep. His friend woke him and confronted him – “How can you sleep? Don’t you care that we are going to die on this island?” At this the calm companion said, “I am not worried at all. I make $500,000 a year and I always faithfully give ten percent to my church. I know my pastor will find me!”
Many people are turned off when the pastor preaches on money and finances. Many pastors are afraid to teach on this subject. Why do you think Brian asked me to preach this week? Who has not heard some one say “All they ever want is my money?” Mark Twain once said that he was so tired of appeals for money that he never put anything in the plate but he always tried to take a bill out!
This morning I am not here to coax you out of your cash or swindle you out of your savings. None of the pastors or leaders knows how much or how little you give. I do know that I am honored to serve a church that is so generous with their giving. We are in good shape financially so I am not preaching this as a pulpit power play hoping to bring in a big offering. This is the beauty of going verse-by-verse through books of the Bible. We have come to the end of our series on Philippians. This morning we will look at the closing verses, which just happen to be about giving. If you are visiting, stick with me. You may be surprised by what you hear. By the end of our time together today, I hope to convince you to be extravagant worshipers of God in the area of your finances.