Summary: Part 2 of a sermon on what a God honouring Giver looks like
“God loves a giver – Sometimes – Part 2”
Gladstone Baptist Church – 14/5/06 am
(Much of this material is sourced from Randy Alcorn’s book. “the Treasure Principle”)
Last week I think that I stirred up a bit of hornet’s nest didn’t I. And I am glad. If you were with us last week and you are back again today – I commend you for coming to find out what I believe strongly the bible teaches us on this incredibly important spiritual discipline of giving. If you weren’t here last week, I want to give you a quick recap of where we got up to so that you know where we are heading today.
Last week I started off by saying that Jesus while on earth put a huge emphasis on what we do with our money. In fact it has been stated that 15% of all that is recorded about what Jesus said relates to money. You see, Money is so important, because God knows that our attitude to money actually is a barometer of our attitude to him. Jesus said that you can’t serve 2 masters – you either serve the God of the dollar or you serve the God of the universe. Your attitude to money shows what your attitude to God is. God is looking for people who will honour Him in their lives (their worship) and this means honouring God in their use of money.
I also admitted last week that I didn’t think that I was honouring God in the use of my money. I tithed religiously, but I was no better than the Pharisees and teachers of the law that Jesus condemned in Matt 23:23. I had the wrong attitude to my money and so I had made it into a religious practice rather than an act of worship.
Last week we started off by looking at the first 2 of 5 characteristics of a God honouring giver. Can anyone remember what the first characteristic was?
Characteristic 1) A God honouring giver sees money as “GOD’S MONEY” rather than “MY MONEY”
Everything on this earth belongs to God. We are not owners of anything – we are God’s investment managers and that has some huge implications for us. Firstly it means that we need to invest God’s money for his benefit – not our own. God does give us permission to use his money for our own existence – to pay the bills, to feed our family, to provide for them as responsible parents. But the other side of the coin is that given that this money is God’s we need to use it responsibly. God is expecting a return on his investment, just like the master in the parable of the talents expected his servants to achieve a return on his money. We need therefore not just to consider what we do with the amount we give back to God, but also what we do with the bit we keep for our own use. See everything we have is God’s and we need to use it responsibly for him.
Now I believe that providing adequately for our family is using our resources responsibly for God. The return on this investment is children who grow up living for Christ and serving Christ. But there is a difference between providing adequately for our children and spoiling them.
I also stated last week that we have often been misled when it comes to giving back to God. I don’t know whether it was always taught this way, or whether it was just what I wanted to hear … but I believed that I owed God 10% – a tithe and that is it – the rest is mine. This doesn’t fit with the investment manager concept does it. Everything is God’s and he is just as interested in the 10% as the 90% or the 20% and 80% whatever it be.
I said that in the Old Testament the tithe was only part of the worship of God. It is likely that the Israelites gave 20-30% back to God. In the New Testament Jesus takes this even further. He says – sell everything and give to the poor. He told his disciples to leave every and follow him.
Now I know that quite a few people this week have been a bit put out that I said that as a minimum you need to be giving 10% to God and if you are not giving 10% - you are stealing from God. They think this is quite legalistic. But let me challenge you to show me where in the New Testament is the tithing principle revoked. You see it isn’t. But you say, Paul says we are no longer under the law, but grace – yes we are. The question is – which laws is he referring to??? Would any of you say that it is okay under the New Testament covenant to commit murder or adultery or steal? No of course not. We are still bound by that law. Why? Because these things are not revoked in the New Testament - actually Jesus upped the anti on these things. Don’t murder – but hating a person is as good as murder. Don’t commit adultery – but looking at someone in lust is as good as sleeping with them. And in exactly the same way, Jesus upped the anti on giving. He didn’t revoke the tithe, he said – “I don’t want you to make it into a religious ritual of 10%. Actually – what I want is everything.” See the investment manager mentality coming through.