Summary: A sermon on tithing.
“God’s Designated Storehouse”
By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Although the Mosaic Law remained in effect for 15 centuries, from the time of Moses to the time of Christ’s death at Calvary, the people often ignored, defied, or buried it.
When their spiritual life was low, their giving fell off, and when they were spiritually revived, their giving rose again.
God sent prophets, such as Malachi, to warn them about their backslidings and invite them to return to Him.
With their return, God promised to meet them in reconciliation.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
Will man rob God? Yet you rob me.
But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
In tithes and offerings.”
I want us to ask ourselves this question this morning…and it is only between us and God…
…are we robbing God?
…are we robbing God by failing to bring our tithes and offerings to the designated place at the designated time?…or can we feel confident that we are obeying the Lord?
God has a special place for His children to bring their tithes and offerings.
In the wilderness, the Israelites brought them to the Tabernacle.
Today, the designated place is the local church.
Now, what was once a voluntary custom of contributing tithes and offerings to the Lord, became a requirement under the Mosaic Law.
As Christians today we give our tithes because we are under grace.
And throughout the history of God’s dealing with His people, their willingness to make contributions to His work depended on their relationship with Him.
If they walked in close fellowship with God, they supported His work gladly.
When they rebelled against Him, they withheld their tithes.
What is our relationship like with God?
Charles Swindoll wrote: “We honor God by first giving to Him from our paycheck.
In doing so, we acknowledge His ownership of everything before we enjoy any of it ourselves. Whatever your income, give a portion to the Lord first. He will be honored and glorified by your trust.”
Robert A. Laidlaw, the New Zealand businessman and famous author, started giving money to the church at the age of 18.
His salary was $3 a week.
Later he promised God he would give 10 percent and would continually increase the amount as his income increased.
At 25 years of age, Laidlaw increased his tithing to 50 percent!
He gave 50 percent of all his earnings back to God.
Nearly 50 years later he reflected, “In spiritual communion and in material things, God has blessed me a hunredfold, and has graciously entrusted to me a stewardship far beyond my expectations when, as a lad of 18, I started to give God a definite portion of my wages.”
As Bill Hybels once said, “The tithe is a wonderful goal but a terrible place to stop.”
Sir John Templeton, chairman of the $15 billion Templeton fund is quoted as saying: “I have watched over 100,000 families over my years of investment counseling. I always saw greater prosperity and happiness among those families who tithed than among those who didn’t.”
The act of giving the substance of our life to God goes back to the beginning of Scripture, and from the outset giving money involved itself with the act of salvation and worship.
“Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not.”
My Old Testament Professor used to joke: “Abel brought the Lord Filet Mignot…
…Cain brought the Lord some old broccoli.”
What are we bringing God?
The outstanding characters in the Bible were givers.
They regularly, proportionately, cheerfully and thankfully brought their offerings to God.
The divine standard for stewardship is faithfulness, and God identifies indifference and slothfulness along with wickedness!
Slothfulness is a bad word in Jesus’ vocabulary and it can even control our destinies.
Christian stewardship reaches to our deepest treasures and resources.
It involves our money or net income.
The Gospel is not “inside stuff”; it is something to be shared.
And in order for it to be shared, we must support our local church…
…so that our outreach ministries can continue and grow…
…so that we can do what God has called us to do…
…Make disciples for Jesus Christ!
It is the challenge of New Testament Christians—even in the 21st Century—to pay tithes of our salaries, or wages, or net income to the building and extension of God’s kingdom through our local church.
Actually, the tithe is not a ceiling; it is a floor.
Tithing means that—as believers—we give one-tenth of our income to the Lord.