Summary: When a person makes the choice not to tithe they become robbers of God
June 11, 206
The day the church treasurer resigned the church asked the local grain elevator manager to take the position. He agreed under two conditions.
That no treasurer’s report would be given for the first year.
That no questions be asked about finances during that year.
The people were surprised but finally agreed since most of them did business with him and he was a trusted man.
At the end of the year he gave his report:
* The church indebtedness of $228,000 has been paid.
* The minister’s salary had been increased by 8%.
* The Cooperative Program gifts has been paid 200%.
* There were no outstanding bills.
* And there was a cash balance of $11,252!
Immediately the shocked congregation asked, "How did you do it? Where did the money come from?"
He quietly answered: "Most of you bring your grain to my elevator. Throughout the year I simply withheld ten percent on your behalf and gave it to the church in your name. You didn’t even miss it!"
As we look at the essence of what it means to have a closer walk with Christ, we must begin a careful examination of spiritual disciplines. Disciplines are those actions that draw you into a deeper walk with Christ. The first discipline we are examining is stewardship.
What is a steward? A steward is a person who manages the property of someone else.
Stewardship is God’s resources deployed through His people to mobilize His people to evangelize. – Stan Toler
Stewardship is one of those issues that people get several wrong ideas about. The first is that Jesus said very little about money.
In Matthew, Mark and Luke 1 out of every 6 verses deals with the topic of money. If you look at the parables of Jesus, 16 of 29 parables deal with money or finances. Jesus was very concerned about the topic of money but the question is why? It has been said that money is the root of all evil. Jesus seems to be more concerned about what our money is doing to us than what we do with our money.
The second is that the church shouldn’t talk about money. If jesus talked about money the church most definitely should deal with the issue. The problem is that most people do not understand the issue of stewardship. Stewardship is much more about the state of your heart than it is about the size of your wallet.
If you have your bibles with you this morning, I want to examine the stewardship issue with you. Open them to Malachi 3:6-12
6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, `How are we to return?’ 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 3:6-12
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. C.S. Lewis.
The very first thing that God says to His people echoes through the ages to today. I do not change. We live in asociety that tries to change the Word and character of god to make themselves more comfortable. God does not change. he is the same yesterday, today and forever. The fact is that we don’t want God to change or at least not parts of God’s chartacer. His love never changes, His mercy never changes and His compassion never changes. Why would His expectations for His people change?
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lammentations 3:22-23
II. The Crime against the LORD (8-9)
The Discovery Channel has a show called It Takes a Thief. The program uses the skills of two ex-burglars to help people imporve their home security. A deal is made between the thieves and the homeowners. The homeowners allow their home to be robbed, while they watch on closed circuit television, in exchance for a full security makeover of their home.