Summary: What’s in YOUR wallet; or what’s in your heart? Money reveals our priorities
How The Kingdom Works: Part 3 – Funding The Kingdom
Feb 18, 2007
“The offering” video, from Good $ense.
Why Do You Give?
That humorous clip shows several different motivations for giving: glory, guilt, gratitude – what is yours? Why do you give?
Ministry Takes Money
Over the past two weeks we’ve been talking about what it takes to make the Kingdom of God work. We’ve looked at how it really does work, and how it takes each of us using our Spiritual Gifts to make it work. This morning I want to explore one more thing that it takes to make the Kingdom of God work – it takes money. Ministry takes money – that is a reality – it has been like this since the very beginning of God’s Kingdom in the nation of Israel, it was like this in the time of Jesus, and it is like that today.
Over the past month or so we’ve been introducing you to two new ministries we are partnering with in Bolivia. The first is a ministry to kids forced to live in Bolivian prisons with a parent, called the Casa de la Amistad. The second is a ministry to kids who live on the streets in Cochabamba, called Jireh. Well, both of those ministries cost money – it costs money to have and operate a facility for the Casa programs, it costs money to hire staff to work with the 170 children in the program, it costs money to purchase medical insurance for each of those 170 kids, it costs money to feed them. Likewise with Jireh – it costs money to hire a man named Thomas to be their pastor/surrogate father/counselor/teacher/advocate, it costs money to rent the tiny building from which they are being kicked out and it will cost even more money to find a new suitable, hopefully permanent space, and it costs money to feed those 45 kids one meal a week and sometimes a little more often.
Just like in Bolivia, it costs money for ministry in Canada. It costs money for us to heat our church building, it costs money to hire pastors to teach and lead worship and mentor teens and do evangelism, and more importantly to lead and encourage and equip all the people to do ministry. It costs money to buy Sunday school material and paper for bulletins and to support missionaries sharing God’s love in other cultures.
Where does all that money come from? It comes from people like you and me, who give it away.
Now kids, let me talk to you for a moment. I’m so glad you are joining us for this talk today, because what I am talking about is radical and rebellious. It is the complete opposite of what you are going to hear about money everywhere else in our culture. It is upside down, and perhaps one of the most important things for you to discover if you are going to have a great life. I’m going to talk about giving money away.
When was the last time you saw a TV commercial telling you that you had so much, you should really give some to others? When was the last time you saw a print ad telling you that you should be content with what you have? When have you ever walked into a store and seen a sign that said, “just buy what you really need, and then get out of here and use the rest of your money to help someone else.”
Let me begin with a question: what is it that we need, in our hearts, that brings us to the point of giving? (it’s a real question! Go ahead and answer!)
I believe that the starting point for giving is the same starting point for everything else in the Christian life – it is love.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt 6:24, NLT). That is pretty straight talk – if you love money, you hate God; if you are devoted to money, you’ll despise God – and the opposite is also true: if you love God, you’ll hate money and if you are devoted to God, you’ll despise money. Pretty blunt, pretty harsh, and it begs the question: who do you love? Who has your heart? Are you running after money, or after God?
Since Jesus told us that we cannot love both God and money, it is obvious to me that we as Christians must be different. And that is why giving money away is so important, and so good. Giving breaks the hold money has on us. Giving gets rid of the competition for our love. Giving puts God ahead of money.