I Spend So I Can Glorify God
Did you know that the first modern-day lottery was started in 1963 in the state of New Hampshire. Did you know that the state of Massachusetts, started their lottery in 1972 with 50 cent tickets and a drawing once a week. It now has 33 different games to choose from their sales have soared from $71 million in the first year to $3 Billion today. - Did you know, that in Colorado, the lottery organizers spend more than $400 million dollars each year trying to lure residents to gamble on lotteries. And in a $25,000 study called Mindsort they analyzed the left and right sides of the brain to understand how to manipulate players behavior in order to get them once hooked, always hooked. - A Massachusetts Lottery Ad sums up the point I am trying to get across perfectly. In the ad they offer two choices for how to "make millions." Here is a quote: "Plan A: Start studying when you’re about 7 years old, real hard. Then grow up and get a good job. From then on, get up at dawn every day. Flatter your boss. Crush competition ruthlessly. Climb over backs of co-workers. Be the last one to leave every night. Squirrel away every cent. Avoid having a nervous breakdown. Avoid having premature heart attack. Get a face lift. Do this every day for 30 years, holidays and weekends included. By the time you’re ready to retire you should have your money. Or Plan B: Play the Lottery." Hey if we can have it quick and easy why not?
The last few weeks I have been addressing the importance of saving our money for more than just having wealth at the end of your life. And I know you have been told by various people in your life the importance of putting some of your money away in savings– as financial expert Dave Ramsey says it is the “kind of wisdom your grandmother gave you.” The problem is we do not always do what we know is right – experts are saying that the average family today has close to $10,000 in credit card debts so either the advice has not been given or it has been simply forgotten.
We should also be clear about how much God does care about our spending habits. Giving money to the church is one way to honor God with our wealth, but do we consider the other money we have to also be used for His purposes or is it just disposable income? Does God care if I play the lottery or spend my money on stuff which doesn’t exactly help his cause? This is something most people would rather not think about because it interferes with our concept that every penny we have belongs to us to be used as however we see fit. But if the wealth we have is power and freedom, doesn’t that mean we should be careful how we use our power and freedom? The answer to that is always yes.
I. First-fruits Lesson
A. Let’s step back into the OT to make sure: Do we understand why God established a 10% as the measurement for giving to the church?
Leviticus 27:30 “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” The word tithe means 10% of what they received – their income was in crops and livestock, possibly they received money when they sold those things to the community, but there was s clearly defined amount they were to give to the tabernacle or church of their time.
1. First, it would probably help us to have a little understanding about who the book of Leviticus was written to initially. The nation of Israel had just emerged from the bonds of slavery to the Egyptians. They had been controlled and commanded by human masters with very little possessions of their own.
*Practically speaking the whole nation needed clear and concise rules because they were just starting to become a nation – the book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy is like a manual for having an orderly society. Both books are filled with rules and regulations – from marriages to land ownership to eating habits, the Israelites needed a lot of instruction to create civil order. Foundational to their life was to be their trust in God – and by giving to God 10% of what they earned it would teach them a couple of important lessons.
a. To take inventory – in order to know how much to give to God they would have to know how much they had received. It would take planning and a diligent watch over their possession to do what God wanted. This was a very practical reason.