Summary: Stewardship message on the spirit of giving.
Part 3-It’s Not About Money
January 20, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Video introduction—“Parking Meter Church”
Money is a great topic to speak on. I come to this conclusion because of what the Bible says about money. But it doesn’t seem to be nearly as spiritual as prayer. But, in the Bible there are 1,539 passages that reference giving, while there are only 523 that refer to praying! (Stewardship Ministries Website)
Why do we need to talk about tithing?
1. God commands it
a. Leviticus 27:30, 32, 33
i. Tithe was a provision for God’s work and protection for God’s people—when they sent the animals through and counted every tenth it was o.k. with God if it was great or if it was lame…the issue was to keep the giver from being stingy or harmful by depleting his own flock from strong stock.
ii. It wasn’t burdensome—It isn’t hard to live off 90%.
b. Malachi 3:10
i. Tithe means tenth-God said “Bring the whole tithe”.
ii. Many people think that there’s an out in the New Testament when it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” To think so is a misunderstanding of the verse and context of the situation. The issue is the motivation for giving, not the amount. I believe it means that each person, after giving consideration to what God has commanded, then we should do it from a heart of joy and seek to give as we feel led by God.
2. Jesus affirmed it
a. Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
b. The Pharisees were being ridiculous about following the letter of the law to the point of measuring out spices to offer. Their heart wasn’t right so what they gave didn’t matter. But Jesus said they should care about God’s people and give to the work of the Kingdom…not to buy their way but to supply God’s work.
3. Paul taught this to the early church
a. I Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”
b. The standard he speaks of here must be the tithing principle.
Now, do we agree these Scriptures are true? If you answer, “yes”, then we must adjust to God’s standard.
How do we do that?
1. Trust means I don’t worry
a. Someone tells about a woman who for many years couldn’t sleep at night because she worried that her home would be burglarized. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he found a burglar. The husband said to the burglar, "Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you."
b. In my experience I talk with more people who worry about money than anything else.
c. My trust in God can free me from worry.
d. Verse 5—“Commit” means to roll over upon. It’s like placing a burden on another individual.
e. Verse 18
f. Verse 25
g. Verse 37
h. How many other Scriptures can you think of that give confidence in our God?
2. Trust means I find delight in God
a. Verse 4
b. Verse 16, 17
c. Money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway. Several years ago actor Sylvester Stallone was asked what effect money had on his life. Stallone said: "Money does not bring peace of mind. Actually it brings more problems. Everything is magnified one hundred thousand times. That’s not to complain. But once you make a fortune, you’d think it would be all green lights and blue skies. But that’s not true. As a matter of fact it brings out some of the most vile characteristics that you can imagine.” (Great Stories; vol. 5/issue 17; p. 9)
d. God knows what we need and when we need it. God loves us so much that He would never withhold anything that would be a blessing to us. We just think we know what would bless us a lot better than God knows.
e. Don’t spend your time desiring the runoff when you can have a relationship with the Source!
3. Trust means I do good
Verse 3—How do I do good?
a. By living within my means (v. 21). The borrowing part is not the main problem but in our culture I think it is within the spirit of Scripture to caution against borrowing money. Saving up for things teaches contentment, discipline, and opens the way for God to provide in a way I hadn’t thought of.