Summary: Tithing is not just an Old Testament idea, it is one of the ways we as Christians should show our love for the Lord.
Introduction: I heard about a farmer who called the office of famous Televangelist asking to see “The Head Hog at the trough.” The receptionist was shocked and said, “Sir, if you’re talking about our Pastor, you may refer to him as Doctor or Reverend, but I don’t think it would be proper for you or anyone else to refer to him as the “head Hog at the trough.’”
“Well, all right,” the farmer said. “I just sold a few sows and was going to donate ten thousand dollars to the building fund, so I was hopping to catch him.” Upon hearing this the receptionist said, “Oh, just a minute, sir.” “I think the big pig just walked in!”
Unfortunately thanks to TV evangelists like Jim Baker & Oral Roberts, who had reputations for exploiting and taking advantage of people financially, many pastors, including me go to the opposite extreme and talk about money very rarely, if at all. In fact, if my records are correct this is only the second or third time in 8 ½ years that I have preached a sermon about money. But today, I want us to consider an incident that took place in the life of Jesus during the last week of his life on Earth. Because interestingly enough, a couple of things happened during that very stressful week that had to do with money.
At the beginning of the week, after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus ran the money changers out of the Temple. They were the people who were taking advantage of, or exploiting the people who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover.
A couple of days later the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by asking Him whether it was lawful for a Jew to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus realized what they were trying to do and wisely responded by saying “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to Give to God what is God’s.”
Have you ever gone to the Mall and just sat down on one of the benches and ‘watched or observed people as they come and go?’ It can be very interesting and entertaining. Well, during this very difficult week, Jesus went to the Temple to worship, and while he was there He did some people watching. He wasn’t interested in what they were wearing, or who they were with, or whether they had any body piercings, but He was interested in what they were doing. Let’s find out what it was they were doing and why Jesus was so interested. Follow along with me as I read our text this morning.
Let’s read our text together, Mark 12:41-44. (NIV)
MK 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
MK 12:42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
MK 12:43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
MK 12:44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."
I don’t think anyone here this morning would deny that Money is important. After all, we have to have money to pay all of those bills I mentioned earlier during the children’s sermon.
But I’m afraid that many people in America today have an unhealthy attitude about money. I like how Jonathan Busch summed up the financial situation in many American homes today. He says, "The trouble is that too many people are spending money they haven’t earned yet, for things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like."
Even though it’s been 2000 years since Jesus taught his disciples this lesson many People still look up to or admire those who are wealthy and look down on those who are poor.
Even though we’ve already established the fact that Money is important it can and often does cause problems. In fact according to Marriage and Financial counselors financial problems are one of the top 3 reasons many marriages fail.
Someone once said that, "Money talks – unfortunately for many of us all it ever says, is “bye-bye." Perhaps you heard those words this week as you were paying your bills.
But our text reveals that money talks in other ways as well. It speaks volumes about our faith, our relationship to God, and what we really consider important.
Some of us may have been offended, or thought that our privacy was being invaded, if we had been in the Temple that day.
Jerusalem was crowded with people from all over Israel, who had come to celebrate the Passover. Many of them made their way to the Temple treasury to bring their offerings to God. Jesus deliberately placed himself in a position where he could observe the people. The New Living Translation, translates verse 41, by saying, “Jesus went over to the collection box in the Temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money.”