Summary: In this smessage I am hoping to ptovide some motivation for our people to increase their giving by making a sacrificial gift to the church. At the conclusion of the message i emphasized the chest of Joash.
About 15 years ago when we lived in Kentucky Denise had just tucked our kids in for the night and Ross was playing with a penny. Actually what he was doing was trying to se just how far back on his tongue he could put it. Well you can probably guess what happened-he swallowed it but actually he wasn’t sure if it went all the way down and it felt like it was caught in his throat. So we called emergency services to ask a couple of questions-we thought we had a good handle on what to do but then an ambulance showed up anyway and insisted on taking him to the hospital for an xray. Sure enough the xray revealed the penny had been swallowed.
I heard of one mom who was hysterical because her son had swallowed a quarter. She turned to her husband and screamed for him to call the doctor. So he picked up the phone but instead of calling the doctor he called the pastor. The wife was upset and she said we don’t need the pastor, we need some medical help. The husband replied hey our pastor can get money out of anybody. When we begin to talk about money at church there are a variety of responses that we get. I know there have been many people through the years who will not attend church for that very reason. But I believe that all of us need to understand and hear what the bible has to say about this topic. Because according to Jesus, money is a spiritual issue. And because it is a spiritual issue there are several things we need to address.
1. The Bible has more to say about money than almost any subject. Jesus spoke of money and possessions frequently. 2. Giving will help us reach people. 3. There are incredible benefits for those who choose to give. The topic of money and giving is a very personal topic. It’s also one that is often debated and people have different thoughts about what the Bible says.
1. There is what we might call poverty theology. People who teach this say we should hate material things and that it’s actually wrong to have money or to have material possessions.
2. Then there is prosperity theology. This teaching say that if we give we will always be rewarded and the more we give the more we get. I see these teachers on TV a lot and they are not telling the truth. They say send me your money and God will reward you. A very large church in Tampa is being investigate now because the pastor lives in a mansion, has a Rolls Royce and several private jets. He is the one who is being rewarded.
3. Then there is the proper theology. I believe the proper way to view our possessions is that they have been entrusted to us by God and we are responsible for managing them. Everything we have really belongs to Him. Actually when we give to God we are merely returning to Him what He already owns. Now before we jump into our text for the morning I want to make a couple of observations. Every one of us whether we want to admit it or not struggle with materialism. Money magazine says that money is now the #1 obsession in America. Actually I think it always has been. 2nd most of us are not comfortable with the struggle. John Stott said years ago we cannot live a life of extravagance and have a healthy conscience at the same time. One or the other has to be sacrificed. We have to choose between God and money. But the good news is that Jesus realized that most people struggle with managing money and that’s why He devoted so much of His teaching to this area of life.
The largest/longest single teaching we have from Jesus would be the sermon on the Mount . We find it in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. We know there were many people listening to Jesus that day. Matthew tells us there were large crowds from all over the area who were present. Jesus was covering a variety of topics: how to treat people, how to forgive, how to handle money, how to pray and eventually He got to the subject of money. Now it shouldn’t surprise us because let’s face it money is a big part of life. We work for it, we fight over it, we think far too much about it, we wish we had more and we worry if we don’t have enough. In this passage Jesus challenges us with a simple question...where is your treasure? Now to answer that question I think there are 4 questions we must ask ourselves; four tests that we must pass.