Summary: Part 4 of a series entitled "Keeping the Beat: Heart Healthy Giving for Heart Healthy Living" Other sermons: "The Heart of the Problem", "Re-Deed Your Heart", and "Spiritual Angioplasty"
In a church in the Deep South where the preaching style was a “talk back” sort of style, the pastor was getting the congregation exited about their prospective future.
The preacher said, “This church is like a crippled man who needs to get up and walk under the power of Jesus!”
The congregation replied, “Let it walk preacher, let it walk.”
Then the preacher said, “This church, like Elijah on Mount Carmel, has got to run.”
The congregation replied, “Let it run preacher, let it run.”
Then the preacher said, “This church has got to mount up on wings like eagles and fly.”
The congregation replied with enthusiasm, “Let it fly preacher, let it fly.”
Then the preacher added, “Now if this church is going to fly it’s going to take MONEY.”
The congregation replied with a lack of enthusiasm, “Let it walk preacher, let it walk.”
Most of you can probably echo that same lack of enthusiasm this morning because for the past three weeks have been dealing with money, a topic that no one wants to talk about but one which must be addressed if we are to become the spiritually healthy disciples that we want to be.
This morning I want to wrap up this series on Heart Healthy Giving but before we do let’s just quickly touch on where we’ve been over the past few weeks.
During our first week together we discovered that how we handle our money is indicative of our spiritual condition. The Bible indicates that faith and finances are inseparable. In the Gospels when a person’s spiritual condition was on the line the determining factor as to whether they were truly ready to give Christ their all was the condition of their finances. That’s why we’ve spent so much time on this topic, because it was so important to Jesus. And as a church whose vision is to make disciples of Jesus Christ we have to focus on those things which were important to Jesus Christ.
During the second week we discovered that as Christians we are not owners, but rather stewards of ourselves, our money, and our possessions. Our job is to manage those possessions wisely.
The Swiss watchmaker Patek Philppe, known for their luxury watches, has a clever advertising slogan: "You never actually own a Patek Philippe; you merely take care of it for the next generation."
That’s the same kind of attitude that we’re to have. We are merely caring for someone else’s resources. And when we realize that it changes the way we manage those resources.
Finally last we discovered that as citizens of the kingdom of God we have a responsibility to support the work of the kingdom. We discovered several forms of spiritual plaque which prevent our hearts from giving in the way that we should give. And we looked ways of eliminating some of the most common obstacles that prevent us from giving as we know we should give.
I heard about a little girl who experienced a major breakthrough in her life when she learned to tie her own shoes. Instead of excitement, she was overcome by tears.
Her father asked, "Why are you crying?"
"I have to tie my shoes," she said.
"You just learned how. It isn’t that hard, is it?"
"I know," she wailed, "but I’m going to have to do it for the rest of my life."
My hunch is that some of us feel the same way when it comes to giving. Now that we understand how important it is to give and we’ve been convicted that we need to be giving, we dread it because we know that we’re going to have to do it over and over again for the rest of our lives.
This morning I want to help you move beyond obligatory giving. While it’s important to be convicted to give in the way that we’re taught to give, it’s also crucial to realize that giving is to be a joyful thing, not something done out of obligation.
Around Thanksgiving a few years ago, radio commentator Paul Harvey shared a true story of a woman and her frozen Thanksgiving turkey.
The Butterball Turkey Company set up a telephone hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for 23 years! The Butterball representative told her the turkey would probably be safe to eat if the freezer had been kept below zero for the entire 23 years. But the representative warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would probably have deteriorated to such a degree that she would not recommend eating it.
The caller replied, “That’s what I thought. We’ll give the turkey to our church.”