Summary: Tithing is a touchy subject in churches, but the reason for tithing is it is commanded in scripture, it reflects the values of your heart, and the work of the church requires money.
Intro: Today we are going to be talking about a subject that makes many people uncomfortable. We are not talking about sex or divorce or gossip. Instead, we are talking about the issue of money.
For many people, the thought is the church is always after money. And, in all honesty, there have been great problems dealing with money and finances in the church. Many churches and ministry leaders are guilty of misusing funds or stockpiling money.
As we begin today, let me give you three reasons why it is important for you to be purposefully generous in giving to support the ministry of the church.
It is commanded in scripture.
“On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.”
I Corinthians 16:2A (NIV)
It reflects the values of your heart.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
The work of the church requires money.
Our church operating budget for 2005 is $174,358.04
Anyone who would like one can pick up the most current budget breakdown we have on the table in the lobby.
So, if those three things are true, what are some principles about how God wants us to give?
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever."
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NIV)
I. God desires for you to play a part in his work.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
Paul is writing to a church that is giving to support the work of Christ.
God wants us to understand the Law of Reciprocity:
You reap what you sow.
You reap more than you sow
You reap later than you sow.
You will only harvest what you invest.
“Give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving.” Peter Marshall
When we give as God desires, he blesses us in ways we don’t always understand.
The point of this passage is simple:
Give generously to harvest generously
I am not supposing to tell you how to give. I merely want you to decide if you are investing the way you would like to harvest.
II. God wants you to give joyfully
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
God does not want you to give from guilt.
As we see money and possessions from God’s perspective, we learn that we can joyfully give what we have because it came from him.
“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.” Proverbs 15:15-16(NIV)
Wealth does not bring fulfillment; right relationship with God brings fulfillment.
A mother wanting to teach her young daughter a lesson gave her a dollar bill and a quarter before church. “Put whichever one you want in the offering plate and keep the other for yourself.” When they were coming out of church, the mother asked the daughter which amount she had given. “Well, I was going to put in the dollar,” the little girl said. “But right before the collection the man said we should be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did.”
Are you giving cheerfully or guiltily?
III. God will meet your need when you give.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”. 2 Corinthians 9:8
God promises that you may not have all you want but you will have all you need.