Summary: Message on Tithing and Stewardship
The Sermon On The Amount
Today we are going to address the topic of giving, and explore what the Word of God says about this dynamic area of not only Christian life, but also of the life of anyone who simply wants to “win” at life by becoming a giver.
Most likely, in the heart of hearts of most people there is a desire to be a giver, but often the discussion goes way off the map when it goes into “how much” should I give, and does it matter what kind of attitude I have when I give?
There are so many questions regarding giving, but the world might often ask, how it is that anyone who gives something away can actually in turn become a better person, and have their needs met unless they keep it all.
A favorite story is of a man of substance approached to contribute to a major financial campaign. The urgent need and compelling case were stated, and the call was made for his support. The man responded: "I understand why you think I can give fifty thousand dollars. I am a man with my own business and, it is true, I have all the signs of affluence. But there are some things you don’t know. Did you know that my mother is in an expensive nursing home?" Well, no, we didn’t know. "Did you know also that my brother died, and left a family of five and had almost no insurance?" No, we didn’t. "Did you know my son is deeply religious, has gone into social work, and makes less than the national poverty level to meet the needs of his family?" No, we hadn’t realized. "Well, then, if I don’t give any of them a penny, why do you think I’ll give it to you?"
Donald E. Messer
This is simply going to be an honest look at the issue of stewardship from a passage in 1 Chronicles which talks about how David and the people provided the resources for building the temple of God.
As we look at this passage together we will be asking and answering three questions:
1) Why do we give?
2) How do we give?
3) What do we give?
We will not be exhaustive in our answers to these questions but will primarily stick to this passage and see what it has to say to us regarding these things.
In today’s message we will learn that stewardship is a matter of the heart, and a sign of loyalty to God. David writes, “O Lord, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire (for stewardship) in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you” (29:18).
Godly Stewardship of our finances is the evidence that our hearts are truly loyal to God. This is the case because our finances are usually one of the last areas that we are willing to turn over to God. Therefore, when one becomes a good steward of finances through becoming a giver, we can be sure of their devotion to God. A pastor I know once said, “If God has their checkbook, you know he has their heart.” I think that is very true. Let’s look at this passage together.
I. WHY SHOULD WE GIVE?
This is a very good question to start with as it is foundational to understand the purpose of stewardship. Many would say that they have worked very hard to earn their money and so why should they turn around and give it away to God. They worked for it. They earned it. It belongs to them. But as we begin to delve into the passage at hand we quickly learn that this simply isn’t true.
A) Because Giving Reminds Us That Everything Belongs To God.
If it really belongs to you, you can do with it as you please. However right off the bat we learn that it doesn’t really belong to us but to God. David prays, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours” (v. 11).
This exposes a fundamental flaw in the world views of most people including many Christians. It shows us that our possessions and our money really belong to God and not to us. And since it doesn’t belong to us in the first place we have no right to hoard it for ourselves.
A steward is like a manager of a local McDonald’s Restaurant who carries out the aims of the owners, maximizes profits, while handling all the problems. Dr. Elmer Towns, who co-founded Liberty University also teaches a stewardship lesson in the Pastor’s Bible Class at Thomas Road Baptist Church which is the most requested lesson of all he has taught. "Who Owns Your French Fries". It is the story of a man who buys his little boy some french fries. Then the father does what all fathers do, he reaches over and takes one french fry to taste it. The little boy slaps his father’s hand and says, "Don’t touch my french fries." The father thinks that his son is selfish. The father knows that he bought the french fries and they belong to him. The father knows that his son belongs to him. The father could get angry and never buy his son another french fry again to teach his son a lesson, or the father could "bury" his son in french fries. The father thinks, "Why is my son selfish, I have given him a whole package of french fries; I just want one french fry." God has given us money, when He asks for a tithe, people figuratively slap His hand and say, "Keep Your hands off my money." God owns everything we have.