Summary: We print it on our currency. But in our life we have to determine how to fill in the blank. I will place my trust in ___________.
Audit Your Approach
It is right there in green and white. It is engraved into the silver, copper, and gold. It is a prominent feature on our currency. It is a statement of trust. It is a statement of reliance and dependence. However, I want to submit to you that most of us have trust issues and the way we handle what we seem to value most disputes whether we really trust God! In fact, I often wonder if we have removed Him from the statement and instead have filled His spot with a blank and a laundry list of items we trust more.
Recent surveys bare out the fact that we claim we trust but don't practice trust! Lip service to trust but no real expression of trust.
Christians are currently giving at 2.5% of income; but during the Great Depression it was 3.3%. 37% of regular church attendees and Evangelicals give money to church. Which means 63% are experiencing the benefits of being a part of the body with no investment to keep those benefits available.
I want to say a dirty word this morning! It isn't a four letter word but 5 audit. No one looks forward to or likes an audit. But audits are a necessary procedure to make an accurate assessment of the financial situation of an individual or a corporation. This can be a painful process. I will be honest and tell you that will be true this morning as well because I want to challenge you to "Audit Your Approach."
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NIV)
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10 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. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Paul is addressing the Corinthians regarding an offering they promised to send to the believers in Jerusalem. He reminds them that if you sow sparingly you reap sparingly. He goes on to say that God, in response to abundant and cheerful sowing, will increase the supply so that their generosity will continue to grow to the point that they have the ability to give on every occasion. That statement right there is the real intent of this entire series! I am trying to get something to you rather than from you!
How many of you would like to see God bless you to the degree that you can be generous on every occasion?
If that is true . . . We must learn that we will not see what we do not sow!
If I sparingly sow, then I will sparingly reap. What is sparingly? Give me a bare minimum that I must meet. What is the dollar amount that I can give that breaks out of the sparingly bracket? I would suggest to you that (SLIDE 8) sparingly has nothing to do with amount and everything to do with approach. Remember, Jesus praised the widow who gave the smallest offering - 2 mites. He marveled at the approach when the amount was laughable. Why? Because it was a generous gift that was sown out of need!
I want to drill down on our approach! My concern is that when it comes to giving and God we have a tendency, if unchallenged, to try to approach, operate or get by with the bare minimum.
I think I can make that assertion because so many people waffle and resist the concept of the tithe. The tithe first appears in the OT and is the concept of the first fruits. Or the very first thing we do, out of gratitude, is make an offering back to God in gratitude for His faithfulness. Signaling that we understand that what we have is from Him. This has translated into the modern church to 10%. Simply illustrated the concept is that if we have 10 dollars we give 1 to God and by doing so it redeems or blesses the other 9 that we live on.
But I want to back up a minute. I hear the resistance. I see the struggle. I hear people say tithing is an OT concept but we forget that . . .