Summary: I want to address those more this morning, but not without sharing my honest concern in addressing these things, concerns for what some of you may carry from the past; that THE CHURCH IS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR MONEY THAN YOU
Last Sunday night as I met with our elders and home group leaders¡K great time of discussion, and as they began to impress upon me how positive these past couple of weeks of focusing on stewardship with God and giving have been, and at the same time, how many practical questions still seemed to remain for them and others¡K practical questions about finances and giving.
I want to address those more this morning, but not without sharing my honest concern in addressing these things, concerns for what some of you may carry from the past; that THE CHURCH IS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR MONEY THAN YOU.
For many of us, perhaps we experience the opportunity to give as one of obligation¡K or some type of religious deal
Heard one story - The family sat down at the dinner table following church one Sunday. ¡§The sermon was boring today,¡¨ said the 16-year-old son. ¡§Yeah, could you believe how the pastor stumbled over the reading of the scripture?¡¨ his sister chimed in. ¡§I¡¦ve got to admit it was an uninspiring day,¡¨ said Mother. ¡§The choir was terrible.¡¨
Father, showing his leadership, said, ¡§Hush, you guys. Quit complaining. What did you expect for a quarter?¡¨
¡K hope that doesn¡¦t hit to close to home for you, but if it does, let me be clear, this isn¡¦t about a business deal between you and I, it¡¦s about a trust relationship between you and our Creator Father¡K who¡¦s owner and we whom he¡¦s entrusted and wants to work intimately with.
GOD WANTS YOU
¡§Stewardship isn¡¦t about raising money, but raising kids.¡¨
- I have tithed for years¡K but as I¡¦ve studied these areas in the recent months, it has liberated my relationship with God like nothing in years; it¡¦s taken me back to the core of my trust of god and unleashed a sense of faith like when I was a child.
- This morning I want to share some of the principles of how stewardship and giving can offer us an experience of growing in faith.
- Rather than looking at one text, I want to draw upon this study of recent months to offer 6 principles drawn from several texts; 6 principles that I believe will help address some of the practical questions you might have
1. GIVE TO EXPERIENCE GOD¡¦S FAITHFULNESS
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)
- Here God speaks prophetically to His people, who were to tithe or give the first tenth of all their harvest to God, because in withholding their tithe, they were withholding their trust.
- And to this God says ¡§Test Me¡¨
- Only place in all of scripture where God says ¡§Test Me¡¨
- God knows that here in basic material needs lies the foundation of trust
- Many of us want to meet certain higher felt needs, but haven¡¦t developed a basic trust for our basic needs.
- If we were to see this as Abraham Maslow did with his hierarchy of human needs; God is essentially saying ¡§FAITH BEGINS AT THE FOUNDATION¡¨; where¡¦s your base of trust to which I can be your Provider and Sustainer?
The man of pseudo faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuses flatly to allow himself to get into a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape so He will have a way out if the roof caves in. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they must do at the last day. (A.W. Tozer)
Proverbs 3:1-10¡K listen to the reciprocation of promise and command
- Each promise is preceded with a command
- That¡¦s the nature of developing trust
- Much like any relationship, we can build walls of self-sufficiency; where no on e can hurt us, but no one can help us.
- IT DOESN¡¦T MATTER WHAT GOD COULD DO FOR US, IF WE DON¡¦T CHOOSE TO TRUST HIM.
- He doesn¡¦t want to play God or Father; He wants to be your God and Father; and that demands our giving him opportunity¡K opportunity to bless us.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. 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. (II Corinthians 9:6,8,10)