Summary: Stewardship involves more than your money; and certainly more than “tithing”.
Focus Passage: Mark 12:41-44
Supplemental Passage: If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NASB)
Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
Introduction: From Pastor Bill Grandi: “Within the last hour I got off the phone from someone who called to inquire about the church I pastor. She had read about the church’s new home in our local paper and wanted more information. However, it was what she told me that really set me “on fire.” She said, “I feel I need to tell you why I left my last church. I believe in tithing but my husband does not. He was coming along but just wasn’t there yet. One Sunday, the pastor said, “If you don’t tithe, walk out of ‘my’ church and don’t come back.” Her husband got up at that very moment and walked out and hasn’t been back to any church since. In fact, he said he would never go back.”
I. Money, Time Talents
a. Sacrificial Giving: Widow’s Mites
b. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales (Acts 4:34 NASB)
II. Law and Legalism versus Grace and Giving
a. Rom 3:21-22 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;
b. Rom 8:8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God
c. Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags
III. Attitude of the Heart (Motivation)
a. Cheerfully - 2Cor 9:7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
b. Generously – Acts 4:32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
Invitation: A person could give 20% and have a poor heart and God is not impressed. A person could go to church 3x a week but have a heart that is not right. God will not be impressed.
The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent. to call giving a tenth of your income to the church “tithing” actually cheapens God’s tithe. The Biblical tithe was ALWAYS on God’s miraculous increase, NOT man’s income. We have picked up the word “tithe” from the Bible, but take the Bible tithe out of context and change the means and instructions.