Summary: Sermon about joyful and sacrificial giving
“Stop Giving – You’re giving too much” - Exodus 35:4-36:6
Gladstone Baptist Church – 28/5/06 am
S1 - Christian organisations always seem to be asking for money and people to do God’s work. It is always “Please give more.” It is never “Stop giving – You’re giving too much!”
There is one thing that all charity organizations, volunteer organizations and Christian churches have in common – they always seem to be asking for more money and people to volunteer to do work. There is never enough to go around.
Christian organizations have a bad reputation for it. Always asking for more money. Some will offer to give you a book if you send a donation to them. Some just send out thinly veiled prayer letters in attempt to prick your conscience to give to them. No matter what the tactic is – it is always the same plea “Please give more.” It is never “Please stop giving – you’ve given too much.”
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we heard that “Please stop giving – you’ve given too much. We don’t know what to do with all the money and we can’t with a clear conscience keep taking your money because we can’t use it effectively for God’s kingdom. We’ve got all that we need.”
But I don’t think I’ve ever heard this said. Instead it is “Please would you please consider supporting God’s work here.”
There was once a young minister, fresh out of bible college, who thought it would help him better understand the fears and temptations of his future congregations if he first took a job as a policeman for several months.
He passed the physical examination easily; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency.
Among other questions he was asked, “What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?” He thought for a moment and then said, “I would pass an offering plate.”
He got the job.
People just don’t like giving to any cause it seems and giving to God’s work is no different. Well over the last few weeks we’ve looked at a few different aspects of giving and I hope that these have challenged you or at least made you begin to think about whether you are honouring God through your giving.
Today, I want to wrap up this series by telling you a story. It is a true story of a group of people who were asked to give to God’s work. I think that we can learn a lot from their attitude and their response.
S2 - Moses once made a request for money and volunteer labour. (35:4-19).
Moses, most of you will know was a man God chose for a special task. He was selected and trained to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. They had been there for over 400 years enslaved and God through a heap of miracles rescued them and set out to lead them to a land he had promised them. More than 2 Million of them.
The first stop though was at a place called Mt Sinai where God invited Moses up on the mountain to meet him and receive instructions for how this huge community was to live. They were to live in a way which honored God and represented him accurately before other nations. Moses received the law and the God established a covenant with the people. After all this had been done, God invited Moses back on the mountain and there Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights with God as God instructed him about how to worship him and how to build the tabernacle – a place where he could live and be worshiped.
Now 40 Days and nights were a long time, and the people began to wonder where old Moses was – had he died up there? They asked Aaron to help them make some Gods who would lead them and so they made up a golden calf. God saw what they were doing and told Moses that he was going to destroy them because of their idolatry. Moses pleads on their behalf and convinces God to spare their lives and not abandon them. Moses goes down and sorts out the people. He is so furious that he smashes the stone tablets that God had written the law on. 3000 people are killed that day by the sword and many others die from a plague God sent, but because of Moses’ faithfulness, God gives the people another chance and invites Moses to return to the mountain for a new set of tablets.
Moses returns this time to a people who had learned their lesson and knew they had escaped destruction by the skin of their teeth. And here is where we come to the request for money. You can follow it along with me in Exodus 35:4 – 36:6.