Summary: A STEWARDSHIP SERMON on giving that flows from a thank-ful heart.
Little boy comes to his penny pinching father and asks for $20. His Father replies, “$10 dollars, what are you going to do with $ 5 dollars?” The boy says, “I need it for a school field trip.” Reluctantly the father takes out his wallet and hands his son $ 2 dollars. Pleased with himself for having knocked $20 dollars down to $ 2, the father misses the grin upon his son’s face. His teacher had told the class that they would only need 50 Cents. This is stewardship Sunday and I’m sure many of you are saying to yourselves, “Here it comes, the yearly talk about money. We know what you’re going to say. You want us to give, you want us to give more. We heard the scripture read, “he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” You want us to give bountifully, don’t you? You want us to give and give and give. You probably think that this sermon is going to be like the pastor who stood before his church and said, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we have all the money we could every use... The bad news is that it’s all still in your wallets.”
There are plenty of people in this church who would love to see you give more money. The trustees, who have a score of projects in need of money. Those in Education, who are always in need of money for resources and activities. The Mission committee, who are flooded with needs that go well beyond their budget for the year. Not to mention all those who serve on finance and stewardship. I could easily stand with these people because I know of their needs. I could ask of you to give, and give, and give some more. Give until it hurts, give until you bleed. Give, give, give. But as you pastor I am faced with a dilemma. My dilemma is that right after Paul encourages us to sows bountifully that we might reap bountifully, he then goes on to say, “Each one must do as he has mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Each and everyone of us must decide for ourselves what we will give to this church in support of Christ’s ministry.
We are not to give begrudgingly or under a weight of obligation. I know you are all sad over the fact that I’m not, therefore, allowed to use guilt. No, says the apostle Paul. If there is to be any feeling connected to our giving it should be the feeling of cheerfulness. There should be an overflowing sense of joy in our giving.
I sought His love in sun and stars, and where the wild seas roll;
I found it not; as mute I stood, Fear overwhelmed my soul;
But when I gave to one in need, I found the Lord of love in deed.
Thomas Curtis Clark
As I say this, there are several individuals who deal with the finances of our church who are probably cringing right about now. Give cheerfully, they are saying, but what if a person’s cheerfulness comes from giving nothing? And that is the chance we take, isn’t it! when we chose to trust one another to give as they feel God has led them to give. You and I know that our church is in need of money. Money to continue making repairs to our building. Money to pay back the loan we took to put on the new roof. Money to repair our organ. Money to support our on-going missions. Money just to keep things running, and so on, and so on...etc. But if the money doesn’t all come in as is needed, we could cut back on something, can’t we? We could trim our budgets, couldn’t we? But let me ask you. If we were to eliminate our missions budget, would that make you cheerful? If we were to cut out our education program, would that gladden your heart? We could even call it quits, close up the church, and all go do something else. But where’s the joy in that? Let me ask you. Do you receive anything in coming to our church? Do you feel loved by those around you? Is your faith strengthened through being here? Are you blessed by God in your fellowship with us? If the answer is yes, then in receiving you are expected by God to pass on to others what you have received.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”