Summary: Who owns my money determines not only what I give to God, but how I treat God. Who "owns" your money and what difference does it make?
OPEN: Gordon Wood, a preacher in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin once wrote:
“Recently, I tried something different in our worship service. Instead of preaching at the end, I did it first, with music, the offering, and Scripture reading afterward. As I stood behind the pulpit, I could see people getting ready for the offering, until they realized I was starting my message.
Caitlyn, a first grader in the congregation, was perplexed by this change of routine, and whispered frantically to her mom, ‘Doesn’t he know we haven’t paid him to talk yet?’”
APPLY: Why do we give to the church? I mean - do we REALLY give our offerings to pay for the preacher to talk? Do we give of our tithes so that we can make sure staff has their “paychecks” and because the church building needs to be lighted, heated and cooled thru out the year?
In other words: Do we give because we “HAVE” to?
Is there a better reason to give of my offering to the church?
In I Chronicles 29, David tells us why he gave to God.
I. David said he gave - because he believed the money belonged to God to begin with
LOOK WITH ME TO 1 Chronicles 29:13-16 David prays to God:
“Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.”
Who did the money belong to? (GOD)
The money hadn’t been David’s
The offerings hadn’t belonged to the people
Everything belonged to God
II. Why is that important?
Well, 1st – it’s true. And David acknowledged it by saying:
"… who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
Or as James wrote: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
Why is that true? Why would I believe that everything I have comes from God?
ILLUS: A scientist approached God and said, “Listen, we’ve decided we no longer need you. Nowadays, we can clone people, transplant hearts and do all kinds of things that were once considered miraculous.”
God patiently heard him out, and then said, “All right. To see whether or not you still need me, why don’t we have a man making contest?”
“Okay, great!” the scientist said.
“Now we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam,” God said.
“That’s fine,” replied the scientist, and bent to scoop up a handful of dirt.
“Whoa,” God said, shaking his head. “Not so fast, pal. You get your own dirt.”
The point is this: you can’t do ANYTHING without using something God has created. Whether it’s the dirt at your feet, the metal in the ground or any other commodity that you might use to make a living – it was all created by God. Even your skills, your intellect, your physical ability: they’re all from God because God created you in His image. All of the things that you/ I use to make a living … have been given to us.
Now, this idea that God has given us everything is NOT ONLY true… it is pivotal. It’s critical. It’s highly important. BECAUSE it effects how we behave
It not only effects how we give our gifts to God.
It effects how we TREAT God.
ILLUS: Several years ago at a conference John Maxwell told the story of a congressman who took his son to McDonald’s. The father bought his son a Coke and a large order of fries and they went and sat down at one of those table not built big enough for people to sit in.
The father took a drink of his Coke and reached over to get a fry from his son, and his son put his hands around the fries and pulled them back.
The father said, “That’s okay, son.” But as he sat there he started thinking to himself,
“Doesn’t my son realize I’m the one who gave him those fries in the first place?
Doesn’t he realize I can take those fries away from him any time I want?