Summary: Why did God require the tithe in the Old Testament? Was it because He needed the money? Consider these possible benefits to giving your gifts to God.
OPEN: Year ago, if you wanted a pair of shoes, you couldn’t go down to “Payless Shoes” or “Shoe Carnival”. You couldn’t even go down to Sears or J.C. Penney to pick a pair of ready made shoes to wear. There was a time when – if you wanted shoes or boots – you had to go someone called a “Shoe Cobbler.”
When Ronald Reagan was a young man, an aunt had taken him to a cobbler to have a pair of shoes made for him. The shoemaker asked the young Reagan “do you want a square toe or a round toe?”
Reagan hemmed and hawed. So the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and let me know what you want.”
A few days later the shoemaker saw Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I still have not made up my mind,” the boy answered. “Very well,” said the cobbler.
When Reagan received the shoes, he was shocked to see that one shoe had a square toe and the other had a round toe.
Years later Reagan commented: “Looking at those shoes every day taught me a lesson. If you do not make your own decisions, somebody else will make them for you!”
APPLY: God created us to be a people capable of making choices. And God has always given His people the power of choice
In the Old Testament, Joshua told the Israelites
“… CHOOSE for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
God calls upon us to make a choice: to choose Him.
Because if we don’t choose Him - to serve Him and obey Him and love Him - then the choice will be made for us.
Someone else or something else will become more important in our lives and God will be shouldered off to one side.
I. So, we need to ACTIVELY choose God.
How do you know if you’ve really done that? How do you know if you have really “chosen” God.
Well… you’re here in worship this morning.
You CHOSE to get out of bed
You CHOSE to get dressed and drive to church
You CHOSE to worship Him and sing, pray and fellowship… because you wanted to please Him and to honor Him with your presence.
And most of you here are Christians
At one point in your lives you believed in Jesus Christ. You repented of your past. Confessed that you wanted Jesus to be the Lord and Master of your life. And you were buried in the waters of Christian baptism and risen up to a new life.
You took Jesus as your savior because you wanted to “choose” God. Someone has called this decision “giving your heart to Jesus”.
And that is one of the most important decisions you can make… giving your heart to Jesus.
A man once approached Jesus and asked Him what the most important command of the Law was. And Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
But what does it meant to give Jesus ALL of your heart?
Jesus said: “… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
So, according to that Scripture, one of the ways I will know if I’ve given ALL of my heart to Jesus is based upon where my treasure is.
ILLUS: Years ago, Sharon E. Rosenthal, 59, left the Union she was working for and took more than $3,000 along with her. She wasn’t supposed to do that. So, she was arrested and brought up before the law. She was sentenced in Winnebago County Circuit Court on one felony count of theft. Judge Scott Woldt offered her the choice of either serving jail time or donating her family’s four seats in the Packers‘ three-game season package to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (the last report I heard was that there is a 20 year waiting list for tickets like these).
So the judge had offered her a choice. Her freedom for tickets.
She looked the judge in the eye and said - she’d have to think about it.
Where was Sharon’s heart? What was most important to her? Was it her freedom, or her Packer’s tickets that were her treasure?
It’s easy to measure isn’t it? Her treasure was tied up in those tickets - so much so that she might have been willing to do jail time for felony theft to keep them.
Likewise you can tell how much of your heart you have CHOSEN to give God based upon this. (I pulled out my wallet and opened it up for all to see) If you want to measure how dedicated you are to God… you need to start with your billfold, and your checking account.