Summary: How trusting in God through tithing brings many correctives and blessings to our lives.
THE WIDOW’S FAITH
41He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)
A man came to the Lutheran Church and asked to see the pastor. “Pastor,” he said, “My dog died and I would like a Christian burial for him.”
The Pastor said, “I’m sorry to hear about your dog, but we Lutherans don’t do funerals for dogs. You might try the Baptist church down the street. Baptists will do most anything.”
The man turned sadly and said, “I’m sorry you won’t do my dog’s funeral, but I understand. I’ll try the Baptist church. But would you tell me how much is appropriate to leave for a memorial for the church? I was thinking of giving a $10,000 memorial in honor of my dog.”
“Wait a minutes,” the pastor said. “You didn’t tell me that your dog was Lutheran…”
Money speaks. It always gets attention. It got attention that day long ago in the temple. There were 12 large horn-shaped receptacles to receive offerings in the temple. The people would come by and toss their money in the horns. They didn’t have paper money—Large coins make more noise than small ones; gold and silver have a nicer ring than copper. Many coins sound much better than few coins.
People aren’t dummies. They had figured out that if you want to really impress people, then put in lots of large coins. And people were doing it that day in front of Jesus and his disciples.
Then Jesus heard two faint little clunks. A widow woman had put in two little coins that weren’t worth a lot of money. In today’s currency they might have been worth a dollar or two.
I. She didn’t have much money.
a. She needed it for herself.
b. She could have put in just one coin instead of all she had.
c. She didn’t give to make an impression.
d. She didn’t give to get recognition.
II. This poor woman gave EVERYTHING! Why?
a. Because God was EVERYTHING to her:
i. No husband to provide for her
ii. No job to sustain her
iii. No bank account to provide security
b. ALL she had was God.
c. To show her gratitude to God, she gave it ALL back (and was probably the happiest person in the temple that day).
III. Most of us have all kinds of backups: our bank account, credit cards, equity in our homes, friends, family, retirement accounts, Social Security.
a. Truth is, we convince ourselves quite often that we really don’t even need God!
b. We’ve got so many other resources that God stays out of the picture—until a crises hits.
IV. There are many reasons for giving to God, but the top one is that giving to God keeps things in perspective and helps us observe the first commandment to “have no other gods.”
a. Knowing that most people will never have the kind of faith to GIVE EVERYTHING, God has given believers a simple, do-able plan for giving.
i. Nearly everyone here could do it.
ii. Everyone doing it would grow in faith.
iii. The level of joy would grow.
b. What is this plan of God?
c. It’s called the TITHE.
V. The TITHE is simple: Just take your paycheck and divide it by 10%--that part goes to God.
a. The only way we could ever get 10% out of our spending is if that 10% comes “off the top.”
b. The bible even gives us an invitation whereby you can’t go wrong. Listen to this:
10Bring the full tithe into the storehouse…and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. (Malachi 3:8-10)
c. God says the tithe brings “overflowing blessing.”
d. Can we believe this?
VI. The TITHE is a trust thing. It gets right to the CENTER OF CHRISTIAN FAITH.
a. Both the widow at Zarapaph and the poor woman at the temple had nothing but God—but God was enough for them.
b. Some churches wisely will not allow a person to become a member unless they tithe exactly because TITHING gets to the center of trusting God.
i. Tithing shows that the member’s hearts are in the right place.