Summary: God has a claim on your life. He does not just claim a part of you for Himself. He claims all of you. He doesn’t just want part of you…He wants all of you.
Burt Reynolds once starred in a film titled “The End.” In the movie he decides to take his life by swimming as far as he can until he is completely exhausted and then not having the strength to get back he thought he would drown. But as he begins to sink under the water he changes his mind and decides not to go through with it.
As he breaks through the surface of the water he shouts out I want to live, I want to live. He then starts swimming back to shore but it’s a long way off. So as he is swimming he starts talking with God. He promises to obey all of the Ten Commandments. Then he realizes he doesn’t actually know what all of them are so he says well I will at least learn them. Then in his panic he says Lord if you will get me out of this I will give you 80% of everything I have. Time passes and now the shore is getting closer. For the first time he thinks he will actually make it and he says Lord if you will help me to get to the shore alive I will 10% of everything I have. Finally he struggles to the place where he sees that he is going to make it to land and he says well Lord let’s just forget what I sad.. I think I can make it from here on my own.
That is much like the attitude of many of us today and this kind of thinking says a lot about our attitude toward giving.
Week 1. We looked at David the psalmist. He was the only man in the Bible of whom it was said, “he was a man after God’s own heart. He had the heart of a shepherd.” He loved God’s people.
Week 2. We looked at Joseph. He was mistreated, thrown into a pit, into prison and left for dead by his brothers. Didn’t see his family for over ten years. In the end he said “what man meant for evil, God meant for good. Joseph had a heart of forgiveness.
In the 3rd week we looked at Moses. A powerful leader but he also had his weaknesses. He learned the importance of change; of flexibility and that when we get off track we must be willing to change. Our hearts must be soft or we won’t.
Week 4 we looked at Jesus. There are many things we could point out here but I want to say the thing I notice first is that Jesus had a heart for people who hurt.
Week 5 we looked at Noah. Noah had a blameless heart. He also had an obedient heart. He was willing to do an impossible thing simply because God wanted Him to.
Last week we looked at Stephen. Stephen had a heart to always do the right thing---regardless of the cost.
This is week 7 and today we take a look at a woman. We haven’t given equal time to the ladies. And we are looking at the widow who gave what we refer to as the widow’s mite. Understand the purpose behind this study for the past two months , titled “HEARTBEATS” is not just for us to glance back into history to look at the lives of these godly men and women but our purpose is really to LEARN from them. To learn how to have a heart that pleases God.
Now there is a big connection I want you to understand today…and that is the connection between GIVING and THANKGIVING. Jesus also made a connection between GIVING and FORGIVING in John 3:16. Throughout the remainder of this message this is the question I want to ask you to think about… think about your heart and ask yourself this question…..
Do I have a heart of giving? Where am I in my commitment to giving? You see too many of us think well I don’t have much, so I can’t give. Everyone can give. Giving is not reserved for the wealthy. And your commitment to giving or your lack of commitment to giving says a lot about you. Anyone who does not have a basic commitment to give will never be truly thankful. They’re connected.
First of all, (1) Giving is an act of worship. My commitment to giving tells others what my priorities are in life. When I give I am expressing my thankfulness to a holy God. When I give I am always reminded that everything I have comes from Him. When I give it lets God know that I realize that I would have nothing were it not for Him. We give to God because he is worthy of our gifts. And when you look closely at the word worthy you begin to notice that it is connected to the word worship. We worship Him with our time by spending time with Him… we worship Him with our talents by using our gifts in the local church and we worship Him with our treasures by spending our money on his work through the church. Now we have to ask question, how much should I give? Think through this with me today.