Summary: This is a sermon about giving.
• A preacher wanted to see if a farmer in his congregation was willing to support the Lord’s work. So one day he challenged him with some direct questions. "If you had two farms" he asked," would you be willing to give one to God?" "Why, certainly!" replied the man. "I only wish I were in a position to do so." The minister then asked, "If you had $10,000, would you give $5,000 to the Lord?" Without hesitation the man responded, "How I’d love to have that kind of money! I’d enjoy giving generously like that." Then the preacher asked this pointed question: "If you had two pigs, would you give one to the church?" The farmer hesitated for a moment and then blurted out, "That’s not fair. You know I’ve got two pigs. - Our Daily Bread 1998
• Today we are going to deal with a subject that affects each one of us in a profound way. It is a subject that stirs up a wide range of emotions in people ranging from joy to anger.
• Today I want us to take a look at the subject of giving.
• This is an important subject. It is also a touchy subject.
• Did you know that money is important to God? It is the second most talked about subject in the Bible behind love. Why? I believe our attitudes about money are a gage of where we are spiritually.
• In 2002, 6% of born again adults tithed. This represents an 8 percentage point decline from 2001, (14% of born again adults tithed) and a 6 point decline from 2000, (12% of all born again adults). (2003) (www.barna.org)
• When we do not understand the principle of giving, we not only hurt the operation of the kingdom of God, but we also cheat ourselves out of many blessings that God wants to give to us.
• Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 9:5-15
I. THE PRINCIPLE OF PLANTING (6)
• In verse six, we find a very simple principle. If you want to reap a harvest, you need to plant some seed.
• My father-in-law is a farmer. Each year when it comes time to plant, they order the appropriate amount of seed to plant and after preparing the soil, they plant it.
• After the appropriate amount of rain, sun and time, they fire up the combines for what they hope is a large harvest.
• Verse six tells us he who sows (plants) sparingly, will also reap (harvest) sparingly. This makes a lot of sense.
• Looking at my father-in-law again. What if when it came time to plant he decided he was not going to purchase any seed to plant? What would happen when it was time for the harvest? NOTHING.
• What if he said, “Seed is expensive so we are going to purchase only 25% of what we need to plant?”
• What would happen at harvest time? There would be a small harvest.
• What if he decided to dream about having a great harvest, but that is all he did? What would happen when it was time to harvest? NOTHING.
• In verse six, we are told if we sow bountifully, we will also reap bountifully.
• When is the harvest? We reap benefits now and we will also reap benefits for eternity.
• READ Matthew 6:19-21
• All of us are planting seeds. The question is where are we planting them? When you want to raise corn, you plant corn. When you want beans, you plant beans. What kind of harvest do you want?
• READ GALATIANS 6:7-8
• Are you planting seeds to the flesh, so that you will reap a material harvest or are you planting seeds to the Spirit to reap a harvest for eternal life?
• Where would we be today if in 1969 the people of Auburn Christian Church decided not to plant the seeds necessary to make this building a reality? Think of all the people we have won to Jesus over the years since. Would we have reached them with the status quo?
• What if the Church had not decided in 1972 to go to the Faith Promise method of raising funds for the Missions program? How many people worldwide have been won because of the $400,000 we have sent to the mission’s field since?
• Given the fact that according to the Barna study only 6% of Christian tithe is it no wonder why a lot of churches struggle.
• In our lives, we will reap the harvest for which we planted for. If you sow sparingly, you will not have much of a harvest.
II. PROPER PLANTING REQUIRES THOUGHTFUL PLANNING (7)
A. Purposed in the heart.
• EACH CHRISTIAN is to give. The beginning of verse 7 is all inclusive.