Summary: This is our Stewardship sermon #2... focusing on tithing.
7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, ’How are we to return?’ 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, ’How do we rob you?’ "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
“Tis a Gift”
If the ushers would help me out a little bit now… I would like them to hand out today’s sermon illustration. One dollar. This dollar now belongs to you. It is a TRUE gift. It is one more dollar than you had before you walked into this church… and you are required to do absolutely nothing… NOTHING… to earn it. It is not out of the church budget… it is not from the worship committee… this gift does not come from the church at all… it comes out of Alyssa’s and my bank account. It is not from my professional account and it is not part of my 10% tithe for the year. This… is a one dollar gift from me to you. And I don’t expect anything back in return.
The only advice I will give to you regarding this dollar is… I want you to treat it like it represents everything God has given to you. I absolutely do not want you to give it back to me, or to Alyssa, or try to be sneaky and give it to William. You see… that money was not mine to begin with… it was God’s… and God blessed me with it… and encouraged me to use it today as a gift for you, so do not give it back to me… that dollar is REALLY from God. The second thing I will encourage you to do… is that I don’t want you to put this back in the offering plate when we pass the plates around… mainly because I want you to leave church today with this dollar in your pocket… and the thought that this dollar is a gift from God… that this dollar represents every gift God has given you.
Psalms 24:1-2 says, "All of the world is the Lord’s & everything that is in it." Everything you have is a gift… just like this dollar was a gift. Your house, your job, your money, your success, your talents, your life… everything… was a gift from God. And here’s the real kicker… he doesn’t put any conditions on it whatsoever… he gives it to us freely. We get to decide what we do with what God has given us. We can do anything we want with it. The question isn’t whether we’ve earned it… the question isn’t whether we deserve it… no: the question is… what are we going to do with the gifts God has given us?