Summary: The very idea of giving sets off an internal war in us. Whose money is it? It’s a very personal subject. And the biblical concept of stewardship is God owns everything
TITLE: TITHING, AN ISSUE OF THE HEART
SCRIPTURE: I CORINTHAINS 16:1-2
Over the past month it has been noted there has been a decrease in our giving, this usually happens in most Churches during the Summer months when families take Summer Vacations and ordinarily happens again end of the year during the Holidays. It has been suggested I do some Preaching and Teaching on the subject of tithing in an effort to help us.
I recall a story of One particular Preacher was trying to help his congregation one Sunday morning and asked -
• Is there anybody in the congregation who wants a prayer said for their shortcomings?
• Yes, was the answer from a man in the front pew
• I’m a spendthrift
• I throw money around like it is growing on trees!
• Very well, said the Minister
• We will join in prayer for this our dear brother—just as soon as the collection plates have been passed
Preaching and Teaching on Tithing is good to a point, but it is not the most effective way to help us understand the importance of giving to the Lord. After all we Preach and Teach on –
• Forgiveness – Still don’t forgive one another
• Love – Still don’t like some folks around you this morning
• Bible Study and Sunday School – Still only come to morning Worship
• Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath – Still Speak to one another Harshly
I say this to help us understand Preaching and Teaching on Tithing will not have the result you think it will because tithing is an issue of the heart. You have more influence on your relatives and friends than I do from the pulpit. Those of you that Tithe should sit down with your CHILDREN - GRANDCHILDREN - NIECES - NEPHEWS - COUSINS - FRIENDS and have conversations with them about the importance of and why we Tithe and answer any questions they might have.
There’s an old story about a dad who gave his son two quarters as he heads for Sunday School.
• He told the boy that he should give one quarter in the offering and he could keep the other to get an ice cream cone
• I mentioned it is an Old Story -- I guess that price for an ice cream cone proves how old the story is
• As the boy walked down the street he accidentally dropped one of the quarters which then rolled into a storm drain and disappeared
• The boy looked for a moment down the drain and then slowly looked toward the sky, sighed and said, Well God, there goes your quarter
The very idea of giving sets off an internal war in us. Whose money is it? It’s a very personal subject. And the biblical concept of stewardship is God owns everything – both quarters. Stewardship means as believers we are each assigned different amounts of material things to manage for God. And that really is a test from God. But because material things do have our name on them, it creates a tension.
• Who really determines where our money goes?
• Will I really use my financial and material things exactly how God wants me to?
• Yes, Tithing, An Issue of the Heart
By the same token my brothers and sisters, it is important to talk about because there is so much confusion over this issue.
• You listen to one Bible teacher and he says one thing
• You listen to another Bible teacher and he says something else
• You go to one church and the Pastor says one thing
• You go to another church and the Pastor says something else
• It’s the same way with the commentators
• One commentator says one thing and another commentator says something else
In fact, all the way along the spectrum there is confusion.
• We find people who would say the Tithe is binding upon Christians today and that all Christians without exception are to Tithe all the time
• On the other extreme there are those people who say that Tithing belongs under the Law and has no relevance whatsoever for Christians today
• And you will find people all along the spectrum in between those two positions
• So it’s important for us to know about this because there’s so much confusion
As the parent of three adult children who are working and raising families of their own, I wonder do they honor God in their Giving or is this just something they saw us do while raising them? Few years ago, CHRISTIANITY TODAY MAGAZINE carried an article about young adults and financial giving. Here are several sentences that make me concerned about biblical finances for the wider Christian church.