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Summary: This sermon examines the Biblical basis for giving.

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Title: Is tithing worth the effort?

Text: Genesis 14:17-20

Date: 1/13/08

Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church

illustration: The pastor of a church that didn’t have the reputation for being very generous with their giving decided that it was time to do something drastic in order to teach the congregation the importance of giving. He contacted an electrician and had all of the pews wired.

The next Sunday which was the first Sunday of the New Year, the time when the church had traditionally taken up pledges from the people the Pastor stood up and made the following announcement. "From now on instead of putting your pledges in sealed envelopes and turning them into the church office all pledges will be made publicly during the worship service." Then he said, so let’s get started. "All of you who will pledge to give ten dollars a week, please stand up." As soon as he said this he pushed a button that the electrician had installed in the pulpit and it sent a jolt of electricity through the wires and into the pews. Immediately about one half of the congregation jumped to their feet. The pastor reached down and adjusted a knob on the podium and then said, "All you who will pledge to give twenty dollars a week please stand." A second stronger volt of electricity caused several more people to rise to their feet. This whole process was repeated several times. Each time the pledge amount was raised along with the voltage. The ushers had to work fast just to record all of the names and pledges.

After the service the pastor and his staff were busy adding up the totals and congratulating themselves on the great success of the annual stewardship campaign—Their enthusiasm ended abruptly however, when one of the Deacons opened the door and announced that four church members had been electrocuted because they refused to stand up.

Now don’t worry, the Stewardship Committee and I didn’t wire the seats and I have no plans of doing anything like that. It’s none of my business whether you give $1 or $100, that’s between you and God. But as your Pastor it is my responsibility to tell you that what you give to the Lord every week is a good indication of your faith in God and your spiritual maturity. In other words, one of the best ways to monitor how you’re doing spiritually is to take a look at your giving.

(1) . THE FIRST POINT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS: THAT GIVING IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP.

Just as the Wise men bowed down and worshipped the Lord when they presented their gifts to Him it is an act of worship when we give our tithes and offerings on Sunday morning. It is a way for each of us to show our love and appreciation to God for everything He does for us.

When we give our tithes and offerings to the Lord it is important that we have the right attitude. We should never give because we feel obligated to do so or simply out of habit. Instead we should give our tithes and offerings to the Lord because we love God and want to thank him for blessing us. .

Not only that, we should never give expecting to receive anything in return. Even though the Bible teaches that God will open up the storehouses of heaven and pour His blessings out upon us, we should never give in order to get more.

Next, I personally believe we should give our tithes and offerings to the Lord without any strings attached. Now I realize that I may be walking on thin ice with a few of you here this morning, but I’ve never understood how anyone can rationalize ‘designating’ their tithe. In my opinion that’s like giving someone $100 as a Christmas present and then stipulating how they can spend the money.

I believe our tithes should be given to the Lord through the local church and anything you want to give over and above that can be designated to whatever fund or ministry that you want to support.

Worship is a word that comes from the word “worthy.” We give to God because he is Lord of the universe and He and He alone is worthy of our worship and praise. We should not only worship Him with our lips, but with our gifts and with our lives. As I mentioned last week, in the 12th chapter of Romans the Apostle Paul urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord.

One of the questions that people have about giving, especially people who did not grow up in the church, is just how much they should give? I would never tell anyone that they were required to give a certain amount or even a certain percentage of their income, because I believe that is between the individual and God.

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