Summary: This sermond deals with God’s desire to transform us into generous givers.
Transforming Attitudes Toward Money
Let’s begin with a short film clip on our attitude toward our blessing. The portions of Scripture in the clip comes from 2 Corinthians 8:7. It says7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you [a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. Have you ever prayed, “Lord let me excel in this grace of giving?”
Have you ever heard a challenge about giving and said I want to give that amount one day. I can remember when Pastor Toby and I were in seminary. We got a job as house-parents taking care of kids in a group home. We each made $8000.00 for a total salary of $16000. At the time it seemed as though we were rich compared to what we had been making. We were always tithers even before we got married.
I remember listening to Dr. Kennedy preaching a sermon on tv and he said, “I thank God that I reached the place where I could give as a tithe what I first made as my salary. Something inside of me said, I want to do that too. I looked forward to the day, when we would be able to give $16000.00 in a year for the work of the ministry.
Of course I thought that if we gave $16,000 that would mean we were earning $160,000.00. Well I was wrong in that our salary has never reached $160,000 but for several years we have past the $16,000 mark in our giving. What happened was a transformation in our attitude towards money. Giving to the kingdom of God has been one of the best decisions we ever made. God has blessed us in ways we could not have imagined.
God is not opposed to you having money. God even has a plan for you to receive more money than you deserve. Just like in the clip, those donuts showed up undeserved, God has blessings for you that are completely undeserved. In our Old Testament passage, we see that God is willing to bless everything around us. But there are some requirements that God asks of us in return. God ask for our obedience. We will not obey God if we do not trust God. Think of all the big things we trust God for. We trust God to keep earthquakes out of Cleveland. We trust God to keep the sun working for our lifetime. We trust God to not suspend the law of gravity which would allow our oxygen to escape.
We trust God to watch over our children. We trust God to keep these bodies working. We trust God to watch over us as we drive, knowing that there are drunk drivers on the road and people on cell phones texting. We will boast to others of our trust in God for our salvation, even though we know we don’t deserve to be saved based on our record of behavior.
We testify that God is good all the time and that God is an awesome God. We even declare, “How Great Thou Art,” and just in case people didn’t hear it the first time we say it again “how Great thou Art.”
Yet when it comes to possessions and money, we are not so sure that God can replace what we give back to God. God has a simple plan for financial increase. God says “if you give me back 10% of what I give you, I promise you, I will increase the 90% that you have. Trust me on this. I will have your back.”
This is the only place where God says, “put me on the spot and give me a chance to prove myself. I’m only asking for 10% of what you have.” Yet most Christians, are saying to God, I do not believe you can do this or that you will do this for me.” Let me ask you this, is it because you believe God is a liar, God is unwilling, or God is not loving and gracious that you say no to God’s offer.
Our attitude toward our money influences the way we will understand God. When Jesus is on the inside of us, our love for God will influence our attitude toward our money. As pastors for 20 years we have watched many of you in your attitudes toward money. Some of you when you had little, you gave nothing. God has blessed you with a salary most of the congregation would love to have, and you still give little of nothing, but you do spend well on yourself.
Some of you when you had little, you tithed on that little. Now that God has blessed you with more, some a lot more, you still tithe. You have seen God bless you with things you did not think would come your way, but they did. Some of you have not increased your giving for years. Yet you wonder why God is not blessing you. Others of you are eager to give 10% of everything that comes into your life in any way form or fashion. You’re not waiting to be blessed, you are already blessed because your goal is to be a blessing to the kingdom of God.