Summary: A sermon about giving and tithing.

Malachi 3:7-10

Mark 12:41-44

“What Can God Do with What You Got?”

When I was serving a church in Virginia, one of the members was a struggling addict who was now going to the local community college and working a part time job at a nearby grocery store.

Some Sunday mornings he would have to work…

…we didn’t have an evening service at Parkview United Methodist Church…

…and so, the week before a Sunday that he would have to miss due to work, he would invariably stop by my office to deliver his tithe.

And it was a tithe; no doubt about it.

And even though his income was small, his regular, weekly tithe came out to actually be more than what about

75 percent of the rest of the congregation were giving.

Pretty amazing, huh?...

…but, sadly it is not terribly unusual.

It is often noted that those who can, quote—unquote, “afford” to give the most…don’t hardly give at all.

And those who make the least often give the biggest percentages.

One day a pastor was called to the house of a church member who was having financial difficulties.

The pastor counseled him for a while and then stopped.

“Let’s have a word of prayer and while I pray, you make a commitment to give one-tenth of your income to the Lord.”

Thinking about his income, the man thought to himself, “That won’t be difficult. That’s only $1,800 a year—only $34.61 a week.”

They prayed, and the man promised to give back 10 percent to the Lord and to the Lord’s work.

Years passed and the man’s income had increased to over $200,000 a year.

He called for the pastor again.

“Pastor, I’d like to be released from that 10 percent I promised the Lord several years back.

A tenth of my income is now over $20,000 a year, and I have some plans for spending that.”

“That’s no problem,” the pastor replied.

“Let’s pray.”

As they bowed their heads, the pastor began to pray, “Lord, You know what a problem this bigger salary has been to my brother here.

I’m asking You to reduce his income, perhaps to the original $18,000 a year, so he’ll be able to afford his tithe once again…”

Tithing helps the Church and it helps the tither.

The Church has been commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

It’s a great commission which also needs great support!

A Church that tithes is not only able to pay its light bills, air conditioning and heating bills, pay it’s pastor and staff…

…but most importantly, a Church that tithes is able to expand its outreach because the Church’s primary motivation is always the reaching of lost souls with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!

And in Malachi Chapter 3 God gives a bit of caution to those who reject God’s call for proportional giving.

“Will a [person] rob God?”

The verb “rob” here literally means “to cover” and thus to defraud and steal.

“Robbing God” means keeping back from God what rightfully belongs to God.

It also means, keeping back from the world the message of Jesus Christ!

Which is more important than anything else in the whole universe!!!

But, as most folks who do tithe will tell you: “The biggest beneficiary of consistent, methodical giving is yourself, myself.

We develop a sense of inner integrity which only we and God alone can know, and that is the deepest satisfaction of all!!!”

And that is what that young man in Newport News, Virginia had found out!

And it was his lifeline to feeling good about himself, and was part of his ongoing recovery from his addictions.

He was a wise young guy!

He had learned something that many never learn about God and the faithfulness of God!!!

Giving to God was one of the most important things in this guy’s life!!!

I remember, he would sit and talk to me.

One time, he was trying to figure out how he would pay a monthly car loan.

He figured in what he made, his rent, his utility bills, the cost of food, etc…

…but first he figured in his tithe!

Some people may think of giving to the Church as an option.

And so the money for God comes out of the surplus after all other personal expenses have been met; things like entertainment, clothes, food, toys, etc.

And you know what?

Those kind of expenses are really never met, are they?

The young man in Virginia was able to buy that car.

Now, I’m not speaking about some magic formula.

We don’t give to God in order to get things in return from God.

That prosperity Gospel stuff that some t-v preachers go on about is completely unbiblical!!!

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