Summary: One of my favorite YouTube personalities is Joe Scott ("Answers With Joe). I like him because he is a humble man who explains the deep things in understandable ways... but he also shared that he struggled with questions that made him skeptical - such as why God "needed" our offerings.
OPEN: “YouTube” is a site where people can post videos they’ve either made or like, and some of those videos are grouped into “channels” (like a TV channel). I have my own channel where I’ve put songs I’ve sung by myself or with the SonShine Boys.
Now some of these channels are more popular than others (mine has 20 subscribers and has only had about 200 or 300 views), but one of the more popular channels that I like is called “Answers With Joe” hosted by Joe Scott. Joe is fun to listen to and he explains complex scientific issues that I’d like to know about, in simple terms that even I can understand. I like this guy! And I’ve watched as he’s explained things like “Quantum theory”; Artificial gravity; the International Space Station. And he’s talked about how batteries work. And he’s focused on Solar Flares, and how we have explored the Moon, and Mars and Jupiter and other celestial bodies.
What’s appealing is that he’s gentle, humble and he admits when he’s not sure about things… and that brings us to one of his videos that we’re going to use for sermons series: “Is There A God?” PLAY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3_0O-gpeYo - beginning at 2:05 through 4:21 timestamps (The transcript will be at the end of the sermon).
When I first watched that video, I hurt for this guy. Here was Joe Scott baring his soul to his audience and gently explaining why he’s struggled with his faith. I realized that this man was asking honest questions that deserved to be answered. So, for the next 4 weeks we’re going to try to give “Answers FOR Joe” attempting to answer the questions he posed in his YouTube video.
And we’re going to start with his comment: “If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why does He need my help? And my money?” Now, that’s a legitimate question. Why would an all-powerful and all-knowing God need my money? And the answer to that question is right here in Psalm 50
God declares: “Every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” Psalm 50:10-13
In other words: NO! God doesn’t NEED our offerings! I mean, what do you get for the God who owns everything? He doesn’t need anything. It’s all His.
But, of course, that raises another question: If God doesn’t NEED my offerings why does He ask for them?
And He DOES ask for them.
In Proverbs 3:9-10 God said “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
And in Malachi 3 God tells the JEWS “you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:8-10
So, what’s going on here? Why does the God - Who doesn’t need my offerings get so hot and bothered if I don’t give them to Him? Well, the answer to that question is actually in Joe’s monologue. He said: “I saw people from church acting very unChristian. You know, wearing a cross necklace and then judging other people, and being rude. I worked in a restaurant where I saw first-hand that the church crowd are THE WORST TIPPERS IN THE WHOLE WORLD.”
And – too often – church goers are exactly like that!
Now, just an aside here… don’t be a bad tipper. Waitresses and waiters often know you’re a church-goer (especially on Sunday afternoon) and if your tips are small, that’s a bad witness for Jesus. When they’ve served you and you’re not appreciative that’s a black mark on you, AND on your faith. So it’s worth asking: is giving an extra dollar or 2 as a tip worth it to make Jesus look good? Think about it!
Now, that said, I want you to notice something here: Joe Scott talked about Christians being judgmental and rude (and too often they are judgmental and rude), but notice, he gives us one big illustration of how he can tell that Christians are acting unChristian. And what is his big complaint? What is that he says “Christians” have done that has made him upset? It’s when they’re stingy in their tipping of waitresses. That’s his measuring rod.