Text: Matt 6:19-21
There are many who feel that talking about money from the pulpit is not something the Pastor should do. After all, they say, money is not a spiritual matter. But that is far from the truth.
Jesus talked more about money than almost anything else. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions.
Giving, like baptism, is one of the first acts of Worship
I once heard Adrian Rogers, Pastor of Bellview Baptist church in Memphis, TN, say that he could tell how committed any Christian was just by looking at two items: Their Calendar and their Checkbook.
Several years ago I attended a meeting, along with other Church of God pastors, that was held by one of our leaders in Anderson, who taught on Church Giving. In that meeting it was stated that an analysis was done of the typical giving of Church of God congregations:
Here is the result of that analysis::
25% of the Congregation gives 75% of the Budget
25% of the Congregation gives 20% of the Budget
25% of the Congregation gives 5% of the Budget
25% of the Congregation gives 0% of the Budget
The thing that is most significant to me about these figures, is that 75% of any given Congregation only gives 25% of the total budget!
Just think how much more the Church could do if we all would give as the Lord commands us.
A priest once asked one of his parishioners to serve as financial chairman of his parish. The man, manager of a grain elevator, agreed on two conditions: No report would be due for a year, and no one would ask any questions during the year. At the end of the year he made his report. He had paid off the church debt of $200,000. He had redecorated the church. He had sent $1,000 to missions. He had $5,000 in the bank. "How did you do all this?" asked the priest and the shocked congregation. Quietly he answered, "You people bring your grain to my elevator. As you did business with me, I simply withheld 10 percent and gave it to the church. You never missed it."
Why we don't give:
1) A Lack of Maturity
I believe that our giving indicates our level of maturity. I would not say that if you are not giving, you are not in the Lord, although that may be true, but I would say that you are certainly not filled with the Spirit, nor are you walking in the Spirit, as the Scripture commands.
2) A Lack of Trust
We simply don't trust the Lord to meet our needs. We want the supposed security of a large bank account,or savings account.
But the Bible says that we are not to trust in uncertain riches (1 Tim. 6:17)
Whenever someone comes to me with financial problems, the first thing I ask them is: are you tithing? More often than not, the answer is "no." And then I know that the greatest way to remedy the situation is to encourage the person, or persons, to begin tithing.
3) A lack of Teaching
We do not teach from the pulpit enough on the subject of giving!
I believe that developing a right attitude about money and/or possessions is the key to obedient giving:
But how do we develop the right attitude?
We do so by incorporating 5 Biblical concepts into our thinking or understanding:
1) Ownership - Everything belongs to God
2) Stewardship - We are accountable for the resourses that we have upon this earth.
3) Partnership - God allows us to participate in Kingdom activity
4) Citizenship - We are to lay treasures up in heaven, not on earth.
5) Fellowship - we cannot have fellowship with God when we rob him of the tithe.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
I do not say all of this for the sole benefit of the Church, although the Church will benefit greatly when people begin giving obediently, sacrificailly, and faithfully. But I say it for your benefit as well. Because when you start giving to the Lord, God will give back to you in ways that you never imagined. You will see how God blesses those who are generous.
Consider Paul's response to the gift sent to him by the Church at Philippi:
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
D.L. Moody, the famous Christian leader once said,
"If you don't have much, but give - you will have more. But if you don't give, whatever you have will never be enough."
Go break to the needy sweet charity's bread;
"For giving is living," the angel said.
"And must I be giving again and again?"
My peevish and pitiless answer ran.
"Oh no," said the angel, piercing me through,
"Just give till the Master stops giving to you.