Giving it Back
Matt 6: 19-24
May 16, 2010
by Duane Maust
Guess what we are talking about today? Money. This is a subject people often do not like to be told what to do with their money. Here at Jubilee, we do talk about money. We have people that will help you with budgets. We care for each other here. That is why we will talk about money. It is important.
In fact, Jesus talked about money more than a lot of things. The way we spend our money tells a lot about our hearts. Maybe we should just spend 10 minutes and study our own checkbooks and see where we spent every penny last month. What would that say about each one of us? Would you want someone else to even look at the numbers?
On the congregation review that we just completed, I was very pleased that we rated our financial giving so high as a Christian ministry. We are worshiping God when that offering plate comes around.
These verses Marcus just read should have helped us start thinking about what is important to us. What are treasures for me? What is too important to me that it may get between God and me?
This past week when I was visiting Bob Baldwin, I was trying some of the sermon on him. Then he gave me some good ideas.
He told me about a little boy whose mother gave him 2 nickels. One was for the offering at church, and the other was one he could spend on himself. He was walking to church and dropped one down in the gutter along the street. He looked down at it and could not reach it. He turned and continued on and just told God he was sorry that he dropped God’s money.
How easy it is to just be like the little boy. I don’t have it for God when something happens. When something like this happens, it shows where our priorities are.
Are we trying to store up treasures on earth? Are we worried about keeping our candy money like that little boy?
Read the last part of verse 24.
We work for money, we live for money. We think about money. We wish we had more, and worry that we don’t have enough. Jesus challenges us with the question, “Where is your treasure?”
Read Acts 20: 35. It is more blessed to give.
This verse is plain and simple. I remember one time I was on the receiving end. That was hard for Elaine and me. That was back when we were growing strawberries and it rained more days than it didn’t. The crop rotted in the field. I had to go to the banker and tell him that I didn’t have any money for the principle on the loan that year. You don’t want many years like that. The church gave us a gift, and it really helped. That was hard to accept, but we really needed it. I want to tell you that even that year I tried to tithe.
Like the widow in Luke 2:14, she was not giving out of her surplus.
But let me read Matt 23:23. This is Jesus having it out with the Pharisees.
John Stott put it this way: “We cannot maintain a life of extravagance and a good conscience simultaneously. One or the other has to be sacrificed. Either we keep our conscience and reduce our affluence by giving generously and helping those in need, or we keep our affluence and smooth our conscience. We have to choose between God or money.”
When I say we tithed, I mean that is a good place to start from. Jesus does not want us to get legalistic with our giving.
Let me tell you a little bit about how we work our money. Elaine writes our check for church one of the first things on Monday morning. She lays it on my desk, and I will stick it in the corner of my wallet for the next Sunday. We want to live like that is the most important check to write in the week. There is money there before the payroll goes out. Then in Dec we like to look at our books just to see if we gave as the Lord has blessed. Often we have more to give then. I am just trying to be a steward of what God gave me to begin with.
I think a 10% tithe is a good place to start. There are good ways to not let it become legalistic, just give more.
I have been talking about money, but I would like to include giving all we have. Including our time. I was impressed with the hours many of you gave during the service week. That is important to me to give that way also. There are many ways to give.
I want to go to Luke 6:38 for my next point.
Read Luke 6:38
I get tired of preachers that preach this: “Give so the Lord will bless you with even more.” We don’t give for what we can get! We give because we care. We care about the people around us. We give because we are sensitive to the needs we see around us. We give because it is in our heart.
I know a church that told a contractor to give them a cheap price so the Lord would bless his business. That bothered me to hear religion used like that. God’s way of blessing may not just be money.
Yes, the Lord will bless you; it may be a way that you don’t even expect.
The reward may be out of this world. (heaven)
The finance questionnaire will be in your mailbox. Think about this as a way of showing God what you think of him. How can I give some back to God?
2 Cor 9: 6-8 says God loves a cheerful giver. Let’s be one.