Jesus said more about money than any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there’s an intimate correlation between a man’s character and how he handles his money. Richard Halverson
Money and spirituality Luke 19 Zaccheus Matthew 19 Rich young ruler Mark 12 The Poor Widow Luke 12 The Rich Fool Acts 2 & Acts 4 Selling & giving Acts 19 Burning magic books
Test • What pastoral advice would you give to the poor widow of Mark 12? • What pastoral advice would you give to the rich fool of Luke 12?
If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Jesus, Luke 16 True riches: eternal impact relationships What opportunities to influence people are we missing because we haven’t handled money well?
Lead your people to be kingdom-centered by teaching them to give to God’s kingdom. Help them develop vested interests in the poor, the needy, and reaching the world.
King Josiah: “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.Is that not what it means to know me?”declares the LORD. Jeremiah 22:16
If the church’s attitude toward money, spending and giving is no different than the world’s, what do we have to offer the world? If the pastor’s attitude and actions about money are no different than his church’s, what does he have to offer the church?
A materialistic world will never be won to Christ by a materialistic church. A materialistic church will never be led to freedom and generosity by a materialistic pastor.
The dirty little secret: Many pastors are not generous givers. “I’m overworked and underpaid. I’m doing God’s work. Others should give to support me. I’ve given my life and time—why should I give my money?”
Pastors must tear down the Money-Idol as aggressively as the Sex-Idol. Pastors enslaved to materialism can no more lead their people into generous giving than pastors with sexual addictions can lead their people into purity.
Sheep first, shepherds second • Disciples first, pastors second We live by same rules as our people We have same empowerment We can’t lead our people where we haven’t been or aren’t going.
Question:Can pastors who believe they must always have a nicer house and nicer car and go on nicer vacations successfully lead their people out of materialism and into Christ-centered giving?
Jesus said…“When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors;if you do,they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.But…. invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.Although they cannot repay you,you will be repaidat the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14
Eternal investment lifestyle strategy: 1. Set a financial finish line. Determine a reasonable amount of income to live on and save. 2. Give back to God everything that comes in above that amount. Radical? Compare to poor widow or Macedonian Christians.
If it all belongs to God, and we are his money managers, everything must be on the table. Nothing is untouchable. Not savings, not principal, not investments or retirement. We ask Him what He wants us to do with everything that’s His.
Can you trust Him for your soul’s redemption, and not rely upon Him for a few lesser mercies [financial provision]? Is not God enough for thy need, or is His all-sufficiency too narrow for thy wants? …Is His heart faint? Is His arm weary? If so, seek another God. Charles Spurgeon
But if He be infinite, omnipotent, faithful, true, and all-wise, why gaddest thou abroad so much to seek another confidence? Why dost thou rake the earth to find another foundation, when this is strong enough to bear all the weight which thou canst ever build thereon? Charles Spurgeon
“When I look at the Bible I get convicted to change my lifestyle—but then I look around the church I think everybody else lives like I do.” Let’s raise the bar for each other, not lower it. Let’s trash our unspoken agreement not to challenge each other’s materialism and short-sightedness.
Pastors must lead the way in giving: • Becoming givers, providing a model and giving credibility for their teaching. 2)Leading the church to be a model for individuals: an us-first church cannot change me-first people
8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Our giving and God’s grace are inseparable. Our giving is an extension of God’s grace. It can be appropriate to point to other people’s examples of giving.
8:2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
Philanthropy can be man-centered. Grace is God-centered. It’s supernatural.
How much of our giving can only be explained by the supernatural workof God’s Spirit? As thunder follows lightning, so giving follows grace. The more God gets a hold on you, the more you give. The more you give, the more God gets a hold on you.
4 They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing … When we stand before Christ, will any of us think, “ I wish I’d given away less ”?
7 But just as you excel in everything —in faith, in speech, in knowledge … see that you also excel in this grace of giving. Giving isn’t something you just do. You can excel — do it bigger and better than before. You can give: • moreoften • more • more strategically
Rom. 12:gifts of prophecy, serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy. Gift of teaching:you get better at it as you use it; people know what it looks like. Gift of giving:you get better at itas you use it; people don’t know what it looks like.
We knowthe prayer warriors. Who arethe giving warriors? What are we doing to identify, mentor and train them to excel in their gift of giving?
Fair game in accountability groups: Time with God, marriage, sexual purity What’s accountability’s final frontier? Stewardship and giving: How’s your spending life, debt life, and thought life about money? How’s your giving? “So, Bob…how much of your income you been giving to the Lord?”
What giftsmight you expect God to grant widely during a time of unprecedented physical and spiritual needs? • In “just such a time as this,”what resourcesmight you expect God to entrust to His people (especially those with the gift of giving)?
1. Tithing isn’t giving’s pinnacle. 2. Tithing isn’t giving. 3. Tithing is ceasing to rob God. (Of the tithe; can also rob of freewill offerings.) 4. Tithing is the training wheels of giving.Tithing should be so over-shadowed by grace, it’s moot.
Giving less than a tithe? Does grace lower the bar of giving set by the law? Or does it raise it? Don’t call it “grace giving” if it’s a fraction of what God required under the law.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 What does God ask of us? What will he demand of us?
8I want to test the sincerity of your love comparing it with the earnestness of others. We need to hear each other’s giving stories, so we can stimulate one another to love and good works. (MPE, Appendix E:Should Giving Always be Kept Secret?)
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them [motive], for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father [motive] in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16
If 80% of giving by those over 55, what will make the young into givers? How does a young Christian in our churches learn how to give? Where can he look for models and wisdom? How do people with the gift of giving discover they have it? And how to use it for God’s glory?
How will the next generations learn to excel in giving if we don’t link them up with those who will tell them their giving stories? We must encourage veteran givers to mentor others in the grace of giving.
R.G. LeTourneau Stanley Tam John Wesley
What might you expect God to do for people he’s granted the gift of giving? Provide them with considerable resources to give, and with the skills and savvy that generate income.
In my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple. Now,who is willing to consecrate himself today to the LORD? 1 Chronicles 29
Thenthe leaders of families, the officers of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and…gold, silver, bronze and iron.
Any who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD.
David the king also rejoiced greatly. Formula for community-wide joy and praise to God: people seeing their leaders give generously and joyfully
David praised the LORD in the presence of the assembly:Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and power and glory and majesty and splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
We are aliens and strangers in your sight… O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.
God, you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.