OPEN: (Paul Harvey, Nov. 1995):
The Butterball Turkey company set up a hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years.
The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn’t recommend eating it.
The caller replied, “That’s what we thought. We’ll just give it to the church.”
APPLY: Why does that strike us as funny?
She was consecrating that Turkey to God, wasn’t she?
Her offering was still OK to eat – wasn’t it???
SOMEHOW AN OFFERING LIKE THAT LEAVES A BAD TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH.
TODAY WE’RE GOING TO LOOK AT:
1. WHAT KIND OF OFFERING IMPRESSES GOD?
2. WHAT KIND OF OFFERING IS AN OFFENCE TO GOD?
3. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN OFFER TO GOD BESIDES MONEY?
4. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OFFERING
AND THE TITHE?
I. WHAT KIND OF OFFERING DOES GOD LIKE?
In other words;WHAT KIND OF OFFERING IS GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD?
WE READ IN Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
A. IN THAT DAY THERE WERE TWO CLASSES OF PEOPLE GIVING.
a. THE RICH.
b. THE POOR WIDOW.
JESUS’ DISCIPLES LOOKED AT THE GIVING FROM AN EARTHLY POINT OF VIEW. -- HOW MUCH WAS GOING INTO THE PLATE.
JESUS PUT SPIRITUAL GLASSES ON HIS DISCIPLES SO THEY COULD SEE HOW MUCH SPIRITUAL VALUE WAS ACCUMULATED FOR THE GIVERS.
ILLUSTRATION: NATIONAL TREASURE
B. The rich people still had plenty left over to meet their own needs and desires.
Their level of sacrifice didn’t go very deep.
C. The poor widow gave everything she had.
a. She didn’t have anything left.
She couldn’t even buy a crust of bread for herself.
D. I think that the thing that God and Jesus noticed the most was not how much the people gave,
but how much they kept for themselves.
E. If we’re going to give the way God wants us to give then we must realize two things.
i. The first thing is that God wants us to be like little children, depending wholly and completely on Him for our needs.
ii. The second thing is that we are stewards of everything He gives us.
1. When we yield ourselves to God to be His child, His servant, we become stewards of what He has put into our hands.
2. We become responsible to God for what we do with the money we earn and the things we have.
II. THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF GIVING THAT
IS AN OFFENCE TO GOD?
1. GIVING GRUDGINGLY
PAUL TALKED ABOUT AN OFFERING THAT THEY WERE TAKING UP IN CORINTH.
HE SAID THAT IT SHOULD BE A GENEROUS GIFT, NOT AS ONE GRUDGINGLY GIVEN.
2 Corinthians 9:5-9 (NIV)
5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
IF YOU’RE GIVING GRUDGINGLY THEN YOU MIGHT AS WELL KEEP YOUR MONEY.
GOD DOESN’T NEED YOUR MONEY;
IT’S YOU WHO NEED TO GIVE IT.
IT’S YOU WHO’LL GET THE BLESSING.
GOD HAS THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AT HIS DISPOSAL.
HE GAVE HIS SON SO THAT HE COULD SAVE US.
HE DOESN’T NEED US, WE NEED HIM.
The bible says,
“Where our treasure is, that’s where our heart is also.”
2. GIVING TO LOOK GOOD TO OTHER PEOPLE.
Some of the rich people were giving large amounts of money so that they would look good in front of all the people.
JESUS HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT KIND OF GIVING IN Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
1“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
3. GIVING YOUR LEFTOVERS, GIVING THAT WHICH YOU WOULD JUST AS SOON THROW AWAY.
I THINK THAT, THAT TURKEY WAS AN OFFENCE TO GOD.
GOD Himself talked about this in;
Malachi 1:8 (NIV)
8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
ILLUS: Mrs.Brown was a 6th grade Sunday School teacher.
One morning she brought a pan of brownies into class.
As those brownies sat tantalizingly over there by her chair
she gave each child a slip of paper marked with a household expense: house payment,
credit card bill,
and so forth.
Before long, Mrs. Brown picked up the tray of fresh brownies and began naming the expenses listed on the papers.
As each child gave her their expense slips,
she redeemed each one for a brownie from the pan.
Finally, the last brownie had disappeared.
But one boy named Donald still held his unredeemed slip.
"God!" called Mrs. Brown.
Donald came forward, hoping the teacher had one more brownie hidden somewhere.
With a knife, Mrs. Brown scraped the crumbs from the bottom of the pan onto Donald’s napkin.
He got a pretty raw deal, just the crumbs.
Then the teacher explained the Meaning of the lesson.
"The brownies represent your money,".
"If you don’t give God his share right away,
he probably won’t get anything at all except maybe crumbs."
God should have 1st rights to everything we have.
Whenever you struggle with your giving priorities,
remember this "crummy Sunday School lesson",
Can you imagine how God must feel with some of the offerings He gets from us?
Instead of thinking about God first
We often don’t think about Him at all
Or at least not until after everything else has had our attention.
He gets THE leftover…
He gets the crumbs.
We may say, Well God, it’s the thought that counts.
That’s true – it is the thought that counts.
THE QUESTION IS, WHAT WERE WE THINKING WHEN WE GAVE?
GOD SAID IN EXODUS 23:19 THAT HE WANTS THE FIRST FRUITS OF OUR INCREASE.
He said in Exodus 23:19 (NIV) 19 “Bring the BEST of the FIRSTFRUITS of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
Elijah exemplified this principle in 1 Kings 17:13-14 (NIV)
WHEN ELIJAH TOLD THE WIDOW TO MAKE A CAKE FOR HIM FIRST AND THEN TO MAKE SOMETHING TO EAT FOR HER AND HER SON.
THIS IS HOW IT’S WRITTEN IN 1 KINGS 17:13
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’ ”
A. WE SHOULD GIVE OUR BEST TO GOD.
B. TOO MANY TIMES WE GIVE WHAT WE DON’T WANT ANYMORE.
C. WE GIVE THE OLD, THE WORN OUT, THE STUFF THAT EVEN THE GOOD WILL STORE WOULDN’T TRY TO SELL.
D. GOD DESERVES THE BEST OF WHAT WE HAVE.
THE BEST OF OUR TIME,
THE BEST OF OUR GOODS AND
THE BEST OF OUR MONEY.
E. WHEN WE GET THAT CHECK BOOK OUT TO PAY OUR BILLS WE SHOULD WRITE THE CHECK FOR OUR TITHE FIRST.
F. WHAT WE GIVE TO THE CHURCH SHOULD BE AS GOOD AS WE ARE ABLE TO GIVE.
III. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OFFERING AND THE TITHE.
Malachi 3:10-11 (NIV)
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TITHE AND AN OFFERING IS…
A. The tithe is 1/10th of your increase. And God expects us to honor Him by being faithful by bringing our tithe into the storehouse which is the church.
B. An offering is what you give above and beyond your tithe.
1. It’s when God speaks to our heart and says to go meet that person’s need.
IV. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GIVE ANYWAY?
NOT EVERYTHING WE GIVE IS MONEY.
A. We give our time by...
a. Praying, Reading The Word, Serving where God wants you to serve.
B. We give our talent.
a. Everyone has some kind of talent, no matter how small it may be. Remember that guy from last week who could only use one finger and could talk a little?
b. What is your gift? Talking, Administration, teaching, singing, Praying.
C. We give of our money.
D. We give of our goods.
E. We give of our love.
F. We give of our compassion.
NOW I WANT TO SPEAK TO A CERTAIN TEACHING THAT’S BEEN AROUND FOR A FEW YEARS NOW.
A. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT IF YOU GIVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY THEN GOD IS OBLIGATED TO GIVE YOU A 100 FOLD RETURN?
a. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING IS, IF I GIVE $10.00 THEN GOD MUST GIVE ME BACK $1000.00
B. The problem with this teaching is:
a. There is SOME truth in it.
b. If you are faithful as a good steward to be obedient to God when He tells you to give to this person
or to give to that organization,
then He will be faithful to not only meet your need
but to give you more
so that when another situation arises,
He can trust you to be obedient and
give as He directs.
c. Your increase isn’t for you to spend on yourself. It’s to be used for God’s purposes.
d. The fallacy comes in when you think that if I give a certain amount of money in God’s name, then He is obligated to give me more money back.
i. My friend, that’s not really giving, that’s trading.
THE SERMON TODAY IS TITLED GIVING FOR GOD.
IT’S NOT TITLED GIVING TO GOD
BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS
WE DON’T REALLY OWN WHAT WE OWN.
GOD HAS PUT IT UNDER OUR SUPERVISION
TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN WHATEVER WAY
HE WANTS IT PASSED OUT.
GOD WANTS US TO BE COMPASSIONATE TOWARD THE POOR.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (NIV)
7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.
DO YOU SEE HOW ALL THIS IS TIED TOGETHER?
WE ARE TO BE TOTALLY DEPENDANT ON HIM
FOR WHAT WE HAVE.
WE ARE TO BE QUICK TO HAVE COMPASSION
AND QUICK SHARE WHAT WE HAVE WITH THOSE IN NEED.
WE ARE TO BE GOD'S STEWARDS WHILE WE ARE HERE ON EARTH.
OUR TREASURE ISN'T HERE ON EARTH.
WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF CONVERTING EARTHLY WEALTH INTO HEAVENLY WEALTH.
Luke 12:32-34 (NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
GOD WANTS US TO DEPEND ON HIM FOR EVERYTHING.
THAT’S WHAT HE MEANT WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT US BECOMING LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT TREASURE IN HEAVEN IS?
PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM HELL.
PEOPLE WHO WILL BE IN HEAVEN BECAUSE YOU AND I WERE OBEDIENT TO GOD.
TIM ELLIOT WROTE IN HIS PERSONAL JOURNAL:
“HE IS NO FOOL WHO GIVES WHAT HE CANNOT KEEP FOR WHAT HE CANNOT LOSE.”
GOD’S LOOKING FOR PEOPLE HE CAN TRUST TO NOT SPEND IT ALL ON THEMSELVES.
2 Corinthians 9:6
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)
16 …do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
THE MORE SACRIFICIAL YOU GIVE THE MORE GOD IS IMPRESSED.