If you’re not giving then you’re not growing very much spiritually!
I know. This is a touchy subject. People don’t like to talk about money, religion, or politics. Well unless you’re a radical in one of these areas or something akin to RADICAL.
Let’s just assume for the argument that Jesus is a RADICAL when it comes to the issue of money. Matter of fact, 15% of everything we have recorded that Jesus said in the scriptures, relates to the topic of money. This is more than what he had to say about heaven and hell combined. At least what we have shared with us, which God obviously knew we needed more than anything else to be reminded of.
Here are a few thoughts.
#1. God is doing Miracles at and through the people and ministries of Out of the Box UMC.
#2. One of the miracles is that people are growing in their giving and tithing.
Remember: Tithing is not giving, it is returning to God what has been entrusted to you in the first place. Tithing is the First 10% of all of our increase. If you make ten dollars the tithe is one dollar. If you make a thousand dollars the tithe is one hundred dollars.
God says the tithe is to be brought to the storehouse. This is the place today where you worship, the place where you are fed spiritually, the place where you get revived, and ready to face the new week ahead of you. This would be the church that you call home. You may not be a member but it is where you hang your worship hat. This is where you put your feedbag on.
Tithing comes to God through the storehouse without strings attached. Tithing to the local church who is doing Gods work and the operation of the local church requires money to operate. Yes the pastor most of the time gets a salary for the work they put in. Yes the secretary if there is one needs to be paid. Yes, sometimes there are worship leaders, janitors, children’s workers, nursery workers, etc. who get paid to do these things. The power bills have to be paid, the phone bills have to paid, there are so many items that are needed to make things operate. I can speak for Out of the Box and say that the tithe serves to do ministry that is changing the hearts and lives of many people. It is obvious in the growth in attendance, in baptisms, in new ministries springing up all the time, such as Recovery.
Giving comes to others in many different ways. Giving to others is often times designated. The thing I want you to see is this, tithing and giving are two different things. Both are needed and both are great indicators of a persons spiritual maturity.
Many people designate the money given to churches because they have tithed and they want to help in a specific place that God has placed on their heart, a place where God has given them a passion, and that is awesome, keep doing that.
However, others designate because they don’t feel like the church is responsible enough to spend their money the way they want it spent. If this is you I need to share some things with you.
If you are part of a church that you do not trust, you should find a church that you do trust and start tithing and giving. If you are giving to finance something that benefits you directly that is not a gift. It’s great if it furthers the kingdom but Jesus had a lot to say about how we tithe and how we give.
Two other things first. If you are withholding money because you are protesting something or someone you don’t like or agree with in the church, this is an issue you should take up with the pastor of that church and get it resolved. If you cannot get it resolved or you will not give it’s time to move on to a place where you can give. The problem is you’re withholding the tithe from God, not from any individual.
Finally, if you’re just not tithing and giving because you just aren’t willing, the truth is that you will never grow very much spiritually. You will never be a spiritually mature believer in this life and you will miss out on the blessings of God that He promises in the scriptures.
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
2 Corinthians 9:7(NLT)
7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
Proverbs 11:24 (NLT)
24 Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
Mark 12:41-44 (ESV)
41 And he (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Pastor’s Note: It’s not about the amount. It’s about the 1st Portion. 10% and anything above that is a gift.
Proverbs 3:9 (NCV)
9 Honor the Lord with your wealthand the firstfruits from all your crops.
Malachi 3:8-12 (GW)
8 “Can a person cheat God? Yet, you are cheating me! “But you ask, ‘How are we cheating you?’
“When you don’t bring a tenth of your income and other contributions. 9 So a curse is on you because the whole nation is cheating me!
10 “Bring one-tenth of your income into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,” says the Lord of Armies. “See if I won’t open the windows of heaven for you and flood you with blessings. 11 Then, for your sake, I will stop insects from eating your crops. They will not destroy the produce of your land. The vines in your fields will not lose their unripened grapes,” says the Lord of Armies. 12 “All nations will call you blessed because you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of Armies.
Ok, I think you get the point. God has so much to say on the subject of money. But, his whole point is that your heart follows your money. It’s trueand your money follows your heart. We spend money on our passions. We purchase things that we live for.
You will never grow spiritually as God wants us to grow until you are a tither and a giver. I will not and cannot stand aside and not tell you these things because I would be a sorry pastor if I denied what God teaches in his word to us. It matters where you put your money because where you put your money is a definite sign of your spiritual maturity.
#3. I just believe that God wanted me to tell you this today. Maybe you need this push, maybe you need a reminder. Maybe you need the freedom to go somewhere different where you trust the people and can grow spiritually.
I am seeing life change at a place called Out of the Box UMC and I believe it is because the people have learned the truth of God’s word and they have become RADICAL.
I love you guys,