I am so very excited right now about the sermon Randy Alcorn gave at our church yesterday morning! It was based on his book The Treasure Principle and what the Bible teaches about money and giving. I thought I was excited about tithing before, but I found out that there is even MORE joy and MORE satisfaction for me as I continue to learn what God’s word says about money and giving. I can’t wait to share it with you all!
I’m just going to share a few things that stood out to me. If you’d like to hear the sermon, go to Solid Rock’s weekend teachings page and it should be there (recorded Sept 12). Or you can search for the podcast in iTunes under Solid Rock – A Jesus Church. Also, read Ecclesiastes. There’s some good stuff in that thar’ Bible.
Anyway, there are some things that Randy said during his sermon that struck me as so very true are very relevant in my tithing post.
- When God’s grace takes a hold of your life, you will become a giver. Our giving is an outpouring of our thankfulness – an almost gut-level response to the overwhelming love and grace that the Father floods our lives with.
- There is great joy in giving to God and giving in His name – it is a dignity instilled in us as image-bearers of the King. Among the poorest, especially outside of North America, it is a matter of joy and honor to give generously and sacrificially. We can share in that joy and honor!
- The spiritual and financial blessing that God bestows on us when we give generously is intended to be turned out as a blessing for others! I talked in my last post about the blessings God showered on us when we used our money to glorify Him. It would be a waste to then hoard that blessing! The blessing should produce in us immense thankfulness and awe, which in turn compels us to give even more.
What wonderful truths! I was blown away by a new-to-me idea that was introduced next.
- Unlike today, Israelites back in the day were required to give tithes and offerings. This was before the saving grace of Jesus Christ and before the indwelling of every believer by the Holy Spirit.
- WITH the saving grace of Jesus Christ and WITH the indwelling by the Holy Spirit, the New Testament Christians gave with complete abandon! The NT grace was not a license for clinging to material wealth, but instead a compelling force for radical giving. It was NORMAL to give abundantly to the church, the poor, the needy, the widow and the orphan. Not because they had to, but because LOVE and GRACE and THANKSGIVING drove them to it!
Maybe one day I’ll post the story of God’s grace in my life thus far. But for now, all I can say is that His grace and mercy is overwhelming and continuous. I am so very thankful, and long for my thankfulness and expressions of praise and gratitude to increase every day. They will never match the reality of what has been poured out on me. But God stirs my heart to give HIM the glory for what He has done in our lives. Money is only one tool to do that with, but it is a tremendous one.
Randy explained that one thing that many people do is to pick the financial “level” at which they decide to live and then give all the money they receive above that level back to God as offering. Many regular, everyday people decide they will live comfortably on $X/year and anything more than that goes to their local church, feeding the hungry, spreading the Good News, sheltering the homeless, fighting for justice and mercy, and so on.
YES!!!! I am so inspired by the example of these people! As Randy said, there is nothing I can spend my money on that will bring more satisfaction and be more productive than the work of God in this world. It would be no great sacrifice on our part to live comfortably and simply. It would not deprive our children of any significant thing, but instead enrich their lives and bless them, teaching them to be thankful and have a servant’s heart.
As usual, Aaron was way ahead of me and had already been thinking about this for our family and what it might look like. We are having great discussion about it and I truly cannot wait to find out what God has in store for us. It gives me great motivation to dig into the Bible more and find out what He says about all the various ways we can give to and serve each other in the church body as well.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19