Based on Biblical Text Joshua 24:13 KJV
So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.
We are taught, in the world of business that we are to do whatever it takes to produce a desired outcome. Competitive forces can drive companies to go beyond the limits of ethics and integrity to achieve a desired goal.
We find that men and women become work-a-holics as the need for competitive advantage is passed down the various management levels in order to meet sales and marketing goals. This sweat and toil mentality contradicts God’s definition of a kingdom economy.
The path to a kingdom economy is highlighted in the 13th verse of the 24th chapter of Joshua (Joshua 24:13). When the people of Israel were coming out of Egypt, a place of sweat, toil and slavery, God was trying to teach them a new economy of receiving. Instead of sweat and toil, He wanted them to learn obedience. Now their income would be based on their obedience, not their skill or their sweat and toil.
This proposed kingdom economy meant that there would be times when what you receive from your efforts might be less than proportionate with the time, talent or treasure you invested. Yet, there would also be times when you would receive more compared to what you invested. The Bible promises us “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6:38).”
It is difficult sometimes to convince “new” church Christians that there is any need to be obedient to what they clearly consider Old Testament legalism. There are some among the congregation who have reached their own conclusion about investing time, talent and treasure and having done so they have become thoroughly committed to the answer they have embraced. However, we must approach the subject carefully and with a “shepherd’s heart.” We must be patient, taking time to nurture and explain the concept of giving in such a manner that would help forge a better understanding and answer the questions that come up. One reason we meet with such radical resistance in instructing about the giving of time, talent and treasure is that many times we just don’t use our own devotional life as an example.
While it is true that the New Testament does not challenge, disapprove or set aside the ministry of giving, specifically tithing, there are many principles in the New Testament that serve to support the intent. The Bible is clear that “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” We are also admonished, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Certainly we can look to the undergirding principles described throughout the New Testament that clearly provide support to divine ownership and human stewardship particularly as it relates to one’s relationship to the other.
We can not stop preaching about the need to be obedient and to bring our best to God. We must prepare ourselves, through prayer, asking God for the ability to properly explain how we are to cheerfully present God our time, talent and treasure so that we might move our congregation to grow in the grace of “giving.” If we say we love God then we must recognize that we cannot out work or out give God. If in fact we consider God first in all that we do we must sow bountifully. If we consider God first in our affection then we must give from our hearts, not grudgingly nor of necessity. Certainly God, who has given us His very best, cannot be last in the dividing of our time, the use of our talent or in our budget.
Finally, as we merge this ancient church practice comfortably into our “new” church tradition we must clearly proclaim that giving is not just about money. Our teaching thrust must be to move the congregation to an understanding that giving is part of worship. The giving of our time, talent and treasure is about obedience and about thanksgiving for all that God has already provided and what He has already done for us. Giving of ourselves is about having faith in God faithfulness. There is a joy in “giving.” We will find joy as the hungry are fed and the poor are given new hope. We will find joy as projects are completed. However, we will experience much more joy in faithfully entrusting our resources to a resourceful God.
As we approach the Sabbath
Sunday, November 3, 2013, is the Twenty-Four Sunday After Pentecost.
Join our Worship Experience at 10:00 am.
Church School begins at 8:45 am.
Scripture Lesson for this Sunday
Malachi 1:14b-2:2b; Malachi 2:8-10
1 Thessalonians 2:7-13
There is a Word from the Lord!
Sermon Texts Mark 2:1-4
Sermon Title Whatever is Blocking Your Way to Jesus, Tear it Up!