Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Word No One Wants To Hear In Church!

Last week, Chad talked about a topic most people don’t like to hear mentioned in church (or at all for that matter). Chad’s wife, Brande, hated the thought of it when he told her what he was going to preach on. He said that she was like, ‘and they are just starting to like you.’

So, what’s this dastardly topic that makes people cringe and Chad’s wife beg him not to preach? Care to take a guess? I’ll give you a hint: it’s something that everyone wants their hands on, but is in very short supply these days (unless you are the diluted Barack Obama with a so-called “plan” to create more of it). That’s right!! We are talking about MONEY!!

Ok, before you roll your eyes, groan, and forget you ever seen this blog, humor me and continue reading (this isn‘t MY favorite thing to talk about either! LOL). In fact, humor was also the route Chad decided to go in starting off his sermon. Ladies and gentleman, please treat yourself to this "rap video" in which three Life Church homeboys give you the 411 on money and tithing. Though, it was much funnier and entertaining when we watched it live; but I’m sure you’ll love it just the same!! (THANK YOU DAVE for getting it uploaded - by the way, he’s the dude in the Colts jersey in the video!). Great job Rick, Tyson, and Dave!! We loved the old skool moves!! Rock on!! LOL

Now that we’re warmed up a little bit, please continue reading…… ;)

Chad reminded us (in case we had forgotten - as we often do) that God is the Creator and everything is His. As he once said before, “my stuff is not my stuff.” We are just the managers and stewards of what God has graciously given to us and entrusted us with. In the beginning, God created everything, and then He created Adam and put him in charge of managing it.

The tradition continues today. Though, we often miss the point of what it’s all about. So often, we work and toil just to accumulate. Though, as Chad said, “what you call yours today, a stranger will call theirs tomorrow.” Nothing we have goes with us when we die; it just gets passed on and divided up. The only thing that lasts is our legacy. Therefore, as Jesus wisely told us, we should be storing up treasures in heaven. It’s there that true wealth accumulates; moth and rust can’t destroy it and no one can take it from us (Matthew 6:19-20).

Though, that’s not to say anything we own or work for is bad. We just need to keep it in perspective. Solomon realized that too much toiling under the sun for stuff that doesn’t last is “meaningless.” What REALLY has meaning is if every “work” is an act of worship to God (Colossians 3:23). You may be working at a “job” but treat it as if you are working directly for the Lord. Maybe then, your attitude would change towards that nasty boss that doesn’t appreciate you, or your negative co-workers, or whatever struggle you may be facing in a job you may not like. Regardless, give thanks for that job that God has provided for you (and especially in a time like this!) and “work it” for Him!

I am reminded of a story that Tony Chaney once told us in a sermon a long time ago. He talked about how his kids love McDonald’s french fries. He said that one time, he went out with his kids, got them some fries, and sat down with them. I think he said he just got himself a coffee; wasn’t really hungry. However, he casually reached over to snitch one of his daughter’s fries - just to see what she would do. If I remember correctly, he said that she exclaimed “nooooooooo”, pulled them back, and hoarded them from him. LOL His point was that he really didn’t want or need her fries. In fact, he could have just went to the counter and got his own. What he really wanted was for her to be willing to share with him what he was kind enough to give her in the first place. He wanted to have that fellowship and interaction with her; to delight in her gratitude for being so generous to her by giving back and sharing with him.

That’s what God wants from us. He doesn’t “need” our money. What is money to God anyways? What he REALLY wants is our act of worship; or what Paul more precisely calls “cheerful givers” (2 Corinthians 9:7). He wants us to give from our hearts as an act of acknowledgment and thanks to Him. Jesus made that point clear as well when he frowned upon the Pharisees for following “the law” without the attitude of love behind it.

I know some may say that tithing is “old school” or under the “law” and does not apply. I have read some blogs that have actually condemned tithing (or even just using the word!). I’m not going to do that here. Like Chad said, there’s a few places in God’s Word where tithing and giving to God is mentioned (in both the old and New Testament). Malachai tells us not to “rob God” (Malachai 3:8-10) and Jesus said to “give God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17). And personally, (just like the song in the video said), I don’t think moving the decimal point and giving 10% is all that hard to do. Is it really that painful and difficult to share a few “french fries”? Are we really stingy old scrooges; closing up our wallets (and our hearts) screaming “noooooooo…’s mine…….all mine!! Muah!!” God gets ten, you get ninety. That’s doable. I’ve done it since my first job when I was in the 8th grade. God has always taken care of me (and still does!). And, what I/we give helps God’s Kingdom advance as that money is put to use in all the various areas (church maintenance, missions, ministries, outreaches, etc.). Chad breaks it all down and explains it a lot better than I can!! Check it out on the website when the audio is uploaded:

See,… wasn’t that painless? LOL That wasn’t so bad was it? Nah, piece of cake right? If it was hard to swallow, maybe it’s time to really take an “audit”. Not a literal kind of audit, but just as our former pastor Rick Fiechter used to say…’ll know where your heart is by looking at your checkbook. Where does all your money go (Wal-Mart right? LOL)? He said that when he gets paid, he makes sure that the “tithe check” is the first one he writes - so that it’s never the “I’ll give God what’s leftover” check. We do the same. It’s that statement of faith: “God, You come first! Thank You for all You’ve given us. Our stuff is not our stuff!” Though, as Chad also said, this isn’t about giving just so you can “get back” from God. This isn’t a big “prosperity gospel” like some pastors preach and use. Like he said, it’s not really about the money. As always, “it’s all about the heart.” Be a cheerful giver and give what God calls you to give!! Even the widow who gave out of her meager money was more blessed than all the rest who gave out of their wealth!

May you all continue to be blessed with all that God has given you! Grace and peace to all of you!!

No comments: