THE AMEN CORNER with DEACON RIGHT?
Last week we were in the book of Revelation and this week, we’ve jumped back to Exodus. The reason for this sudden change in weather is because we left Unit II titled, ALL GLORY and HONOR, and are now in Unit III which is titled, GIVE PRAISE to GOD. We talked about worshipping God outright last week, and now we’re going to talk about GIVING as a form of worship for a while.
Hopefully, that Brown boy will find a minute or two to get us posted up on the blog page. Lately, he’s been spending a lot of time debating with folks about politics and doing “school work”. Anyway, maybe he’ll find a minute to squeeze us in.
The title of today’s lesson is GENEROUS GIVING. The text is from EXODUS 35:20-29 and 2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-8. The KEY VERSE was 2 Corinthians 9:6 and is very familiar to us and reads, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (NIV)
According to Hervey (2018), “Some congregations struggle to meet their financial obligations because many of the members do not give systematically and proportionately. At the root of this reality is a lack of understanding biblical principles about money and giving” (p. 62). Dr. Hervey goes on to say that “the beginning point to developing this understanding is acknowledgement that all things ultimately belong to God.”
Twice—in the last two weeks—I’ve been called upon to collect the “public offering”. I usually try to have a funny story squirreled away in my noggin’ to help ease the “pain” of giving that sometimes bedevils us. On each of the last two occasions, I used the same story. It emanates thusly:
Little Timmy and his mother were attending church one Sunday. Timmy’s mom had given him some money to put in the public offering basket. When the time came, Timmy was a little resistant about putting his money in the basket.
“Put the money in the basket son”, Timmy’s mother whispered sternly, but Timmy only squeezed the money in his hand that much tighter. Again, Timmy’s mother urged him to place the money in the basket.
“I don’t want to Mom. I want to keep it.”
Timmy’s mother decided to use a little psychology on the boy, rather than slap his fanny, like every nerve of her body was telling her to do. She whispered in Timmy’s ear,
“You don’t want that money son. That money is TAINTED.”
Well, Timmy quickly let go of that money then.
When church was over and Timmy and his mom had gotten back home, Timmy asked his mother the question that he’d been itching to ask.
“Mommy”, asked Timmy, why did you say my money was tainted?”
“Well”, Mom answered, It TAINT yours and it TAINT mine. That money belongs to God!”
I usually get a pretty good laugh with that one.
Well, it seems to me that, that is what Dr. Hervey is saying. The money, and anything else we “possess” is not really ours. It belongs to God. So, with that knowledge in mind, why should we be anything less than generous when giving God some of HIS stuff back? BUT LOOK AT GOD! He wants us to be generous and cheerful in our giving, just so He can give us MORE in return! Wow, we’re in a “no-lose” situation when we give WILLINGLY, CHEERFULLY, and for the right reason.
In the Scripture, God tells Moses to tell the people to give to the tabernacle. He tells them to go home and ALL WHO WERE WILLING, to bring back things that would help to complete the building of the tabernacle, supply its furnishings, and the priests’ clothing.
He instructs them to bring, gold, yarn, linen, specified animal skins, silver, bronze, oils, spices, and acacia wood, but not only that, they were encouraged to bring themselves—that is—any skills, or talents which they possessed were also considered acceptable offerings. The only stipulation was that the giver had to be WILLING.
MAN, I know some preachers that don’t want to hear THAT! Why is it that some preachers preach the hell out of the tithing scriptures, but somehow manage to skip over these verses? Some never say a word about willingness, and they darn sure aren’t going to say anything about bringing acacia wood, animal skins, or oils and spices.
According to them it has to be the money or else, you’d better get your asbestos suit ready, because it’s going to be getting mighty hot for you very soon.
Be sure and read these verses please. Anyway, I know it’s kind of late for this but, my subtopic today is
WHAT’S IN YOUR HAND?
Mark 12:41-44 tells of the time when Jesus was sitting across from the offering basket checking out the crowd as they walked by the basket and tossed in their offerings. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up holding only two “pennies” in her hand, but she WILLINGLY and GENEROUSLY put those two pennies in the basket.
Seeing this, Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.” You see, it’s not so much about WHAT you give, but HOW you give it. Your mind and heart have to be in the right place.
AND FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, when you give, don’t be loud about it. Don’t put it on Facebook, or tell your friends, neighbors, etc. how you gave. In Matthew 6:2-4 we hear Jesus teaching his disciples this lesson;
“When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure— ‘play-actors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds.
They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.”
What’s in your hand? All Moses had was a stick and look at what he was able to do. It’s not what’s in your hand, but what you do with it.
Hervey, L. E. (2018). Faith Pathways Bible Studies for Adults (3rd ed., Vol. 103, 35 and above). Nashville, TN: Sunday School Publishing Board.