Don’t you love it when you go to church and the sermon topic is on money? Maybe it’s just me. The reality is that most church goers get extremely uncomfortable when the topic of money is preached from the pulpit. Some of the reasons for the discomfort I’ve heard are: “…the church just wants my money”, “…if only they knew how little I make” or “…I don’t need someone telling me what to do with my money.” I want to briefly go over two of God’s promises about money. If you grasp these promises, I think it will help you relax a little bit more during those “money” sermons.
Money is definitely an issue with most of us. It may not surprise you that one of the most commonly associated words with money is “worry”. Jesus knew about this 2,000 years ago; during his famous sermon on the mount, Jesus urges his listeners to store up treasures in heaven, because no one can steal it, and it’s value isn’t affected by the stock market. He then says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Talk about a money sermon. His listeners were probably getting as squirmy as many of you do. But then Jesus transitions immediately into the topic of worry. Jesus illustrates that besides humans, nothing in nature worries about the future, God simply takes care of them; are we not God’s most valuable creation? Look at the rest of Jesus’ words on this topic:
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
When we worry about money, it reveals a heart issue; we are not trusting God to take care of us. Well, let’s look at some promises God has made to us about money.
Two of God’s promises about Money
1. When you tithe, God will give supernatural provision.
I said it. Tithe; one of the most scary words you hear in church. It’s right up there with surrender, self-control, and patience. But honestly, tithing is not a requirement. God does not NEED our money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, plus he owns the hills. So why is tithing important to God? Because money tends to become our master. So God set up the tithe to free us from the love of money. And to make it easier for us, God attached one of the most amazing promises to the tithe; that when we do it God WILL provide. In fact, God challenges us to TEST Him on this promise (SEE Malachi 3:10). One of the reasons many of us let money become our master is because we falsely believe that money will provide for us. Money is a tool of provision, but it is subject to lose it’s value in a bad economy, and it can be stolen. Tithing was made for your benefit. So next time you hear tithing brought up in church; relax. Tithing is not a requirement, but a tool of love for us from God.
2. When you make giving a life habit, you will be happier
God made us in his image. One of the many things we can pull from scripture is that God is a giver. It is then reasonable to conclude that we are to be “givers”. If logic isn’t enough, Jesus said that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (see Acts 20:35). The greek word for blessed used here is makários which also translates into a more common english word, happy or happier. If you are like me, this statement is a little confusing, because if I’m being honest, sometimes receiving makes me happier than giving. But when you dig into the grammar in the greek, it isn’t talking about a moment, but more like a lifestyle. So the statement could be translated happier is the one who orders their life around giving, rather than receiving. If you have any experience in giving to someone in need, you are familiar with that deep joy that seems to erupt from within us when we give. Imagine if we ordered our life around giving, and actually put it in our budget to give some of our money away every month to meet the needs of others? This is the joy, or happiness, available to us when we make giving a lifestyle.
Give with a cheerful heart
These two promises related to money are there because I think God is aware of how easy it for us to fall into the trap of serving money. But ultimately, giving is between you and God. Paul tells us that we should give what we have decided in our own hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion. And that God loves a cheerful giver (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-8). If you cannot give a tithe cheerfully, don’t. But also don’t miss the opportunity to be happier by planning giving into your budget. The tithe (literally 10%) is a great number that scales to your income, and puts you under God’s supernatural provision, but if you can’t do that, maybe try another percentage.
I hope you let these promises sink in, and that they allow you to relax a little more any time you hear a “money” sermon on a Sunday morning. Remember, giving is for OUR benefit.