Having been a parent and having observed the actions of many other parents, I am amazed at the strange things we do with our children. We twirl them around until their arms are about to come out of the sockets or we throw them up in the air and catch them as they come falling down.
I wonder what our children must be thinking as all of that is happening to them.
Another thing that amazes me is the trust these children have in us. We place them on the top of the car and say, “jump!” Remarkably they usually will do it.
The distance for them to jump from the car to our arms is equivalent to about the distance it would be for us to jump off the roof of a house. Yet, the child will jump because of the trust they have in us.
Child-like faith is truly amazing. That is the kind of faith that God wants us to have in Him:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Do you really believe that God is the source of your supply? Is He the One you really trust and look to for everything? May I tell you that the most needed ingredient in your life today is trust?
It is needed in our family, our social, and our Spiritual relationships. Those that never learn to trust really never have the right kind of relationships.
In the spiritual realm, trust is vital to knowing God and growing in Him.
We often sing the song, “Trust And Obey.” It says:
“Trust and obey
For there is no other way,
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.”
One of the reason many Christians can’t obey the Lord today is because they are not trusting Him. The child never asks about the consequences, he just jumps to the arms of the parent, because he trusts them.
If we are going to be good stewards and learn to give generously, we are going to have to acknowledge that God owns everything and we are only the managers of what He has given to us.
The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
The only way that we are going to have the complete confidence that God does all things well is to have a child-like faith in Him. All things are His, including us, and He will have very good care of all that He owns.
Let me give you three very simply, yet very profound, attitudes that every Christian must have:
1 - GENEROSITY IS POSSIBLE BECAUSE WE TRUST THE LORD
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Many times the will of God concerning generosity goes beyond our own understanding. In order to reach His will for our lives, we are going to have to give Him our whole heart.
Unless he has our heart, He will not have our trust:
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
Our hearts must desire to obey God and to live for Him each day. If your heart is shared with the world, your obedience will be shared. God does not want part of our heart because He does not want part of our obedience.
Our trust in Him must be an entire trust. It is something we do with our hearts, not our heads. I may not know all the answers and I may not even be able to explain what I do know, but my heart must tell me that I can trust God:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
God is willing to be our Helper; He has even given us that promise, therefore He is worthy of our trust. Many times that trust will be in conflict with what we think we understand.
I remember back in 1990 when my wife and I came to this Church. I knew what the offerings were and I knew that there had been no full time Pastor here. It was my understanding that there was not enough money to pay me a salary.
When I walked through those back doors after the vote on Wednesday night and I was told that this Church had voted me in as Pastor, I knew I would have to simply trust God.
I had walked that path many years before when I left the Telephone Company. This was the second time that these verses had to move off the printed page and be planted in my heart.
This time it was different, I moved far away from everyone I knew; Libby and I moved into the parsonage not knowing what the future would hold. We quickly learned what faith and trust really meant.
The truth I learned up until that time and since that time is the truth I want to give to you now, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God!”
None of us really knows what tomorrow holds, but God knows and is worthy of our trust.
NOT ONLY DOES OUR TRUST HAVE TO BE CHILD-LIKE, IT MUST ALSO BE AN EXCLUSIVE TRUST
…and lean not unto thine own understanding.
We are not to trust anyone but God for our life’s sustenance and direction. Some will say that we are fools to have such trust, but the Bible has something to say about them:
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
You are no fool when you place your faith and trust in God. Someone has said, “God’s grip don’t slip.” That may not be good English, but it is a good trust to know.
Stewardship is much more than raising money or increasing our offerings; it is developing Christians into a trusting relationship with God.
2 – GENEROSITY IS PROMOTED WHEN WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE LORD
The first attitude we must have is trusting the Lord and the second is acknowledging the Lord.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. Proverbs 3:6-7
This is an unusual attitude, to acknowledge Him in ALL our ways. That acknowledgement should be seen in every decision we make concerning our time, our talents, and our treasure.
We must consider how God wants us to use our money; what areas does He consider the most important?
Since winning the lost is the most important to God, we must see that our first attitude toward giving is to give to that which will help see people saved. We must reach this area with the Gospel and we must send the Gospel around the world.
As we make the decision that we are going to acknowledge Him in all of our ways, we can expect there to be times of adversity and times of blessing.
Most people have no trouble acknowledging God in the hard times, times when they really know they need Him. But in times of blessing many are apt to forget Him.
Our society has become more and more materialist; the more we have, the less we think about God and our need for Him. But the Christian makes the decision every day that he will not forget God, but acknowledge Him in all of his ways.
This Church belongs to God and what we give to this Church tells a lot about who and what we acknowledge as most important in our lives.
When we acknowledge Him, we will do more than give; we will give generously.
3 – GENEROSITY WILL BE REWARDED BECAUSE WE HONOR THE LORD
Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
One of the Biblical ways the honor the Lord is with our substance. I am amazed how many want to get all excited about Jesus when it comes to singing and praising, but they don’t respond too well to honoring Him with their substance.
I believe honor includes some sacrifice; how much sacrifice is there is singing, raising your hands, and saying, “I love you?” If we are going to honor the Lord, we must decide that we will honor Him with all that we are and with all that we have.
We have made mention of the “Widow’s mite.” Christians love that story, but very few ever plan to practice it themselves. Many like to hear stories about what others have given, but they don’t have a story of their own that honors the Lord.
Christians are to reflect the joy of the Lord. Joy is the result of being rewarded and rewarding comes when we honor the Lord and give to Him. Honoring the Lord and giving to Him are one in the same.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much…
I don’t know why some are waiting; God wants us to honor Him with what we have right now. If you don’t give to Him out of the little you have now, you will not give from the plenty you believe you will have later.
From whom are you going to get the plenty you believe you will have later? If you get it, it will be from the One that you honor today.
Don’t put it off. Many have good intentions about honoring the Lord with their tithes and offerings, but they put it off for another day. Procrastination is a great sin; it brings us endless sorrow. Many plan to quit procrastinating, perhaps tomorrow. Don’t be that way; plan to be used of God today.
We are not only to honor God by giving, but God says we are to honor Him with the “Firstfruits of our increase.” This is a reference to the first ten percent of our income or the tithe.
Every time God blesses you, the first part belongs to Him. Don’t give God the leftovers; honor Him with the first part. When you obey Him, He will reward you:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
There are people in this Church that have practiced that principle for fifty years and there are others that need to start this week.
I have heard some say that the doctrine of tithing is not for today. They claim it is part of the Law. Besides being rebellions, they are ignorant of the Bible.
Abraham tithed before the Mosaic Law. In addition to that, the Old Testament tithe was 33 percent instead of 10 percent. But the most important truth of all, those that truly grow in the Lord will not consider any percent; they will give as generously as they can.
The principle of the tithe in the Old Testament was for the people of God to bring their tithes and offering to honor the Lord. When they did, God opened the windows of Heaven and took care of all of their needs.
The same God that admonished the Old Testament Saints to give also admonishes us:
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
Don’t miss the instruction of Malachi 3:10. In the middle of that verse, God says,
This is not the Preacher telling you to put your trust in God; this is God Almighty Himself saying, “Prove Me, Trust Me, And Try Me!”
What will be the result of proving God?
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
But there is another part of that instruction we don’t want to miss. God says, “Prove me NOW!” Delayed obedience is disobedience. When it comes to tithing and giving offerings to the Church, God wants us to start now.
I read a statistic that said that only 3 percent of those that try to start tithing gradually ever actually tithe. 97 percent of those that tithe on a regular basis make a decision and just start.
I can tell you from experience of over 35 years, Proving God is an exciting way to live.
There is no way you can say you really trust God until you trust Him in your giving.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Based on the truth of the Bible, I say to you, “As you honor God, He will provide for you.”
The Heavens declare His Glory and the earth shows His handiwork.
No means of measure can define His love.
No far reaching telescope can bring into focus the coastline of His shore-less supply.
You can trust Him!
No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.
He is eternally steadfast, all-powerful, and full of mercy.
You can trust Him!
He can satisfy your every need.
He can give you strength for your journey.
He can keep you from temptation and trouble.
He will comfort you in every sorrow.
You can trust Him!
He sympathizes, sees, guards, and guides.
He helps and heals.
He delivers and defends.
You can trust Him!
He is the Master of the sea.
He is the Captain of your ship.
He is the head of all heroes and the Leader of all legislatures.
He is the Governor of all governors and King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
You can trust Him!
His promises are sure.
His life is matchless.
His love never changes
His Word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His burden is light.
His yoke is easy.
You can trust Him!
Surely if you can trust Him with your never-dying soul, you can trust Him with your money. If you can trust Him with your eternity, you can trust Him with your life.
The three attitudes for the Christian are simple and profound:
GIVING WITH INTEGRITY
have all met people who have lacked integrity. Some lack moral integrity.
Others lack integrity in their business dealings. There are even
some pastors who lack integrity because they do not practice what they preach.
The Jews of Malachi's day lacked integrity in the area of giving to God's
work. Many today lack integrity in this same area.
Remember, a lack of integrity is also a lack of honesty.
GOD'S ACCUSATION - Vs. 8
The Jews had robbed God because they had failed to give as God had prescribed.
GOD'S ACTION - Vs. 9
God had cursed the nation because of their failure to give.
GOD'S ADVICE - Vs. 10a
The one who is not giving properly should start to give with integrity. (1 Corinthians 9:6-7).
GOD'S ASSURANCE - Vs. 10b
God will give great blessing when we give properly.