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This is how we live – Corinthians Chapter 16

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A random question came into my head during the sermon this week. A question that I’ve never really considered before. By partaking in gambling I think I lose even though I may win the bet. To explain my reasoning, if I place a bet and care about the result – it means that the money has a hold over me? I’m not a master of the money, I’m allowing the money to rule me.

I prove that money has no hold over me in many ways. By not making money my primary focus. I try to be generous with my friends, my career is driven by the type of job that I want to do rather than the money it pays, I also give a regular offering to God, putting him first in all things. These actions are not always easy but they help to release any hold that the money has over me.

You can find Graham’s notes below and listen again to his sermon here:

Giving to the Lord and His Work

Introduction

Notice the progression of thought. From chapter 15 about resurrection, Paul teaches that truth as a reason to not be moved away from our purpose, to always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. The fact of the resurrection assures us that we will be rewarded for our good service. He now goes on to mention a feature of that good service, the use of our finances and the place of giving in Christ’s kingdom.

For teens and young adults a top subject of interest and Christian teaching is “relationships”. Different topics may seem of different importance depending on one’s age and life experiences. But the battle to have mastery of our finances is a battle that never ceases, a challenge that never goes away.

 

1) From our membership course

Giving to the Lord and His Work

It is obvious from even a quick reading of the scriptures that God has a lot to say about money. Money itself is not evil, it is the love of money that is a root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

Jesus said that the way a man handles his money was an indication of whether he could be trusted with true spiritual riches.

 

See Luke 16:10-11

10 ‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

It is evident that in the kingdom of God money is important. Church leaders (God’s servants) need to be released from spending all their time in secular employment so that they can devote themselves fully to the work of the ministry, to prayer and study of the scriptures. Needs amongst the people of God are to be met. The poor are to be cared for, church buildings need to be heated, maintained etc. God’s way of meeting these needs is through the giving of His people – it has been so in both Old and New Testament.

Let us look at some general New Testament principles:-

Clearly God intends our giving to be:-

  • In proportion to our means. 2 Corinthians 8 : 3, (yet in faith, v10-12)
  • Systematic.
  • With a willing cheerfulness. 2 Corinthians 9 : 7

We see in 2 Corinthians 8 : 1 – 5 that the Macedonians gave;

Sacrificially beyond their means.
Willingly of own free will.
Eagerly loved to give.
Spiritually they gave themselves to the Lord.

Rooting about in pockets and purses when an offering is announced betrays a lack of prayerful preparation. On the other hand, the attitude of “I’ll just empty my wallet into the offering and trust the Lord to see me through the week” is, while apparently more generous, is a careless, unplanned approach to giving.

The place of tithing.

 

2) Self control

Money is sticky.

See Judges 17:1-5

1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2 said to his mother, ‘The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse – I have that silver with me; I took it.’ Then his mother said, ‘The Lord bless you, my son!’ 3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, ‘I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.’ 4 So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house. 5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. 6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

I have noticed that much of the silver was promised, but the promise was not kept. She said the silver would be consecrated to the Lord yet only 200 of the 1100 shekels were used that way. She kept back 900 for herself.

Mastering money is a broad subject, and is about self control in a much wider sense. All followers of Christ or to be servant of Christ alone – to have no other Lord and master. We all have to regularly ask ourselves of other things are getting a grip upon us, and then do something about it.

 

Proverbs 6:6-8

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

 

See 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Verse 10 …we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’

Within our community of faith we do not have a collection, we have an offering. A collection is collected, an offering is given, for it is given (offered) to God.

For reflection

Does your money rule you or do you rule your money?
Could you giving to the work of Christ’s kingdom be more thoughtful, more systematic?

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