Some years ago, a Barna research study found that only 8 percent of born-again Christians give 10 percent or more of their income. This is a sad statistic. Ellen G. White says: “In this life our possessions are limited, but the great treasure that God offers in His gift to the world, is unlimited. It comprehends every human desire, and goes far beyond our human calculations. In the great day of final decision, when every man shall be judged according to his deeds, every voice of self-justification will be hushed; for it will be seen that in His gift to the human race the Father gave all He had to give, and that they are without excuse who have refused to accept the gracious offering. We have no enemy without that we need to fear. Our great conflict is with unconsecrated self. When we conquer self, we are more than conquerors through Him who has loved us.”1
I. THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE
A. Who owns your money? “That’s pretty obvious,”
you respond. “I own my money.” Wrong!
The Bible teaches us that everything we own belongs
to God. First Corinthians 4:7 says, “. . . what
do you have that you did not receive?”
Ellen G. White says, “Our money has not
been given us that we might honor and glorify
ourselves. As faithful stewards we are to use it for
the honor and glory of God. Some think that only
a portion of their means is the Lord’s. When they
have set apart a portion for religious and charitable
purposes, they regard the remainder as their own,
to be used as they see fit. But in this they mistake.
All we possess is the Lord’s, and we are accountable
to Him for the use we make of it. In the use of
every penny, it will be seen whether we love God
supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.”2
Everything we have, we have received from
God. When I understand that, suddenly the focus
isn’t on my generosity (“I’m giving God 10
percent of my money”) but on God’s generosity
(“God is graciously letting me use 90 percent”).
B. What makes you feel safe and secure? A
lot of people feel safe because they have a high-paying
job or a lot of money in the bank. The Bible
teaches us that our safety and security come not
from our paychecks but from the knowledge that
each of us is a child of the King. Hebrews 13:5
says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have, because God
has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake
C. Will there be a report card? This ties in
with the first question. Many of us believe that
our money belongs to us, so we don’t envision
any accountability for what we do with it. Matthew
25:14-30 makes it very clear that we will be
judged on how we handled the money entrusted
to us. Our checkbook reveals a lot about our priorities.
Before collecting an offering, someone once
prayed, “O Lord, no matter what we say or what
we do, here is what we think of You.”
As I’ve asked these questions, perhaps
you’ve realized that your giving is not what it
needs to be. Now, I want to give you some positive
reasons for improving your giving. The only
reason some people can think of for giving is “because
I have to” or “because I feel guilty if I don’t.”
But I want you to look at giving not as something
you have to do but as something you want to do.
II. THREE REASONS YOU SHOULD WANT
A. What you keep, you lose; what you give,
you keep! Most of us think, “The utilities I paid
for and the stereo I bought—at least I got something
for my money. But the money I gave to the
church, it’s just gone.” That’s not true; in fact,
that idea is completely backward! All the stuff
we bought, we’ll leave behind when we leave this
world. But the money we gave that the Kingdom
of God might increase, we will see the dividends
of that as “treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20). Investment
firms say, “Invest for the long term.” I
couldn’t agree more: invest for eternity.
B. Giving will bring you more joy than hoarding!
Where did we get the unwise idea that we
can get more joy out of buying something else for
ourselves than we can out of giving generously to
someone? If you want more bang for your buck,
try spending your money on someone else. Their
joy will bring you lasting joy.
C. You cannot outgive God! Luke 6:38 says,
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure,
pressed down, shaken together and running over.
. . .” Second Corinthians 9:6 says, “He who sows
sparingly will reap sparingly, but he who sows
bountifully will reap bountifully.” I’m not talking
about a shallow health-and-wealth, God’s-gonnamake-you-rich
gospel, because God’s greatest
blessings are rarely in the form of money. I simply
mean God desires to bless you in so many
ways. If your giving is not where it needs to be
and you’ve decided this morning that you want to
do better, where do you start?
III. A COUPLE OF QUICK SUGGESTIONS
A. You’ve got to commit to an amount to
give. If your finances are a mess and you can’t
commit to a tithe or offering right away, you can
commit to tithe and to a specific dollar amount
for offerings each payday that will come off the
top. If you only give from what is left over, you’re
not going to give God anything. Ellen G. White
says, “If you have refused to deal honestly with
God, I beseech you to think of your deficiency,
and if possible to make restitution. If this cannot
be done, in humble penitence pray that God for
Christ’s sake will pardon your great debt. Begin
now to act like Christians. Make no excuse for
failing to give the Lord His own.”3
Consider also what she says: “The spirit
of liberality is the spirit of heaven. Christ’s selfsacrificing
love is revealed upon the cross. That
man might be saved, He gave all that He had,
and then gave Himself. The cross of Christ appeals
to the benevolence of every follower of the
blessed Saviour. The principle there illustrated
is to give, give, give. This, carried out in actual
benevolence and good works, is the true fruit of
the Christian life. The principle of worldlings is
to get, get, get, and thus they expect to secure
happiness; but, carried out in all its bearings, the
fruit is misery and death.”4
B. Commit to increasing the amount you
give. You might decide every year that you’re
going to increase a specific percent in offerings.
You find the timing and amount that are plausible
for you. As your finances straighten up, you can
slowly move toward the level of giving you want
to be at based on the systematic benevolence
This is not about you and the church budget;
this is about you and your relationship with
God. Ellen G. White says: “The most difficult
sermon to preach and the hardest to practice is
Does your giving “stop” at nothing, or does your giving stop at “nothing”?
1 Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, 21, 22.
2 ———, Christ’s Object Lessons, 351.
3 ———, Counsels on Stewardship, 99.
4 Ibid., 14.