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Preaching on financial giving puts me in a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, I don’t want to come off as begging for money and laying a guilt trip on people. Too many churches seem to focus so much on giving that they give the impression that God is needy and we must help him out! On the other hand, I know that faithfully tithing to the church has been a great blessing for me and my family for generations.
My family is a living testimonial to the fact that God blesses those who give so that they can be even more generous. I’m so thankful that my parents taught me to ALWAYS put the Lord first with my money. Such early training made it much easier to be a consistent giver even when we could have found some really good uses for the money we were putting in the collection plate each week.
Someone commented that at their former church they would have passed the collection plate AFTER the sermon. I specifically did NOT want to do that. I’m not interested in a one week bump in the contribution; I’m aiming for lifestyle changes. And I’m not simply interested in increasing our church’s bottom line; financial giving is an important part of discipleship. Not giving is often an indication that idolatry has taken hold. You cannot serve two masters!
It’s one thing to sing about how much one trusts the Lord; it’s something entirely different when one plans how much they will give and follows through with it, trusting the Lord to provide. Financial giving is a spiritual discipline that aids in keeping the god Mammon at bay. Materialism might still be a struggle, but when one is tithing their income, it is a little harder for Mammon to get a foothold in one’s life.
Conundrum or not, I tried to shoot both barrels in today’s sermon. If one is serious about Living the Story, one must be committed to consistent financial giving.