This is the second part of our two-part series on sermon ideas related to the topic of church giving. If you haven’t already, go back and check out Part 1: Honoring God as the Owner.
Church giving is an uncomfortable topic, but the only solution to addressing the growing gap between different generations’ understanding of tithing and giving is to teach. As Hosea wrote, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (4:6).
There are a number of ways to address these topics, but below is one more “sermon starter” to help get the conversation going in your congregation.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).
One of the most difficult parts of tithing, for many, is dealing with the desire for what we might have done with that money. In actuality, this is the manifestation of the very real struggle against covetousness. We always want more. The only cure, however, is to give. It’s a small test we must pass each and every time we experience increase. The question is presented, “What do you most desire?”
Many years ago, when my family was growing and we moved from our modest two-bedroom apartment to a spacious three-bedroom home, I remember thinking, “How will we ever use all this space?” When we moved again, this time out of state, I was shocked to discover that we had more than filled the space and our move required the biggest U-Haul I could get, and several smaller trailers to extract all our “treasure” (insert eye-roll emoji here).
Given the opportunity, our expenses will expand to fill our income. We always want more.
The answer here is to understand that, because everything is God’s, a 10% tithe is really just the beginning. We must guard ourselves against the natural impulse to satiate the desire for more.
The Financial Stewardship of John Wesley
John Wesley, one of the greatest evangelists of the 18th Century, made it his practice to limit his income so he could effectively give to the poor. When his income was 30 pounds, he discovered he could live on 28, so he gave two to the poor. The next year, his income doubled, but his expenses did not. He gave 32 pounds. When his income jumped again to 90 pounds, he gave away 62. Eventually Wesley’s income rose to 1,400 pounds in a year, but his expenses rarely journeyed above 30 pounds.
When English Tax Commissioners investigated him, assuming he was hiding income, perhaps in the form of silver dishes, he responded, “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.”
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV).