Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Luke 21:1-4

today we’ll be in luke chapter 21 and we’ll be studying verses one through four but first i want to share a little story dr john brodis uh he’s a pastor and was the president of the southern baptist um as the ushers were about to start uh start the offering he actually left the platform and walked down to where the ushers were beginning to take the collection and he went along with them and looked on as every dime and nickel and dollar went into the plate and you may well imagine that some of the people were upset or even angry some were confused some were same face and others were just kind of amazed right all were pretty evidently surprised when the collection was over dr broda said uh this is a quote from him my people if you take the part that i have seen your offerings this day and know just what sacrifices you have made and what sacrifices you have not remained remember that the son of god your savior goes about the isles with every usher and sees his with his sleepless eyes every cent that is put into the collection by his people and then he reminded them the truth by reading into the story of the widow’s mind which is what we’re going to do let’s read the story in luke 21 beginning of verse 1. he says and he looked up and he saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury and then he saw a certain poor widow putting in two mites so he said truly i said to you that this poor widow has put in more than all for all of these out of their abundance have put into their offerings before god but she out for poverty put in all the livelihood that she had jesus chose the treasury as a place that he would give his final teaching before leaving the temple forever jesus contrasts the phony goodness of the religious leaders with true devotion of the poor widow with this great story he gives three principles about giving one god cares about our giving two god cares about how we give and three god cares about how much we live the first principle is that god cares about our giving right in the parallel account in mark chapter 12 verses 41 it says now jesus sat opposite the treasury and he saw people how the people put the money into the treasury and many who were rich they put in a lot mark gives us a picture of jesus’s concern for the treasury of the house of the lord mark tells us that jesus saw whereas the king james version says beheld what the people gave the word used here means to look at something with interest and purpose usually indicating that the careful observation of details is happening all of the people that jesus saw giving into the treasure of all the people that jesus saw giving to the treasury only one person truly impressed him in spite of the fact that many of the rich put in he wasn’t he was impressed god is interested in our giving because he has a plan for our giving about the plan i’m probably familiar with the term tithing the word ties in reality just for a simple word that just means one tenth um and the believer is expected to give one tenth of his or her income to the lord and we can see that in malachi chapter 3 verse 10 says bring all the tithes to the storehouses that there may be food in my house and try me now in this says the lord of hosts if i will not open for you the windows of heaven and poor offer you such blessings that there will be not enough room for you to receive it i think in new testament times we believe in tithing and even more than that because a lot of us give up our time to treasure our talents right i realize that the subject of money is kind of a touchy one to some people but it shouldn’t be one of our uh one of my favorite quotes about giving is by frank hubbard who says when a fellow says it ain’t about the money but it’s the principal thing it’s about money so i can think of about three or four good reasons why some people do not tie the first reason some people do not tithe because they’ve just never been top to top because of the way people react to the mention of money some preachers are naturally gun shy about preaching on the subject with all the shenanigans that tv preachers have pulled in the past couple decades um some preachers are even more resistant to talk about money that makes sense although jesus had more to say on this subject than any other subject some say that tithing is part of an old testament law and that christians are not bound by the old testament law the fact is that tithing is a 400 years older than the law when abraham offered tithe of all that he had in genesis 14 20 timing was practiced before the law and under the law and after the law in the new testament the second reason some people denounced because they do not understand the importance of tithing or at least they say they don’t um i suspect the reason uh the reason that at least some of them don’t tie this because they just don’t want to and if that’s the reason fine but let’s just be honest about it right when you go to the doctor for your annual checkup he or she will often begin to poke and produce you and press various places while uh all while asking does that hurt how about this kind of thing right if you cry out in pain one or two things just happen either the doctor has pushed too hard without the right sensitivity or more likely something’s wrong and the doctor will say well you better do some tests that’s not supposed to be here like that [Music] so it is when pastors preach financial responsibility a certain member cries out in discomfort right criticizing the messenger or the message either past either the pastor has pushed too hard and perhaps um there’s something wrong in that case i say my friend we need we are in need of the great physician because it’s not supposed to hurt there that’s actually a quote from uh annual checkup on some people don’t time because uh they haven’t tried to tie or they’ve been trying to tie the wrong way for many years i wanted to tie but i tried to tie it off the bottom and not the top by that i mean i would say like if i have enough left over after i pay my bills uh and stuff then then i’ll general tax right i’ll tell you right from personal experience that this philosophy just it won’t work to to give to god off the top is the step of faith it trusts him to provide for your needs stop bargaining they say if you’re saying lord you get us through the month we’ll give you what’s left and start trusting and say lord here’s the love gift and thanks for taking care of us first corinthians 16 1 through 4 speaks of setting aside the first of the week on what we plan to give and what we give to god deserves that priority he should not receive our leftovers right as is all too common the leftovers mysteriously shrink in size to take care of the things that are not necessarily necessary for the fourth reason some people just don’t type because they refuse to do so no matter what god says i hope this does not describe you this kind of person can be described by the story i heard uh of the notorious miser the story the miser was called by a chairman of this community uh charity and said and he said sir our records show that despite your wealth he never once gave to our drive do your records show that uh this is his response he said do your records show that i have an elderly money who was a elderly mother who was left penniless when my father died do your records show that i have a disabled brother who is unable to work do your records show that i have a widowed sister and a small children who can barely make ends meet and no sir the volunteer replied her records don’t show any of those things he said well i don’t give to any of them so why should i give of income that god has blessed you with and you’re just obedient plain and simple you might be saying that’s legalistic well i think we that we should be willing to apply that same logic to our personal finances yeah supposing that uh when you receive your next paycheck right and it’s 20 short and your employees responsible as well don’t believe the listing it’s only 20 bucks right would that satisfy you no so the first principle here is that god cares about our giving and the second principle is god cares about how we give look again at the parallel passage that we have in mark 12 verse 41 and it says and he saw how the people put the money into the treasury the word how here is uh pulse which is meaning in what way the people brought their gifts to god and god sat in the shadows and watched his people as they gave in his house we could never escape that watchful eye of god he sees as we earn money he sees as we determine what we will give to the lord through through church and he watches as we write the check and he knows whether we’re not retired or if it is a time i want you to note a couple things in conjunction with the how we give to the lord’s work one when it comes to giving the attitude of the heart makes all the difference uh when i write a check for my taxes to the irs the government agency could care less about my heart’s attitude the irs does not care if i grudgingly or willingly or lovingly or angry joyfully or sadly all they care about is the bottom line just pay up so but that’s not how his wound does paul tells us in second corinthians chapter 9 verse 7 it says so let each one let every man give as he has purpose in his heart not grudgingly or out of necessity for god loves your forgiveness the kind of giving that oppresses god is the giving that concept of all those who gave into the treasury that day one person’s offering impressed the lord in verse three he says truly i say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all for all these out of their abundance have put into the offering of god but she out of her poverty poverty put in all the livelihood that she had we were told that this woman is not just a widow she’s poor and he uses the term i’m probably going to say this wrong and which describes an abject poverty like a popper or a poor peasant she basically in real danger of imminent starvation okay she put in two mites literally lepta they are the smallest coins made each is worth about one tenth of a denarius or the equivalent of about five minutes of minimum wage the amount never matters as much as the cost to the giver it’s not the size of the gift but the sacrifice in regards to its amount it is not true that she had put in more than all but in regards to personal sacrifice it is when it says she gave out of her poverty her whole livelihood he conveyed the idea that the means by which life is sustained all others have given more but they also have given out of their abundance for their surpluses what they had given would never be missed for what she had given was sacrificial in the old testament we see an example in the life of king david david need to make needed to make an offering to atone for his sin he decided that he would need to buy a threshing floor from uh of arena i don’t know if i said that right on which to build his offer alter excuse me and when david offered to buy the property our aruna offered to give him not only the land but everything he needed to make the sacrifice now on the surface this may seem like a really attractive offer right but david responded by saying no but surely i will buy it from you for a price for i will not offer to god that which cost me nothing that’s samuel ii samuel 24 24. but it is what these rich men were doing and that is what you and i do when we only get out of our surplus right i found the words of c.s lewis very convicting in regard when he wrote i do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give i’m afraid that the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare in other words if our expenditures on comforts and luxuries and amusements etc is up to the common standard among those within the same income as our own you’re probably giving away to the if our charities do not pinch or hamper us i should say they’re too small it ought to be a thing that we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditures exclude them that’s from the book of your christianity by css the second principle is god cares about how we give and the third principle is god cares about how much we give right jesus not only observed their giving and how they gave he observed what they did he saw the rich people come along and some of them put in rather large sums of money as they did he did not say a word he just kept watching then along came a poor widow and dropped in the two smallest coins it was not the amount that was what’s important but the proportion as more and more as we put it when it comes to our giving god sees more than the portion he also sees the proportion men see what is given but god sees what is left and measures the gift and the condition of our hearts although she was not much in monetary value she gave all that she had jesus could remain silent no longer and he said she has given more than all the rest now there’s no actual evidence that the woman ever knew that jesus followed her gift there’s no evidence that she ever became prosperous in this life i mean it’s possible that she went home and starved to death but i sincerely doubt that what a surprise one day when she stood before the lord and heard him say oh i saw what you did and that thrilled my heart let me close by reading second corinthians chapter eight verses one through five it says now i want to tell you dear brothers and sisters what god in the kindness of his heart and kindness has done for the churches in macedonia though i have not they have been going through much trouble and hard times their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed enriched generosity for i can testify that they have not only given what they could afford but far more and they did it of their own free will they begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the christians in jerusalem and best of all they were beyond our highest hopes for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the lord god doesn’t want your money he wants you and yeah we cannot give ourselves to him apart from our money it is true that money tells where our hearts are if jesus is watching if jesus wants to give what would his opinion be to be given when it’s closing lord god i thank you for giving to us something that we could never ever give to you your son i pray that you would just move our hearts to give like you and to do all that you would have us do and be or strengthen us and kill us give us courage to speak out and to talk to people and to share your gospel lord i thank you for the freedoms we have here to come together and worship and just uh lift up your name i pray all these things in your name [Music] you


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