Now Reading: Why Pastors MUST Preach about Giving and Money
10 months ago
We just completed our series on financial stewardship, “Above and Beyond”. Every year I take our church through a money oriented series on purpose so that the Lord’s people can learn about THE most important issue for American Christians. Here are the 5 reasons I believe it is absolutely essential for pastors to preach about money.
1. Money is ground zero for Americans’ trust in God.
For Americans, money is the linchpin issue when it comes to faith. We don’t have armed guards banging down our doors to drag us off to prison for singing our songs or attending our services. We don’t live in a third world country on less than $2/day. No, we live in the land of the rich and plentiful. Therefore, money and possessions have the most impact on our trust in Christ.
Giving things other than money is easy. You can volunteer your time and feel noble. You can see God use your talents and feel special. But what about giving away your TREASURE? Can you let go of your money? If you can’t, you have a trust issue with God. It’s really that simple. Christians who claim to trust Jesus will take them to heaven when they DIE but cannot let go of money while they LIVE are fooling themselves. Therefore, a regular challenge in this regard is essential to draw people deeper in their trust in God.
Now for you who are about to comment about how “tithing is Old Testament” and no longer necessary, please explain how receiving the blood of Jesus in the New Covenant demands less generosity than laws on tablets of stone in the Old Covenant. If your Christianity is giving you permission to do LESS giving, you may need to examine yourself to see if you are actually IN the faith.
2. Money shapes our hearts.
Jesus famously said these words, “Wherever your treasure IS there your heart WILL BE” (Matthew 6:21). Notice the order. Your heart will follow your money. It’s NOT the other way around. When you buy something expensive, you immediately care more for that item than perhaps any other item in your possession. What happened? Your heart FOLLOWED your money. When you buy a stock in a company you did not previously care about, suddenly you check its ticker constantly. What happened? Your heart FOLLOWED your money.
Want to know where your heart is going? Follow your money. Invest all your money in your kid’s happiness and you’ll be doubly stressed out. First, because no amount of money can keep them happy, and you’ll have less and less money to try to make them happy. Good luck. Invest all your money in your wedding and not the home and marriage you are building and you will wonder why your marriage did not live up to the expectations of the ‘big day’. Your heart FOLLOWED the money.
Invest in the kingdom, and watch your heart grow and God supply your needs. If you do NOT do this, you take Jesus to be a liar. He said in Matthew 6:33 (ESV), “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” As you give to the Kingdom, your heart grows in the kingdom. Then God pours into your life all the things other people run after.
3. Preachers need to learn about money too!
This is the most important PERSONAL reason for me to preach about money. I forget to give. Not the tithe, that is set up automatically in my bank account. But I forget that my life in Christ is to grow in the gift of giving! I read somewhere that a tax accountant discovered up to 80% of the pastors he did tax returns for gave NOTHING to the Church. I know their reasoning. They think, “My whole life is given to the Church, therefore I’m exempt from giving.” What utter nonsense. Preachers who do not tithe are not “smoking what they are selling”. What a disgrace!
Let me give you a little insider tip about preachers. They are usually preaching to themselves first. Why? They need to change and grow. So does this Preacher. Cheryl and I gave our largest gift EVER to the Church in Above and Beyond this past weekend. I was driving to Church on Sunday with an amount we had agreed on when God spoke to my heart that the amount was not “in faith.” He reminded me of the verse: “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Then, He gave me a number that was almost double the original amount. I can tell you the check was hard to write, but the moment I dropped it in the offering something released in my spirit. I felt lighter and happier. I let go in faith and GREW in giving. When we do these series, I am challenged. My wife is challenged. And our lives have experienced greater goodness in God EVERY year.
Secondly, Jesus spoke more about money and possessions than any other topic. Sixteen of his thirty-eight parables were about money. The Bible contains 500 verses on prayer, 400 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money/possessions. If preachers aren’t preaching what Jesus preached, what are they preaching?
4. Money is the “Anti-God.”
Everything money “promises” God alone provides. More money promises power, importance, significance, freedom, security, and opportunity. This is the lie of money. Many people have tons of money and waste their lives, are bound by addiction, live so fearfully they never try anything new and feel like nobodies. God alone is the provider of the truest needs of the human heart. Jesus said, “you cannot serve God and MONEY” (Luke 16:13). He set money in direct opposition for the affections of our hearts because He knew that money would scream these false promises the loudest.
If preachers are not preaching about money, they are failing to take on the number one enemy of God’s authority in the lives of His people. Consequently, far too many Americans are led around like dogs on a leash by the almighty dollar. They are bound by its dictates and threats, fearful of losing it, they believe they never have enough of it and therefore do not part with it. This is NOT freedom. It is slavery. It is dangerous and must be confronted by the Truth of God’s Word.
5. Money is a Seed that GROWS wherever it is planted.
Consider Paul’s illustration to the Corinthians about giving:
2 Corinthians 9:10–11 (ESV) He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
Paul is asking for a monetary offering from the Corinthians for the church in Jerusalem. He refers to money as a “seed”. This is a perfect illustration. Where you put your money will grow in your life. Now consider this in our society. Look at the enormous stadiums where America worships sport or the lavish malls where America worships fashion. Consider the new “savior” of our society – the Casino – these palaces that promise instant riches are more glorious than Solomon’s temple! How are these things so big? Money was sown into the soil of their infancy.
More personally now, look at your life. What is growing? Is your faith? Is your Church? Is the influence of the Gospel GROWING in your community? Now I wish (very much so), that the Church could build houses of worship and ministries on the “dust of Angel’s wings.” It does NOT work that way. God has chosen to work through the material offerings of His people in every generation (see Exodus 25) to provide a place for people to meet with Him.
I know the Church isn’t a building, but it does really well when it has one. Thousands of people have come to Christ and been baptized in our buildings over the last 15 years. It’s nice to hypothesize that we could do that without a building, but trust me, I know from experience, it would NEVER have happened. Pastors who do not challenge people to sow the seed of their money into the Kingdom should expect everything else in society to grow instead of the Church.
I happen to believe the Church is the hope of the world. That sports stadium isn’t helping your marriage. That Casino is not healing your teenage daughter’s heart. That mall and its fashion is a poor substitute for the covering of Christ’s righteousness in your life. Yet SO many people are convinced these things will “save them”. And when those false idols fail, the Church needs to be there to welcome prodigals home. The question is, will we have space for them? Will you help provide it?
Will you trust God and give?
Join us if you haven’t already for our Above and Beyond Campaign on-line. Ten percent of this campaign goes to fund Hope for Life in Guatemala. The rest is funding our roof in North Attleboro, a brand new campus in Woonsocket and Parking for both locations! INVEST!