By now some of you in the church have been called out to take the Ice Bucket Challenge.
But what if you were challenged spiritually?
While it doesn’t involve dumping icy cold water on people, it does require you and our church to get out of our comfort zone and further impact the Kingdom.
I want to Challenge you to tithe – just for 90 days and see what God will do in your life. This is an important spiritual challenge with a profound impact.
Early on as a pastor, I laid out a challenge to our still developing congregation. It was in a series on stewardship and it was the second message in that series. I went straight to the heart of the issue and challenged them to commit to tithing for four months.
I knew that God would show up in their lives in a real and powerful way.
So I laid out this challenge in no uncertain terms. I suppose, if we had the audio of that particular day, you might even say I went over the top! I called on them to be serious about their growth. I called on them to be the people that God had created them to be. I did everything but tell them God would strike them dead if they didn’t give! (Which by the way He probably won’t do…but could)
By the time I finished the challenge, I had set the bar pretty high. I was hoping that at least 40 or 50 people would be willing to challenge their faith.
That would be something big to celebrate in our church.
Well, God had something even bigger in mind.
These families I challenged were like you. Some were church members and some not churched members, just attenders; what they had in common was neither group had ever heard the message about tithing this plainly. No one had ever told them that, actually, God went so far as to say, “Test me in this.” But they responded – in a BIG way – to this simple, but proven Biblical message.
Which is why I am issuing to you this Tithe Challenge!
Just what is a Tithe Challenge? A Tithe Challenge is a set period of time where you the challenged people in the church bring the full tithe to God during that period of time. I am challenging you to the Tithe Challenge for four (4) months and just see what God will do in your life, the life of your family and the through the ministry of this church.
Oh and by the way, I have heard it is best to challenge people when they are doing well. So let me take a moment and brag on you and THANK YOU for the giving you have done this year so far. It’s in our nature to assume that the people closest to us know how much we value them…but, that’s a dangerous assumption.
I want you to know how much you are valued!
I know it takes all of us working and giving together to achieve the ministries of this church. So, I want to say how much I appreciate you and love you and thank you for your faithful giving. And I want to encourage you by sharing some principles from God’s Word on our Giving.
Leviticus 27:30-32 (KJV) 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. 31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Malachi 3:8-10 (KJV) 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Someone once said, “There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. Which kind are you?
To get anything from the flint, you must hammer it. Yet all you generally get are chips and sparks. The flint gives nothing away if it can help it, and even then only with great display.
To get anything from the sponge, you must squeeze it. It readily yields to pressure, and the more it is pressed, the more it gives. Still one must push.
To get anything from the honeycomb, however, one must only take what freely flows from it. It gives its sweetness generously, dripping on all without pressure, without begging or badgering.
Notice too, that there is another difference in the honeycomb. It is a renewable resource. Unlike the flint or sponge, the honeycomb is connected to life, it is the product of the ongoing work and creative energy of bees.
If you are a “honeycomb giver” your life will be continually replenished and grow as you give. And, as long as you are connected to the Source of All Life, you can never run dry. When you give freely you will receive in like manner, so whatever you give away will soon be multiplied back to you. So again, What Kind of Giver Are You?
In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,