Why such an emphasis on money and possessions? There is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.
It was Martin Luther who said, "There are three conversions a person needs to experience: The conversion of the head, the conversion of the heart, and the conversion of the pocketbook."
Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
I truly believe we will never be truly free or experience God's blessing until we are obedient to God's call to give. Living an open-handed generous life is very freeing. Whether you call it a "tithe" or "giving" or "generosity" it's the same idea. Unfortunately when some people want to argue about the "tithe" not being a New Testament requirement it's just to justify their lack of obedience to God's word.
Let's not live in bondage to fear when it comes to money. Trust God with a portion of what He has given us the ability to earn!
I recently taught at Mercy Church on the subject of money, here are the cliff notes:
1) Our HOPE should be in God.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
2) Being GENEROUS shows our gratitude.
2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
3) You will be BLESSED when you give.
Acts 20:35 "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'."
4) WEALTH comes from God.
1 Chronicles 29:10-13 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
5) Giving is a matter of the HEART.
Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
6) GIVING helps us keep things in proper perspective.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I am always open to questions and feedback ... thank you!