We have all seen that show Hoarders, right? You see the inside of their home and it is lined with newspapers and magazines from 1972 through today. Cat food piled to the ceiling. Old McDonalds bags and pizza boxes hanging around, just in case they may ever be needed. It’s a painful and sad disorder that is based completely in fear. “What if I do not have enough? What if there is a day that I need one of these 72 backscratchers I found at a garage sale 9 years ago? What if…” It is painful and sad to see.
The most glorious moment in those shows is when the dumpster gets backed into the driveway, the family comes over, and the house gets cleaned out. I don’t know about you, but I feel cleaner when this happens. I feel like the air around me becomes less stale when I watch this on TV. It feels so freeing!
I’ve got news for you: You are and I are hoarders. When it comes to your finances, you are either a hoarder or a worshiper. There is no in-between. You are either going to give in to fear by holding onto and hoarding the resources that God has given you, or you will joyfully release it to be used for God’s purposes. The former is a prison, the latter is freedom.
- 1. I am scared. If you let go of your money, you will have less. That’s right: math major here. My 2.73 GPA degree from Arcadia is worth something. But when you have less, you can buy less. And when you can buy less, you are protected from less. And when you are protected from less, catastrophe can come. And when catastrophe comes, I don’t want to be left out in the cold wishing I did not give more to the work of the Kingdom of God. Isn’t that how the fear cycle goes? Let us not forget God’s Word in 1 Timothy 6:18, It is God who gives us all things to enjoy. And even more important, look at what Paul says about the Lord when it pertains to our fears in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11, “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.” Go ahead and put God to the test. See if He will not be generous in every way when you are generous in every way because God has already been generous in every way! The opposite of fear is faith. Have faith in God’s Word and God’s character.
- 2. I think tithing was Old Testament law. We covered this in the sermon, I want to ask you this question that Randy Alcorn asks in “The Treasure Principle.” Why would God require less of the Holy Spirit filled, blood bought, resurrected saint than He would the poorest Israelite? In the only mention of tithing in the New Testament, Jesus affirms the practice in Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Do you know what Jesus is saying here? He is rebuking the Pharisees for settling at tithing, for doing the absolute least they could do while neglecting areas that would radically change their worldview. And here is something I have observed: those who argue that tithing is for the Old Testament are rarely, if ever, giving 10% of their income to God’s work, let alone over and above that. Don’t let your theology get in the way of generosity. Want to give like Jesus? Give it all to Him as He gave it all to you! The money in your pocket is 100% God’s. You are merely a steward of it. Be the conduit of grace He wants you to be, not the lazy glutton He is trying to change you from.
- 3. I cannot afford to tithe. That again is based in fear and selfishness. Question for you (another heart seeker from Randy Alcorn): if your salary was cut by 10%, would you die? The answer, obviously, is no. You would make adjustments, right? So you can afford to, you just do not have enough faith or guts to do it. Take a leap of faith, stop hoarding and start worshiping.
- 4. I am saving first then I will start to tithe. OR I am paying off debt first, then I will start to tithe. Not biblical. Saving money: biblical (Proverbs 6:6-8). Paying off debt in a timely manner: biblical (Romans 13:7-8). Giving: biblical (2 Corinthians 8-9). Doing the other 2 first before you give? Unbiblical. The command God gives is to give of the first fruits. Proverbs 3:9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce. That means what comes into your hands FIRST, the best, goes to the Lord. Not what is left over. Everything else needs to come next. Only God is worthy of your first fruits.
- 5. God is not leading me to give right now. No, your emotions are not leading you to give right now. Your heart is where your treasure is, and your heart wants to hold on to that treasure, therefore you feel like you are not “being led” (whatever in the world that means) to give. Let me say this loud and clear: God leads us first and foremost through His Word. God’s people are giving and generous people. God’s Word commands us to give cheerfully, sacrificially, and generously. You are being led to give by the Holy Spirit Himself, but you are allowing yourself to be led away from obedience by your own heart.
So there it is. I hope this helps…and I hope it stings a bit. Change is never easy, but change is always refreshing.
You are loved!