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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is It My Money?

... There are many forms of the people, called Christian today. There are the social club members, there are those that feel duty bound to be in attendance, there are even the promoters of their business that are there, faithfully, every Sunday Morning because it is good for their bottom line. Then, there are a hand full, in, perhaps, every Church that are there because they have believed the Word of God, the Bible, and asked God for Salvation and in receiving that free gift, have also sought after and received, a personal relationship with God.

... One, very dangerous, action that takes place in God's house, as a result of this mix is the robbery of God's Store House and this has led to the end of many a young Pastors service to God. We've all sat through the sermon that teaches us of the penalty for this crime against God and as a result, there are many that pay their tithe, just to avoid this charge being held against them. Their reasoning is, of course, faulty but that is not what this message is about.

... 1Kings 17:10-15 is my beginning point and don't worry, I've not lost my focus to old age...yet! Before we get to the meat of the subject I'll conclude my introduction by stating the obvious. Once the tithe is paid and once the offerings are collected they are the treasure in God's store house and we no longer own nor do we exercise control over them.

... There is a great lesson to be learned in the study of the Old Testament and I have centered on but one of hundreds of lessons that teach of God's Amazing Grace in reaction to faith demonstrated by obedience. No, I'm not centering on Elijah's faith, he was running from Jezebel any way. I'm looking at the widow and I'll ask you to remember the maternal protection a mother is driven to when her children are in the balance.

... This, destitute widow had lost her husband and she and her son had just enough oil and flour to make one last meal before death. As she walked away from the Prophet of God to fetch his water, he requested that she give the last bit of food to him but he made the request with the promise of God's care throughout the drought. Because of God's promise to her and in complete disregard for human logic, she made the last loaf of bread and gave it to him.

... In my mind's eye I can see her sitting there, watching Elijah eat the very last meal in her house and thinking to herself, “God, be true and do not let this be a lie.” I see her then, cautiously, opening the jar to peer in and great flood of relief and joy as there at the bottom resides the flour for, not one loaf but two, one for her and another for her son. I can see her spinning wildly to look in the next jar at the fresh oil in there.

... Because the widow trusted God, in spite of logic, God's abundance was poured out on her and her son in the time when there was no hope at all. Now, ask anyone outside the Church and they will tell you that the very idea of giving the first ten per cent of your pay to some unseen person and then bowing in worship to him is a poor man's foolishness. I will admit that from a logical perspective, it is sheer insanity for my wife and I to be on a fixed income in an economy that is running away with uncontrolled inflation and yet that is exactly what we are about.

... We do not give our tithe because we hope to buy our way into Heaven, that's impossible! We don't even give just because we are obedient, we give our tithe and more because we have a personal relationship with God and because we love Him.

... Now, here's where the hiccup occurs. We have given our tithes and our offerings to God, through the Church and now the finance committee and the Deacons have noticed a need of the preacher's, a.k.a. Prophet, and have gone before the LORD in prayer and have been moved by the Spirit of God to fulfill this multi-thousand dollar need for parts for his pick-up truck. They have decided to use my money to fix his truck! Never mind that I expect him to visit me in that truck when I'm in the hospital, why he might use that truck for just about anything.

... For just a moment let's think. I did give the money to the LORD my God. (Is it really my money?) These men, elected by the Church, have gone before God in prayer and they were so moved by the Holy Spirit of God to take this course of action. (Have I gone before the LORD and asked the One that paid my way out of Hell, “What should I feel about this?)

... You see, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God is a moment by moment event that must never cease. It is impossible for me or anyone else to live the Christian life! We have been made spiritually alive when we were saved and there-in lies the problem. In John 20:17 we see Mary being warned not to defile herself because Jesus was still in His corrupt earthly body, so are we. The Romans sometimes tied a murdered man onto the back of the murderer and he was compelled to carry it until it rotted away or it killed the murderer. We, in similar fashion, are still bound to our ungodly, former selves and for this reason we must constantly thirst for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live this life we have been separated to. Without the constant infilling of the Holy Spirit we cannot live God honoring lives.