A Good Foundation

Matthew 6:25-34      1 Timothy 6:6-19        November 10, 2013

During a conversation this past week, I asked Ms. WW Web[1] a question.  I asked her, “Do you tithe?”

She told me, “I started to tithe a couple of months ago.”

Then I asked her, “Why did you start tithing?”

Ms. WW Web responded, “I was at the point that there were times that I could not afford to pay the bills.  But I was in a conversation at the church about more people tithing.  Since I decided to tithe, the bills are getting paid.”

I then asked Ms. WW Web a question like this, “What does tithing bring to your life?”

She responded with, “I have a joy.  It is doing what is right.  Tithing makes me feel at peace.”

Giving to the God through the church is important.  The church cannot work as it needs to without the generosity of disciples and people who attend the church.  There is much good that the church can do when make sure that the church not only meets its budget, but when we make sure that good ministries are supported by our giving.

When we are generous as God is generous, we are able to support the River North Correction Center Chaplain.  Within its1st month of operation, the interim chaplain, Kevin Richardson, has led one inmate to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!  When we are generous we can know that Molly Williams is able to touch lives for Jesus Christ in Utah. When we are living godly lives, we can do good deeds for our older neighbors.  When we are living godly lives, we can provide backpacks full of food to children who are hungry.  When we are doing good, we can provide resources to young mothers, the sick, the hungry, those without hope, and those trying to get back on their feet, or helping them to stay on their feet.

We do want to support these worthwhile ministries, and several others.  It takes all of us here in the church to do support these ministries.  In the back of our minds, we may think to ourselves, “What about my life, how am I going to live?”  I believe Jesus gives us good instructions about concern for our lives.  And His apostle, Paul, gives us some wisdom in living as believers.  These instructions and wisdom help us to be a generous church.

 

  1. What does Jesus tell us about our lives? (Matthew 6:25-34)
    1. Do not worry about your life (6:25)
    2. The birds are fed by your heavenly Father (6:26)
    3. We cannot add an hour to our lives (6:27)
    4. If God can clothe the lilies & the grass, then he can clothe us? (6;29-30)
    5. Do not worry about food, drink, or clothes! (6:31)
    6. The rest of the world may worry, but God knows we need these things (6:32)
    7. What do we do instead?  We strive for the Kingdom of God & his righteousness (6:33)
    8. Today’s troubles are enough, without concern for tomorrow (6:34)  – Elijah & the widow & the oil
    9. For Jesus, our lives are to be concerned with the Kingdom of God.  Seeking after God and his ways of righteousness are to be our priority.  Worrying about food, drink, and clothing, amongst other types of worrying we do, shows how little faith we have in God.  If God is important to us, then it is his ways of living becomes important to us.  Paul adds another dimension to this discussion.

 

  1. What wisdom for living as believers does Paul have for us? (1 Timothy 6:6-19)
    1. Timothy is to teach about Jesus and the “teaching that is in accordance with godliness.”
    2. We gain much with living God’s way
      1. We could wander from the faith (6:6-10)

–          Godliness with contentment – not worrying

–          Striving for riches can be a trap for us!

–          The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil – it takes us away from faith in God!

  1. We want to be God’s people (6:11-16)

–          Pursue – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness

–          Take hold of the eternal life – live who you said you were going to be when you were baptized & confessed Jesus as Lord & Savior

–          Hold on to God & his ways till Jesus comes back

–          Our Lord Jesus Christ –  only sovereign, King of Kings, Lord of lords, has immortality, lives in unapproachable light, He gets the honor & eternal dominion

  1. We live as Jesus’ followers (6:17-19)

–          Rich? Set your hope on God who provides everything for our enjoyment

–          Rich? Do good, be rich in good works, generous, ready to share – for a good foundation – taking hold of life that is really life

  1. Where is our hope set?  If we set our hopes on obtaining more money than we know what to do with, then we could fall into a trap that gets us away from faith in God.  Yes, John Wesley did say that we gain all we can, so we can save all we can, in order that we can give all we can.  This thing called life is not lived looking for all the gold in Ft. Knox!  This thing we do called living is to be done so that we are looking to God for what we need. When we do have a surplus, we can be generous.  We can do this because we know and trust that God provides for us.  God provides for our daily needs.  And God provides for our life in His kingdom.

 

We need not worry about food, drink, or clothing.  God provides what we need.  As we learn about giving, we find that tithing is about finding joy in living a life of godliness.  Becoming rich is a means for us to be generous.   We have confessed that we believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  Then let us live that way.  Let us live the eternal life that God has given us.  Eternal life is about God being generous to us and we being generous to God’s work in this world.


[1] Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual

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