Jesus on Giving - The Credit for My Giving - Sermon Blog Day 1
Years ago I was at a youth conference preparing to preach. It was being held at a local church. I was out in the hall praying and relaxing just before going in to preach. As I walked the hallway, I saw something that I could not get out of my mind.
That hallway was immaculately decorated and furnished. The carpet, paint and furnishings were nicely coordinated. And, as I walked the hallway praying, I looked at all the furnishings. On each piece of furniture – and even on a couple of the wall mirrors and paintings – there were small, brass tags. On each and every tag was a name – or names - of people. I pondered initially who those people were until I looked a little more closely and each of the brass tags said “Donated Generously By…” before each name.
Almost every single piece of furniture in that hallway was donated by someone within that fellowship. Almost every single piece of furniture that had been donated had a tag publicly giving credit to those who gave it. At that moment, I thought, “Who is getting credit for the giving of these items…the people who gave them? Do the people who gave them own them, or are they God’s?”
When we give, serve, sacrifice, contribute or invest in ministry, God alone deserves the attention and credit for what we do. If you have money to give, that money came from God’s hand. If you have time to give in service, then it is God that provided you that time. If you have material possessions to offer in contribution, it is God who gave you those possessions. In fact, if your “giving” brings glory to yourself, then it no longer can be defined as biblical giving. Every believer is called to give and serve in such a way that God is glorified, and self is not.
In Matthew 5 Jesus begins preaching the greatest recorded sermon we have of his called the Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon he addresses the former law and the transformation of that law under the New Covenant. In the portion of that sermon that is contained in chapter 6, Jesus deals with how God’s people are to pray, give, fast, and worship. In all of these areas, Jesus confronts the hypocrisy and artificial religion that often was the practice. Christianity is not a system of behaviors. It is NOT a system that works from the outside in. It is a system where God transforms the hearts of people, which then works outward to the actions. False religion draws attention to my actions. True Christianity works to point all glory to God. False religion exalts people. True Christianity exalts the person of Christ. It is good to consider some answers on where the credit should go for my giving.