I always dislike the sermons on giving that I feel obligated to do. If I’m to preach the whole counsel of God, I can’t neglect the subject of giving. Money is mentioned more in the New Testament than faith, hope, prayer or even love. Jesus 10 givingexplained that what we really treasure in life is revealed by the notations in our checkbooks. Well, He said “where your wealth is, that’s where your heart is,” but I think the principle is similar. I preach on money at least once a year because I believe that it’s biblical. But from my earthly, human, perspective I preach on money because I sometimes feel personally responsible for the livelihood of those in the ministry at CBC with me. We’ve been so richly blessed by God over the years that we’ve never had to let people go. On the contrary, we’ve been blessed with being able to add staff over the years. I sometimes feel a heavy load of responsibility. I know I should trust God. I do, yet sometimes I worry! Don’t you?

On the other hand, I also worry about being another “religious” leader. Regarding the resources of people in my congregation, I don’t want to be like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. He condemned them for always preaching about money and the need for everyone to give even if they have little. That’s easy to say for those who live in big houses and dress in fine clothes and eat the best of foods. That’s the way Jesus described the Religious leaders of His day in Luke chapter 20. After describing their show of wealth Jesus condemns them for “shamelessly cheating widows” out of whatever wealth and property they have (Luke 20:47).

You’d think that the Religious leaders would be held accountable for such criminal behavior but the crime is very subtle. How exactly do they cheat widows? I would argue that they manipulate widows and other helpless, poor people to give what they can’t afford. In the very next passage, Luke 21:1-3, Jesus was with his disciples at the Temple and “He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.’” Most sermons on this passage suggest that Jesus is commending the widow for her overwhelming generosity, but in the context, it looks more like he’s condemning the fund raising techniques of the religious leaders. It’s manipulating the poor to give even what they can’t afford while the rich simply give from their surplus. I certainly don’t want to be a religious leader like that.