WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?
STEWARDSHIP SERIES 2018
Part #3: “We’ll Take It All!”
Exodus 35:20-29 January 28, 2018
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S SPECIAL: “Blind Men” Two men, Jim and John, were walking their dogs when they passed by a restaurant. “Let’s go in and get something to eat,” Jim suggested. “We can’t” responded John, “don’t you see the sign says NO PETS ALLOWED.” “Aah that sign,” said Jim “don’t worry about it” and taking out a pair of sunglasses, he walked up to the door. As he tried walking into the restaurant he got stopped at the door, “sorry no pets allowed.” Can’t you see” said Jim “I am blind, this is my seeing eye dog.” But it’s a doberman pincher, who uses a doberman pincher as a seeing eye dog?” the man asked “Oh,” Jim responded “you must have not heard, this is the latest type of seeing eye dog, they do a very good job.” Seeing that it worked, John tried walking in with his Chihuahua. Even before John could open his mouth, the doorman said “don’t tell me that a Chihuahua is the latest type of seeing eye dog.” Thinking quickly John responded in a angry voice “You mean they gave me a Chihuahua?”
INTRODUCTION Let’s see if you have been paying attention!
We began learning from Psalm 50 that God owns everything – even everything in our “wallet”, I.e., our finances and everything we possess.
Last week took us to the next step: While God as it were treasures His ownership, He delegates the care – or “charge” or “stewardship” of what He owns to…us! We looked at stewardship in action through the life of that OT saint, Joseph.
This week tells how God directs us to bring glory to Him through what He has provided for each of us. Oh, the title? Several years ago, I heard of a man who was invited to church. He said, “no way! My grandma went to that church, and all they did was bilk her of her hard earned life savings. She gave to everything – whenever there was a need. I don’t want to go to a church that takes everything that’s in my wallet.” Perhaps his grandmother was a very godly lady, and the grandson didn’t know that she gave her monies, first not to the church, but to the Lord. How can we do that? PRAYER
A. WHEN “GIVING” IS MORE THAN GIVING “MONEY”! (Ex. 35)
Just a quick word on authorship. Who wrote Exodus? Peter says (2 Pet. 1:21) that “holy men of God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. That certainly would include Moses. Tradition says that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. And even Ezra (6:18) refers to the “Book of Moses” – implying that the first 5 books are counted as one book in the teachings of Israel (which they are!). No charge for that “quick word!”
Before the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord had instructed them to get from their neighbors all the silver, gold, and clothing that they could get (Exodus 12:35). Perhaps that didn’t make much sense at the time. But now it will. All those gifts that the Egyptians gladly gave were now amazingly recycled into what would become the Tabernacle, its furnishings, and unique parts! But how? Through…offerings!
What were the Scriptural guidelines for the offerings for the first Tabernacle?
1. The spiritual community withdrew from its leadership (v. 20). What does that mean? It means that what they gave was between them and God alone. Moses was not the Boss nor Dictator of their giving. In fact, look at verse 5. They were to give as unto the Lord, not unto man! Their giving would be deliberate, purposeful, and well thought out. The application for the church? Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” We give in submission to Christ’s Lordship on display in our lives.
2. In a similar way, the people gave willingly. Again, compare v. 21 with v. 5. There were those who gave gold, silver, and bronze. But others who gave items of far lesser value were not criticized for not bringing more expensive items. The giving was for the BIG picture – the glory of God on display through the tabernacle. And note (v. 21) their offering wasn’t to Moses or to the Tabernacle. No, it was to the Lord! That was their underlying principle. The application for us? The classic NT passage is 2 Cor. 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” So, if someone asks you, “do you tithe – give 10% of all you have?”, your answer should be…? NO, God owns 100%. So I give willingly, for God loves a cheerful giver. If someone asks you, “do you give a certain percentage of your entire income, your answer should be…? NO, God owns 100%. So I give willingly, for God loves a cheerful giver. If someone asks you, aren’t there those in your church who every Sunday put LOTS of money in the coffers and you don’t, don’t you feel bad? And your answer should be…? NO, God owns 100%. So I give willingly, for God loves a cheerful giver. Ok, I get it, I get it!
3. Their offering was presented as a “wave offering” to the Lord” (v. 22). What did they do, wave their offering into the air and say to God, “look at what I gave, Lord!”? As a matter of fact, yes! A “wave offering” was a special presentation. Unlike other offerings which were killed or burned, the wave offering was presented to God as indicating that the giver recognizes God’s ownership and right to that offering. It was as if they were saying, God, You own 100%. So I give willingly, for You love a cheerful giver. The application should be simple – is that how we give? Do we give as a recognition that this is a presentation all to God alone?
4. God raises up spiritual leadership to do wisely with what He has encouraged people to give willingly (look at vs. 25 and 29). The ladies were Scripturally identified – their heart’s devotion is forever recorded – that they were skilled women (v. 25) and willing women to serve (v. 26). And in turn, the Lord used a godly leader like Moses (v. 29) to be the instrument to give the instructions for God’s work. The NT application? When was the last time you read Ephesians 4:11-12? “And He Himself [God!] gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” This afternoon we are going to vote on our new Board and officers. Before they are voted upon, they will each have been recognized – BY OTHERS – as one who is gifted to serve the Lord in the capacity which has to be filled. They are not being called upon because “they’ve always done that job”, or, “IF we put him or her in that job, maybe they’ll become faithful to coming to church”. No, they were recognized as already being gifted and faithful. And then they will have been asked if they are willing to serve. For if they are not willing to serve, their service will not only be a burden to them, but also they will be a continuous burden to the church and to the community we are trying to reach. God raises up spiritual leadership through us humans. Isn’t that amazing?
Thus giving is certainly more than giving money!
B. Look at these other offerings in Scripture!
The NIV shows at least 728 “offerings” in the Bible. Listen to these offerings:
1 Pet. 2:4-5 “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
A spiritual sacrifice is one not done for man’s recognition but for God’s view alone!
2 Tim. 4:5-7 “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
A “drink offering” is literally like the pouring of water on the ground. It would be considered a waste – except it is not to man but to God!
Phil. 4:18 “I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”
Again, man may think that such a life is a waste. But God sees such a life as sweet smelling – a blessing to Him!
Eph. 5:1-2 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
As Jesus’ offering of Himself smelled wonderful to His Father, so should our walk in love before Him!
Acts 10:3-4 “One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
The world may not remember what we have done for Jesus while on this earth during the time of sojourning which God has given us, but He will remember. Even our prayers are remembered by Him – as an offering. It costs nothing but time to pray!
There is one other offering in Scripture. Financially it may cost something, but perhaps not. But it is the most expensive gift you or I could give.
Do you remember these words in Romans 12:1-2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
What’s in your wallet? Well, maybe the church won’t take it all. But the good Lord wants us to give all of ourselves to Him! HE wants all of me. He wants me to die to self and to daily be a living sacrifice for His glory. And every day I will be proving – be putting to the test – God’s will for my life, which will is always good, acceptable, and perfect.
What’s in your wallet? Are you sold out to Jesus?
close in prayer