By: Pastor Doc Shell
as edited by www.focusOnJesus.net
" I want to share something that is dear to my heart. I speak from a pastors perspective, June and I have been pastoring now for 35 years. I'm 62 years old. I'm not a novice at this, you know.
When you get your finances in order, there's so much other of life that just kind of flows in peace. When your finances are out of order, there's so many other parts of your life that just won't work right .
I've come to see , over the years, that when men and women get some parts
of their lives fixed, other parts just get fixed by themselves.
So, I want to share something with you that I've shared with our church members.
The title of this message is "A Sacred Thing".
Leviticus Chapter 27 verse 30 - "And all the tithe of the land, whether
of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lords." Now
watch this one little phrase. He said all of this tithe of the land, whether
it's seed, or the fruit of the tree, it is the Lords , and here's the phrase
that I want you to pick up on , vs 30 "It is holy to the Lord." The word
"holy" there is the word "sacred". It is a sacred thing to the Lord.
Now let's put it in that context. God said, "The tithe of the land,
whether it's of the land or the seed from the fruit of the tree, it is a
sacred thing to the Lord. Another translation says " A tenth....is the Lord's, and is Holy" Lev 27:30TLB
I did a lot of study in Hebrew, trying to see what God meant when he
used the word "tithe". We know that it means a tenth, we don't have a problem with that. But in this research, I found that the word tithe not only means ten, it also means to be rich. That means when you tithe, you're rich. And when you don't, it doesn't matter how much money you have, you're not rich, because you're taking a sacred thing and using it without God's permission. Now here's what I found in Genesis 14:20. Tithing started before God gave the law to Moses.
You can turn there, and find that Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek before there was ever a law. Abraham recognized that Melchizedek was representing God, felt a responsibility to give to Melchizedek, and did so before there was any such law.
Tithing is also found in the New Testament in Hebrews Chapter 7, verses 4 - 10. and Matthew 23:23
You can't say "Well, thats just the Old Testament." It's in the
Old Testament, all right, but it's not only in the Old Testament law. Old Testament truths are guidelines given by God. The whole idea of tithing is a minimum, and that minimum belongs to God. Tithing is the lowest level of giving.
In Matthew 23:23 Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees, "all this" , referring to tithing, " you should have done". And about faith and love, he said you should have done those as well. You don't do some without the others, together they bring a balance. Paul said in 1Corinthians 16:2, "On the first day of the week, bring as God has prospered you." Bring an offering to the Lord.
In 2Corinthians 9: 6-7 he said you can judge how much harvest you can expect. If you want 10 acres of corn, you plant 10 acres of corn. You can't plant an acre of corn and believe God for 10 acres. You know that the seed determines the harvest. A bigger harvest requires planting more seed. I mean, its as simple as that. If I don't like my harvest; I'll just change what, or how much, I'm planting.
If you plant wrong attitudes , you get wrong results. If you plant to the flesh, you get flesh. It doesn't matter what you plant, its coming up according to what and how much you plant. Sometimes I'd like to say, "God, would you cause a crop
failure in that persons life. Oh, Lord, don't let that seed come up", because I see the sowing of bad seed ."
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. So if you want to change the harvest, you have to change the seed, because the seed is what produces the harvest. Now God's telling us about this holy thing, called the tithe, and here's what I found in the Bible.
If I put my hands on a sacred thing without His permission, then I am then violating the law of God. It's a holy thing, it's a sacred thing. When God said "It's holy and sacred", don't put your hands on it. It doesn't belong to you. Some folks say 'well I don't know what they ( the church) do with my tithe'. It doesn't matter what they do with it, it's not your tithe, it belongs to God. I mean it's not your tithe. Remember, it belongs to the Lord. Some say "I'm giving my tithe", it's not your tithe, you're giving His tithe. You may say "Well, I work for it." Well, guess who enabled you to work. You understand what I'm saying...... God gave us the energy, and the abilities , whatever they are, to produce.
Money is just a thing of exchange. I mean you know, we can't eat money, and if you're lonely, it doesn't help you . Come on now. Its just a thing of exchange. When you want to get married, you can't marry it. It can't have children. Can I tell you that it's not worth anything? It's just a thing of exchange.
But money represents you. You see, when you work for it, you invest your life (your time and effort), to get it. How you earn it, and how you use it, indicate your priorities to everyone, including God. And so, when you take ten percent of your money, you take ten percent of your life, and cut that out of your life, you're agreeing ' that is a holy thing and I dont have a right to put my hands on it'. Certainly , 10% of your life is not too much to set aside for God...the God who gave that life to you.
"Well, I need that money" you say. It doesn't matter if you do need it, it's not yours. God expects it to be His .
Now listen to me, how many of you know if I gave you $10.00 to keep for me and you spent it, you're a thief. When I say, "Where's my $10.00?" you say "Well, I don't know brother, I'm sorry, but I spent it. I just felt like I needed it and I spent it." Well, folks go to jail for that. If the tithe is the Lord's and I'm spending it, guess what I'm doing; I'm spending somebody elses money. This is hard, but y'all hang on, y'all can take it.
I mean we have some folks driving stolen cars and living in stolen houses because
they bought them with somebody elses money. I mean, God's money .
It's the truth, just the truth. Isn't that right? It's not my money. If it's not my money, I can't spend it. It doesn't matter if I do need it, it's not mine.
What happens is the devil puts fear and doubt in the hearts of men. The devil tries to make you doubt that it really is God's. To Eve he said " Did God really say that ? " You say, 'well preacher I just can't afford to tithe'. Well, you can't afford not to. You just can't afford not to. What if you're wrong and it is God's ???
God will take care of folks that are willing to take His stuff and be good stewards. Let me show you this in scripture. Would you go over to Luke Chapter 12?
In the 12th chapter of Luke's Gospel, "If a man is now in charge of another man's substance, he becomes a steward or manager of that man's substance." So the truth of the matter, all of your life belongs to the Lord. But more specifically,the sacred thing is the tithe , and it belongs to the Lord. So, my relationship to the tithe is that I am a steward or manager over that which belongs to another. And so are you .
When you go to Wal-Mart you see on the wall it says "manager" with a name and picture. That means somebody in that store is in charge of somebody else's stuff. What would happen if that manager just decided one Monday morning that he wasn't going to open, and just started hauling off the stuff? Well, it wouldn't take Sam Walton long to show up in his green pick-up, if he were living, and put a stop to that. Why? It's not the manager's stuff. You see he's managing Wal-Mart, he doesn't own Wal-Mart.
In the 12th chapter of Luke, verse 35, it's about the evil servant. I found God's judgment came upon the one set in charge of God's business. And the Greek word there is the word "servant". It means manager or steward and God said "I'm bringing judgment to this one because he didn't handle my affairs correctly. I mean this was mine, I left you in charge and you blew it."
Well, let me show it to you again. In the 16th chapter of the same book, is the parable of the unjust steward. He said to his disciples, "He who is faithful in a little, is faithful also in much. And he who is unfaithful in a little, is unfaithful also in much."
If I give you $1000 this week and $100 belongs to God, it's a sacred thing, and if you don't take care of that as a manager or as a steward, what makes you think that God will trust you with something eternal? He won't.
And it goes on, God's judgment against the one's in charge of His money. 1 Corinthians, Chapter 4 - verse 2 says, "Moreover it is required"...that word required kind of burns in my spirit..."of stewards"...that's the same word we've been using ...or manager, ....it is required "that they have been found faithful."
Now how many of you know that when God says required, it is not a
suggestion. They're not the 10 suggestions. Theyre call Commandments. So God wants you to get hold of something that will set you free. I am totally convinced that when church members begin to understand their relationship with the money that God has put in their hands, revival is going to break out. I can tell you it really will. The move of God is coming.
So let me go through some of what I call 'principles from God's heart'
about a sacred thing. All of this has been kind of an introduction , so
let's get into some of God's principles , relating to what He calls something that is holy or something that is sacred. Here's the first one:
Until I tithe, I'm in control. Until I tithe, I am saying about all of this money, "I did it." But God says that when you tithe, it is an acknowledgement that everything belongs to the Lord. Listen to this, Psalm 50 verse 10 - "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills". Isn't that awesome? God said, hey its not yours, its Mine. I like what the Bible says, "Where were you when I put all of this together?" Well, I wasn't around Lord. 'Thats right, you weren't around, so whats the big deal here? I mean who's the big one? You're just the steward. I gave it to you; I can take it from you.'
Psalm 50:12 says 'for all the world is mine in all its fullness'. I mean maybe you dont understand, everything we have is His. And He said 'I want you to take a tithe out of what I give you and call it a sacred thing, and the thing I want you to do, I want you to be responsible stewards over that tithe to be sure it gets to the right place'. Your tithe doesn't belong to your sick uncle. It belongs in God's storehouse, to spread the Good News to others ! You may say 'Well, I can't trust the folks at my church.' Well, then change churches. I wouldn't go to a church that I couldn't trust the leadership, I'd go somewhere else. Thats my suggestion. Then you can hear other folks saying I don't trust the leadership in that church. The issue here isn't trusting someone; the issue is you love that stinking stuff so much that you're going to keep it. What if you said to God "Give me ten and I'll give you one back." You know there was a man who did that, and I'm sure a lot more than just one. But this particular man I'm thinking of said "Lord, if you'll bless this business, I'll give you ten percent. I'll give you a tithe from everything that comes from it, and he did. By the time he died, he was giving God 90 percent and keeping 10, because God was giving him so much . His name was J.C. Penney.
A few weeks ago we were having lunch at the church, and this couple was telling me of their son, when he had a paper route. They said their son said 'I'm going to tithe everything I make on the paper route. I'm going to begin to tithe.' It probably wasn't over a dollar, two. It isn't how much. And here's what she said to me, when that young man was around 30, he was a millionaire. You know what the key to it was, when he started a paper route he said, "It's holy unto God." I'm going to give the tithe". A young boy was faithful, and God made him a millionaire. He's in seminary now. Wealthy. Never has to work another day in his life, called to preach, going around the world now with the gospel. And he's paying his way as he goes. Started with a paper route.
You see, tithing says " everything belongs to the Lord" That's the first principle.
For instance, suppose I had 100 million dollars, and I said, " I'm going to give you 50 million dollars and I'm going to be on a trip and I'll be back in five years." Do you realize that you have a responsibility now that you didn't have before I gave you that 50 million dollars?
One old boy said to Peter Marshall I believe it was, "I didn't have any problems tithing, preacher, when I was making 50 thousand dollars a year, I mean there was no problem, I was making 50 thousand dollars. But now that I'm making half a million dollars , I'm having a real problem tithing. Dr. Marshall said "I see you're having a real problem, but let's pray about it." They bowed their heads and he said, "Lord, this man has a problem with his tithing. He didn't have a problem tithing on his $50,000 but now he's making $500,000 a year, he finds it hard to tithe. Lord, will you reduce his salary back down to $50,000 so he can tithe." The guy stopped him and said that's not what I meant. Now how many of you know that God can do that. He has a ways and means committee. If you can't tithe on $400, can you tithe on $300? He can drop it down. Can you tithe on 200? You see, when God gives you responsibility, it brings a relationship level that wasn't there before. If you tithe the paper route, you can tithe when you own the paper company. Its a relational responsibility. Luke 16, I just gave it to you a minute ago. God said," can I trust you with money? " Sure God, you can trust me. "Well good, now I can give you more ." But He starts when we realize it's a holy, sacred thing. So tithing brings a believer to a relational level of responsibility as a manager or steward over what belongs to somebody else. If God can trust you with money, He can trust you with Eternal matters.
Now I didn't say that. That's God's idea. God said the tithe is a sacred thing. Leviticus27:30. Now let me share some things with you. In the 13th chapter of Matthew, start with verse 53, the Bible talks about Jesus at Nazareth. Remember the problem It says ' he couldn't do many, mighty miracles there' because of what? Unbelief. . Do you know why they were in unbelief? They didn't understand what was sacred. Do you know what Jesus was to them... Josephs son? To them, Jesus was ordinary, and because they looked at Jesus as ordinary, they were flooded with unbelief. They could not discern what was holy among them. Unbelief in the church is running rampant. I believe it is connected to the lack of not understanding what is a sacred thing unto the Lord.
Now let me ask you this, what would happen to the church in America if every Christian who claims to be tithing, would start treating their tithes as a sacred thing? What would happen to the church in America if every Christian started to tithe? I can tell you. We would annihilate welfare. Folks would line up at the church to get help, not at some office downtown. And what an opportunity for the Gospel. Missionaries wouldn't be calling to say "My son's hungry, please send me some food." Some 20 percent of Christians in typical churches are tithers. I mean, I've pastored churches for years that in this message right now people would get up and walk out while I preached. In the first church that June and I pastored, I had a man that was rich, the wealthiest man there - had more money than he could spend in his lifetime - he came up to me and said "I gave $5.00 a week before you got here and I'm not going to give any more." Now I bet you he's changed his mind by now. He's dead. I kind of think when he got to heaven, God said "Did you bring your $5.00 with you?" He didn't understand what was holy and unholy. He was just tight-fisted and stingy. Thats what he was. He loved money. That's not giving to God. A church that understands that the tithe is a holy, sacred thing will prosper and grow. We don't teach our children the difference between what is God's and what is ours. We have to come to understand, that I'm not giving my tithe, it is not my tithe, it's HIS tithe and I'm responsible to God to see that it gets to the right place. We have people at Christ Chapel, if they miss church on Sunday, they send it in on Monday. I can say to the secretary, "What was the offering?" and she can tell me, but by the middle of the week it's gone up three or four thousand dollars. Well, where did it come from? Came in the mail, ...from faithfull servants of God.
Everybody should hear this message at least once a year just to be reminded . We need to remember what is a sacred thing to God, and teach others.
When they give me my paycheck, I already know God said ' you are responsible to me for what you do with 10 percent of it ', God said "That's the tithe, you bring it and I'll bless you." Mal 3:10 " Bring all the tithes....if you do, ...I will bless you so great you will not have enough room to take it all. Try it ! Let me prove it to you " TLB
Deuteronomy 26:16. God said, "When you do what I tell you to do, do it with all your heart and soul." Put your heart into it. When June and I were in a seminar, one of the key leaders told a story about when he was a pastor at a large church. He said they were having a building fund-raiser program and one old rich dude came up and looked at him and said "How much do I have to give." He said "I looked him right in the eye and said 'Not a dime'." Listen, God doesn't need your money. Can I tell you something, God doesn't need your money. This isn't about God needing your money or my money. I mean if you have to think about this, would you just think about where He lives, and tell me He needs my little tithe. This tithe isn't about God needing my money, . it's about my relationship to Him. Its about involving me in the dynamics of a great Kingdom in the earth where there will be no decrease, always an increase in the Kingdom. Thats what this is all about. Its not about God needing my money. I mean He could throw down a chunk of gold anytime. And to think that God's concerned about my ten percent. God said "Listen, I want to see if I can trust you. I want you to take what is sacred and see what you do with it, so I can give you something bigger and better ." That's what its all about.
Tithing involves your whole heart...your attitude and motive.
Second Corinthians 9:7 says God loves a cheerful giver.
I want to tell you a true story.
It was a number of years ago at our annual mission conference. Wednesday night was our faith pledge night when we invited people to honor God beyond their tithe and offering, just to support missions for the next twelve month. I was just starting to talk about faith in pledging, and down the middle aisle of the church walked a young man , and he had a hunting rifle in his hand. And I want you to know, had I not known him I probably would have called for a deacon or an elder. But he was walking down the aisle and he was crying. He came over and laid that hunting rifle on the altar, walked over to me and said "I haven't slept all night because the preacher talked about the 'treasures of your heart'. This gun has been a treasure to my heart and tonight I just want to lay it down and give it to the Lord. Let it be sold and the money go into missions or wherever you want to use it", and he just walked back to his seat. Well, I was dumbfounded. By the time he got back to his seat, another young man was walking down the aisle. I could hear him just kind of muttering, but I heard this - he said - " I've always wanted a gun like that, and I've got some money in savings,".. he got down there and said " I think I've got $400 in savings and I want to buy this gun, would you just put the $400 in missions? " I looked at him and said okay. He picked the gun up and looked at it and held it, I could tell he liked it. Then he turned and walked over to where the first young man was sitting, laid it in his lap, and turned and walked away.
When he laid it in his lap, God showed out. I don't mean we had a good service, do you understand what I'm saying? God showed Himself, ..... for the next four hours !!!!!!
Another young man that was a missionary to Guatemala, had gone to Pennsylvania and worked all summer to get himself a pick-up truck to use in the ministry in Guatemala. He saved every penny he could save, bought his pick-up, was now driving it back to Guatemala, and he came to the conference. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw him coming, weeping, with the keys to his pick-up in his hand. And he came and laid them on the altar and said, "These belong to the Lord tonight, not for our mission ministry but for the mission ministry of Christ Chapel and laid his truck keys down. That went on for four hours. Im 62 years old and have been in the ministry 35 years, and that is one of the five services in my life that will stand out until I get to Heaven. It all had to do with one little simple principle, people started to give and God decided to come and kiss the earth again. During that four hour period, eight or nine automobiles were given away, computers, watches, money, thousands of dollars we figured that night some $125,000 changed hands. We don't know, there's no way to gauge it. But that's what happens when you break through in the area of giving because that's the heart of God. For God so loved the world he gave. And thats the heart of God. And see the sacred thing is the heart of God. God said, "I gave you everything, take the ten percent and cause it to be sacred, and give it with a cheerful, right kind of attitude.
It's an invitation for God to be involved in your finances. . In Malachi 3 they were needing a revival. In Malachi 3, God says here's how you can have one. "Bring your tithes and offerings and I will cause revival to come." They needed revival and He said "you have robbed from Me, but if you will bring your tithes and offerings, "and I'm paraphrasing, " revival will break out again." How many of you know there's a connection here folks. Tithing is God's way of bringing a move of God in the Earth. I am convinced that the church wants revival. He said bring your tithes and offerings to the storehouse. And He said "when you bring your tithes and offerings, I'm going to release myself in the Earth". Now what would happen if the church and America started to do that, what would we have in America? Revival...a return to faith and faithfullness in God. I can tell you what we would have, if every Christian in America got on their knees and said "Father, forgive me for stealing from You, I didn't realize it was a sacred thing" and say "I will obey You, I will become a tither." I can tell you there would be a Holy Ghost move in this nation. would call the shots. could vote in who we wanted, we could vote who we wanted. .
It gets God involved in your finances. Luke 6:38 - "Give and it shall be given unto you". I didt say that, God said it, just like He said in Malachi 3.
The Lord has you told you to bring the tithes and offerings and .
He said "Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together, running over."
God is such a good God isn't he? Praise the Lord. So the Lord asks you this question -
(c) 2003 www.focusOnJesus.net
edited from a sermon by Pastor Doc Shell