My father started his sermon on money with the preface, "This sermon today is not about asking you for money, it's not about tithing, it's not about offering."
He talked about how Jesus spoke 5 times more on the subject of money than he did on heaven and hell combined. He also said that there are two very wrong doctrines when it comes to money, the first being the doctrine of poverty (Christians shouldn't have any wealth) and the second being the doctrine of prosperity, (If you please God you'll be made wealthy if you displease God you'll be cursed with poverty).
But none of that made my jaw drop. What made my jaw drop to the floor was when he told everyone about a cousin of mine who was in the hospital. He said since there would be family coming in to town he'd need $50 to take them out to lunch today, and he stood up there and asked if anyone in the church wanted to give him $50.
Now I'm not sure about your church, but when a preacher says, "I'm not going to ask you for money today." no one expects the preacher to just out and ask for $50. Holy Cow!! What was he thinking? I think everyone else's jaw dropped too because my father, the pastor, has never just out and asked for $50 standing up in front of the entire congregation. It was just plain brazen.
And then do you know what happened? Someone stood up and said, "Here Pastor I have $50" and everyone's jaw dropped again, including the wife of the man who just stood up.
I didn't know what to think, I was a little bit incredulous at my Dad, but thought wow, Todd (the man with the $50) is a really good guy.
Everyone else in the church shifted awkwardly as the sermon continued and then my dad looked the congregation square in the face and said:
"Do you know why Todd gave me the $50?"
My thought was, because you asked, because he's a good guy, because he wants to help his pastor, but none of those things were the answer. The answer was this:
"Because it wasn't his money, I gave him the $50 before church started so he would give it back to me now."
Reality dawned on everyone, our Pastor isn't that brazen and it drove an important point home:
When God asks us for our money, he's not really asking for our money he's asking for His.
I'll tell you what, that illustration will probably stick with me for a long time and it proved the point perfectly.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Will you learn along with me? Let's encourage one another.