Morning Bible Study
Financial Report – Steve Silagi
We are now on the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus is now in Jerusalem, on His way to be crucified.
Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:
(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son
of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on a Sunday, to the shouts of an adoring
crowd, crying “Hosanna”.
The next morning, on Monday, Jesus came into the Temple and cleared out
those who were ripping the people off.
Some of those who were taking advantage of the people were the money
They would take the secular Roman money people wanted to donate to the
Temple, and exchange it for acceptable silver Temple shekels. They charged
exorbitant rates to exchange the money.
He then began to teach in the Temple, as He would every day until He would
As He’s been teaching, He’s been talking about money.
He told the Herodians to pay their taxes.
He rebuked the Pharisees for their greed in taking advantage of the poor,
20:47 NKJV) who devour widows’ houses…
21:1-4 Widow’s Mites
:1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,
:1 putting their gifts into the treasury
The treasury was where people gave their money at the Temple.
It was located in the Court of Women, open to all Jews, men and women.
This also happens to be where Jesus taught, when He taught at the Temple.
At the “treasury”, there were thirteen chests with trumpet shaped tubes
that funneled the money into the chests.
This might have been what Jesus was referring to when He said,
(Matthew 6:2 NKJV) Therefore,
when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the
hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory
from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
Some have suggested that the Pharisees made a point of dropping one coin
after another to make the most noise and get the most attention when they gave.
:2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
:2 putting in two mites
mites – lepton – a small
On one of the Israel trips, we picked up one mounted in a necklace. (Note: the actual coin does NOT have any gold
around it, or a gold chain!)
A lepton could buy you a bath at the public bathhouse, or maybe a few
slices of bread.
The silver denarius was worth a day’s wages. The lepton was worth 1/128th
of a denarius.
The annual “temple tax” was one half-shekel per year.
The silver half-shekel and silver shekel were the only coins accepted for
the annual “temple tax”. This was money-changer stuff.
A lepton was worth 1/256th of a half-shekel.
Every once in a while someone drops a bunch of coins into the offering at
church, and for those who count the offerings, and then take it to the bank for
deposit, coins sometimes seem more trouble than they’re worth, especially since
the ATMs don’t take coins for deposit.
What this woman was putting in was probably more of a nuisance to those who
collected the money than it was of any actual financial benefit to the Temple.
:3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more
:4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but
she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
:3 this poor widow has put in more than all
I think that the subject of giving money is one of the most difficult
things to talk about in church.
Some of you are already wired to think, “Churches are only out for your
And to be honest, that is the way that some churches
I was watching
a video the other day of two famous televangelists talking about why they
needed their private jets.
Some people don’t like hearing about money because they don’t want anyone
telling them what to do with their money.
My intent this morning is to try and give you a Biblical perspective on the
subject of giving.
On a side note:
Though I am aware of how much is given each week in the offering, I prefer not
to know who gives how much, so please don’t come up to me later and tell me
about your tithing or not tithing. Talk
to God about it.
And as you have heard from our Treasurer’s report this morning, we are
doing very well financially.
I’m not talking about money today because we need money, because
The word “tithe” means a “tenth”. The concept is that a person “tithes”
when they give one tenth of their income away.
1. Before Moses
Some people will say that since we are New Testament believers, and not
under the Law of Moses, that we no longer need to “tithe”.
The concept of “tithing” predates the Law of Moses.
After Abraham rescued his nephew Lot from the marauding kings of the east,
he met a mysterious fellow:
14:18–20 NKJV) —18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was
the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed
be God Most High,
has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek.
2. Jesus approved tithing
Jesus implied that tithing was still important.
NKJV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe
of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters
of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without
leaving the others undone.
Jesus didn’t rebuke the Pharisees for their tithing.
His rebuke was that they were so caught up in their
tithing that they ignored more weightier things like justice, mercy, and faith.
3. God’s property
NKJV) —8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are
cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there
may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of
hosts, “If I will
not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there
will not be room enough to receive it.
This is the only place I know where God challenges you to
put Him to the test.
When you choose not to give a tenth of your income
(whether it’s to this church or wherever), you are actually holding on to money
that God considers to be His.
If you are going to get serious about tithing, it’s best
to learn to give God His 10% first, before you look at all the other things
you’re going to spend your money on.
Video: God’s Pie
It’s not that God is poor and needs your money.
Part of tithing is the process of learning to trust God in
all things, and obey Him.
Some of you are thinking, “I could never afford to tithe”.
You are saying to God that you don’t believe He can take
care of you when you do things His way.
It’s the same principle when it comes to sin in your life.
Initially you thought, “I could never live without doing
this particular sin”. And then you did what God said, and you are still alive.
Trust what God says. Do what God says.
4. Financial difficulties
Some financial difficulties stem from not tithing.
The prophet Haggai’s ministry was after the people had returned from the
Babylonian captivity, but the project to rebuilt the Temple had gotten stalled.
At the same time, the people were going through their own
personal financial troubles.
1:6 NLT) You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not
satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep
warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled
God points out that the people had been more concerned
about their own personal financial issues rather than paying attention to what
God had been prompting them to do.
God was letting them experience frustration to get their
attention and get them back on track.
Tithing is truly a step of faith.
How is it that if I give away 1/10 of my income, my needs
can be met?
My wife and I learned to tithe a long, long time ago, and
we have found that God has taken care of us.
Jesus Style Giving
Though I personally think that tithing is a place to start when it comes to
giving, don’t be quick about patting yourself on the back if you are a tither.
You’ve only just begun to learn what giving is all about.
Remember Jesus said,
(Luke 21:3 NKJV) “Truly I
say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all
In the original Greek, Jesus isn’t saying that she gave
more than any other single person, but that she gave more than all of them
It wasn’t the actual amount that mattered, but the
proportion that she gave.
She didn’t give from what was left over, but she gave all.
This is how Jesus gives.
(2 Corinthians 8:9
NKJV) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was
rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might
The word “grace” is the idea of a freely given “gift”.
Jesus had all the riches of heaven at His disposal, yet He
chose to empty Himself, take on human flesh, and even die an undeserved
criminal’s death to pay for our sins, all so that we could inherit the riches
When we learn to give, we’re learning about the very nature of God.
God is a giver.
3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God loved you so much He gave His Son.
Just a word of caution:
There will be some here who will think that God is now telling them to
empty their bank accounts and give it all away.
On more than one occasion we’ve had folks who
will inform me that they’ve given a substantial gift to the church, only to ask
the church for financial help a few months later.
I personally think those were examples of someone responding emotionally to
this story rather than honestly hearing from God about their giving.
How to give
The Corinthians were a wealthy church, and Paul instructed them to learn
how to give by paying attention to the Macedonians, who were a poor church. Paul
laid out several principles that are helpful.
1. Give yourself to God
Before you can learn to give money properly, you need to get your heart
right with God.
Paul wrote about the Macedonians:
Corinthians 8:5 NKJV) And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves
to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
Don’t think that giving money will make you right before
God. You’ve got it backward.
Get yourself right with God first, and then you can figure
out the giving stuff.
2. Plan ahead
Paul went on to lay out some general principles,
(2 Corinthians 9:7
NKJV) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not
grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
purposes – proeretai - to take by
choice, to choose beforehand.
each one do just as he has chosen before and still desires to do...”
there are going to be times when you need to respond in the moment, for the
most part giving ought to be something you think through ahead of time.
something that you and God have taken time to work through together.
3. No arm-twisting
Paul used the phrase, “not grudgingly or of necessity”
When someone is trying to
manipulate you into giving by telling you that it is absolutely necessary,
there may be a problem.
wrong for a church to share that there is a need – that’s what Paul is doing
with the Corinthians.
when arm-twisting is involved that there’s a problem.
preacher who threatens that God’s work is going to stop unless you give them
person who tells you that you must not be a very good Christian unless you give
Paul wrote that, “God loves a cheerful giver”
cheerful – hilaron (“hilarious”) –
cheerful, joyful, glad
the opposite of grumbling.
sad that in some churches the most somber point of the worship service is when
the plate is passed during the offering?
why I often remind you, “If you don’t want to give, don’t”
heart in the right place so that giving is a joy, not a drag.
When we get our act together with giving, look at what Paul promised the
(2 Corinthians 9:8
NLT) And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always
have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
When you are sensitive to God’s leading in the area of
giving, God will take care of you and allow you to keep giving to others.
God wants us to develop a culture of generosity, not
Or, learn to live within your means.
Here’s another reason people get into financial trouble.
Paul warned about the lust people develop when it comes to their money.
(1 Timothy 6:9–10
NKJV) —9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare,
and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction
and perdition. 10
the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have
strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with
It’s not money that’s the root of all kinds of evil, but
the love of money.
Cultivating a materialistic mindset of wanting the best
stuff and more stuff, will end up giving you a life of grief.
For some people, all they live for is money. Even in the church. And sometimes that causes problems.
A guy from Tyson Foods arranges to visit the Pope. After
receiving the papal blessing he whispers, “Your Eminence, do we have a deal for
you. If you change The Lord’s Prayer from ‘give us this day our daily
bread....’ to ‘give us this day our daily chicken....’ we will donate $500
million dollars to the Church”. The Pope responds saying, “That is impossible.
The Prayer must not be changed”. “Well,” says the Tyson man, “we are prepared
to donate $1billion to the Church if you change the Lord’s Prayer from ‘give us
this day our daily bread....’ to ‘give us this day our daily chicken....” Again
the Pope replies “That is impossible. The Prayer must not be changed”. Finally,
the Tyson guy says, “This is our last offer. We will donate $5 billion to the
church if you change the Lord’s Prayer from give us this day our daily
bread....’ to ‘give us this day our daily chicken....’” and he leaves. Next day
the Pope meets with the College of Cardinals to say that he has good news and
bad news. “The good news is that the Church has come into $5 billion”. “The bad
news is that we are losing The Wonderbread Account”.
The antidote for the “love of money” is to learn to be content in your
current financial condition. Paul wrote,
4:10–13 NKJV) —10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for
me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked
opportunity. 11 Not that I
speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be
content: 12 I know how
to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have
learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all
things through Christ who strengthens me.
It’s when we aren’t content with our circumstances that we
tend to get ourselves in over our head with debt.
It’s not a natural thing to be “content”, it is natural to
Yet we can do it through
Christ who strengthens us.
Practical idea: Add
this to your prayer list – “Finances – provision & stewardship”. As you learn to pray for this every day,
think about what it means and ask God to be teaching you.