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A Matter of the Heart

By on November 18, 2018

Series: Extravagant Generosity
Today: A Matter of the Heart
Rev. Laura Brewster

Introduction
One-sixth of the gospels, including one out of every three parables, touch on money matters. Jesus dealt with money matters because money matters.

We Give to Fund God’s Work
Money matters because it is an instrument God uses to do his work. The gifts you give to God through the church allow the church to operate a place of worship; fund ministries such as youth ministry and Stephen ministry; fund outreach efforts such as the Living Nativity and hurricane relief work; and support ministries as diverse as Community First Village, Africa University and global missionaries. Without your contributions, fewer people would be fed, housed, and blessed in the name of Jesus. Again, we are called to be generous toward God because that is one way God gets his work done.

We Give to Stay in Love With God
We are also encouraged to give generously to God because giving helps us prioritize God and stay in love with God. It’s actually a matter of the heart. One day Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mathew 22:36-40) As we have already suggested, through our giving we care for and show love to our neighbors. But our giving also helps us respond to the first great commandment – loving God. How? Every gift we give to God reinforces that God is valuable to us and worthy of our gifts and devotion.

How Much Should I Give to God?
Jesus does not ask every disciple to divest himself / herself of all wealth and possessions. However, scripture does ask us to give to God and to give generously. From the earliest days of the Old Testament, there have been instructions for God’s people to give generously toward God. According to the book of Leviticus, God asked his people to return to him one-tenth of all the flocks and fruits they gained every year. In other words, they were to give God one-tenth of their income. (Lev. 27:30-33) These gifts were to be used to help support the temple and those who worked there. In addition, every three years, God’s people were also supposed to bring a separate tithe to the temple; that second tithe was to be set aside to help the needy (Deut. 14:28).

Christians and Tithing
As Christians who live under the new covenant, you could contend that we are not bound by the ancient Mosaic laws that regarding tithing. However, it is a powerful spiritual practice. The practice of giving a full ten percent of our income reminds us of how significant God is in our lives. This helps us maintain a focus on God and a relationship with God. Again, what we give and how we give is a matter of the heart.

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Contemporary Worship 9:00am - Sunday Study Groups 10:10am - Traditional Worship 11:00am

7050 Village Center Drive, Austin, TX 78731 512.345.1743 info@NWHillsUMC.org