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Sermon Illustrations: Giving

An old minister was trying to inspire his unmotivated congregation. He said, "This church must get up and walk." "Amen," a pious looking deacon shouted. "Let her walk." Encouraged by the support, the minister said, "This church must run." "Amen, let her run," said the deacon. "More than that," shouted the preacher, warming to his message, "This church must fly." "Amen," the deacon yelled again. "Let her fly!" The minister was now ready to reveal his plan. "Brethren, it takes money to make a church fly," he said. "Amen" said the deacon. "Let her walk."


A famous philanthropist was once asked, "How are you able to give so much and still have so much?" "Well," the generous man replied, "as I shovel out, He shovels in and the Lord has a bigger shovel than I have."


You can't take it with you. Have you ever seen a hearse with a trailer?


From sales of his books alone, John Wesley gave away 30,000 to 40,000. That was an amazing achievement for a someone who lived in the eighteenth century. When his annual income was 30, he gave 2 to the Lord. The next year, when his salary doubled, he continued to live on 28 and gave the Lord 32. The Lord entrusted him increasing amounts of money, so that in 1787 he was able to tell one of his preachers that he never gave away less than 1000 per year.


I fear, wherever riches have increased (exceeding few are the exceptions), the essence of religion, the mind that was in Christ has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of true religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality; and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches. What way then can we take that our money may not sink us to the nethermost hell? There is one way, and there is no other under heaven. If those who "gain all they can," and "save all they can," will likewise "give all they can," then the more they gain, the more they will grow in grace, and the more treasure they will lay up in heaven. John Wesley


We should give liberally to God of our time. If one lives to be 70 years of age and is the average person, he spends 20 years sleeping; 20 years working; 6 years eating; 7 years playing; 5 years dressing; 1 year on the telephone; 2 years smoking; 2 years in bed; 3 years waiting for somebody; 5 months tying shoelaces; 2 years for other things; (incl. 1 years in church).


Now it came to pass that as the time of vacation drew near, a certain church member bethought of sandy beaches by the lake and his wife thought of the mountain. The member spoke and said, "Lo, the hot days come and my work lieth heavy upon me, let us depart and go where fishes do bite, and where the cool winds bring refreshment and the land is beautiful about us." "Thou speakest words of wisdom," said his wife. "Yet three, nay even four things must we do ere we go!" "Three things think I of, but not a fourth," said the husband. "That we ask our neighbour to minister unto our flowers, that we arrange for our grass to be mowed and watered, and that we have our mail forwarded. But no other thing cometh to mind." "The fourth is like unto the other three, but greater than all," said his spouse. "Even this, that thou dip into thy purse and fill thy Church envelopes as thou hast committed thyself, that the good name of the Church may be preserved, that the heart of the Treasurer may be made glad, and that it may be well with thee. For verily I say unto thee, thou hast more money now than thou wilt have when thou dost return from thy vacation!" And the husband replied, "Verily, thou art noble and wise among women." And he did attend unto his envelopes ere he sojourned in the country. And the Treasurer rejoiced saying, "Of a truth, there are those who indeed care for the good of the Church!" And it was so. Anonymous


Andrew Carnegie: The steel baron gave away $350 million, declaring in his 1889 "Gospel of Wealth" that "the man who dies rich dies disgraced." Time Magazine November 5, 2001, p85


A man called in at the church office and asked if he could speak to the Head Hog at the Trough. The secretary asked, "Who?" The man replied, "I want to speak to the Head Hog at the Trough!" Now that she was certain she had heard him correctly, the secretary said, "I'm sorry sir, but if you mean our pastor, you will have to refer to him with more respect and ask for the pastor or even the minister. But you certainly can't refer to him as the Head Hog at the Trough!" On hearing this, the man said, "Oh, I'm sorry. But I have ten thousand dollars and I was thinking about donating it to the building fund." "Just one moment," said the secretary. "I think the Big Pig just walked in the door."


A very wealthy man was asked to make a donation to the church building fund. The case was made very compellingly, the situation explained, and an appeal was made for his assistance. The man listened to the appeal and said, "Look, I completely understand why you think I can give a hundred thousand dollars to the building fund. I have my own business and, as you've probably noticed, I have all the signs of wealth. But there are some important factors you aren't aware of. For instance, did you know that my mother is in an expensive nursing home?" "Well, no, we didn't know that," replied the churchmen. "Also, did you know that my brother died, and left behind a family of five, and that he had absolutely no insurance?" "No, we didn't know that either." "And did you know that my son is a deeply committed Christian, is working with the poor, and earns less than the national poverty level to support his family?" "No, we didn't." "Well, then, if I don't give any of them a cent, what makes you think I'd give anything to you?"


A pastor was counselling an old woman who told him that she could not afford to tithe. As the tears ran down her face, he felt a genuine compassion for her, so he said, "Look, I think it would be okay if you didn't tithe. If you don't have the money, you don't have the money." "Thank you, pastor," she said smiling for the first time. "You've taken a load off my mind." On the way home in his car, the pastor heard a voice. "So when did they hold the election?" The pastor looked around, but there was no one there. "Is that you, Lord?" "Yes it's Me. When did they hold the election?" "What do You mean, Lord?" "I mean when did they vote you in as God? I didn't say it was okay for that lady not to tithe."


When you give to God, He never spends a cent on Himself.


Ever noticed that your cereal comes in a great big box, but when you open it, and you puncture the bag, all you can hear is phhh? That's the sound of a half empty packet. But when God gives, He gives pressed down shaken together, and running out all over. James deMelo


A pastor didn't ever teach about tithing. One day, God spoke to him and said, "You're a thief." The pastor was shocked. "Why?" he asked. "You steal from My people the opportunity to test Me and for Me to bless them."


There are some people who say, "I can only afford to give a little. When God gives me more money, then I'll be more generous." But it doesn't work that way. What would you think of a farmer who said, "I'm not going to plant any corn seeds this year. When God gives me some corn, then I'll plant some seeds." Giving is sowing seeds and you'll reap a harvest later.


There are three kinds of givers in the world. Squirrels - they don't really want to give anything. They just want to hide it all away, because who knows, they might need it later. Lawyers - they're always looking for loopholes: "Do I have to tithe on my inheritance? My poor old mother already tithed on that. And what if I find $50? Do I have to tithe on that?" Lawyers are always looking for a way out. Essentially, there's no real difference between a squirrel and a lawyer. They'll give if they have to. But neither of them wants to give. They won't do anything more than they have to. Then there's the third kind of giver - fountains. They're not looking for a way out. They're looking for ways and reasons to give and keep on giving.


The Warrens [Pastor Rick Warren and his wife], who have three grown children, live comfortably but relatively modestly in a $360,000 tract home they bought two years ago, and the reverend drives a Ford SUV. In 2003, with royalties from the Purpose-Driven product line pouring in, Warren stopped taking his $100,000 annual salary from Saddleback and refunded all the money the church had paid him over the years. He says he keeps only 10% of the book royalties and gives the rest away to Saddleback and the charitable foundation he and Kay established to supplement the church's mission projects, which include fighting poverty, illiteracy and disease - especially AIDS - in the U.S. and around the world. Sonja Steptoe, Time magazine, 29th March, 2004 p54


A successful businessman gave his taxi driver a miserly tip. The driver complained, "Yesterday, I gave your son a ride in my cab and he gave me ten times as much as much as that!" "My son has a rich father," the businessman replied. "I don't!"


Giving makes you a business partner. You share in the ministry of the pastor.


Three pastors were talking about how they get paid. One said, "I draw a circle on the floor. Then I throw the offering money up in the air. And whatever is inside the circle I keep, and whatever is outside is God's." "I draw a circle on the floor too," said the second. "Then I throw the offering money up in the air. And whatever is outside the circle I keep, and whatever is inside is God's." The third pastor said, "I draw a circle on the floor too. Then I throw the offering money up in the air. And whatever He wants He keeps."


For those who say, "The church is only after your money": You think McDonalds isn't after your money?


Notice in a church newsletter: "Please note: When you give cash amounts in your offering, realise that the bank will not accept foreign coins, washers or buttons. Thank you."


You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. John Wooden


It was coming up to Christmas and so a barber whose business was booming decided that for the next two weeks he'd give the first customer of each day a free haircut. On the first day, the first customer was a baker. Next morning, he presented the barber with a dozen donuts. On the second day, a florist received a free haircut, and thanked him by placing a dozen roses on his counter. On the third day, it was a preacher. Guess what? The following morning there were a dozen more preachers all waiting for free haircuts!


A man was lost in the desert, and dying of thirst, when suddenly, he stumbled upon an old shack. Right next to it was a rusty old water pump. He crawled over to it, grabbed the handle, and started pumping up and down. But there was no water. Then he noticed a jug of water with a note saying, "My friend, don't drink this water. You must first prime the pump with the water in the jug. P.S. And don't forget to fill the jug again before you leave." The man was uncertain what to do. He was so thirsty, and if he drank the water he might survive for at least a little longer. But if he poured it into the pump, what if nothing happened? On the other hand, it might give him all the water he needed later. He considered his position. Should he take a risk and pour the water into the pump, or drink what was in the jug and ignore its message? Hesitantly, he poured all the water into the pump. Then he grasped the handle and started pumping. Nothing happened! He tried again. Finally, a little dribble of water spurted out, then a thin flow, and then it began to pour out of the pump! He excitedly filled the jug and drank the life-giving water. After he had finished drinking, he filled the jug for the next traveller, and added this little note: "Trust me, this actually works." [Luke 6:38]


On his deathbed, a wealthy, miserly old man called for his wife. "I don't want to leave my money behind. I want to take it all with me," he told her. "So promise me you'll put it in the coffin when I die, every last cent." She promised she would. After the man died, his widow went to the memorial service with a friend. Just as the undertaker was about to close the casket, she put a shoebox inside. Her friend was horrified. She said, "Tell me you didn't put the money in there." "Well, I promised him I would," replied the widow. "So I got it all together, deposited it in my account, and wrote him a cheque. It's in the box, so if he can cash it, he can spend it."


Research also bears out that when pastors preached a series of messages about giving, they were nearly two and a half times more likely to experience an increase in giving than when preachers speak about giving one sermon at a time or on non-consecutive occasions during the year. Ministry Advantage, Module 6, p 39