I enjoyed so much the opportunity to bring the message for Homecoming at the Pine Hill Baptist Church in Hephzibah where Robert Driggers is the pastor. I love preaching in our churches and often it is on a special event like Homecoming or a significant anniversary.
There are many reasons I enjoy the experience. One is that often a good old Southern style covered dish luncheon is planned following the morning worship service. Certainly, Pine Hill was no exception. It was clear that the good members at Pine Hill know their way around the kitchen. We had a fabulous lunch!
I had just arrived at the church, gotten out of my truck, and was walking across the parking lot when a boy named Evan hollered out to me with this very important message, “I have my wallet with me this morning.” Obviously, he was very proud of what was likely his very first wallet.
I walked over to him and said, “Show me your wallet.” He gladly displayed it and revealed that he had tucked away a treasure, two one-dollar bills. I said, “That is a mighty fine wallet! What are you going to do with the money?”
He said, “Well, this is my birthday money. Tuesday is my birthday. I’ll be seven.”
“Wow, that is really neat,” I said. “Have you decided what you are going to do with your birthday money?”
He replied, “I might give it to Jesus this morning.” Then following a pause, he said, “Or, I might use it to buy something for myself.”
Seeing this as a teachable moment, I said, “You know what? If you give that to Jesus, He can do some pretty amazing things with that money.”
I didn’t know if he could possibly gather in all the truth of that statement, but he said, “Yeah, but I just haven’t decided.”
I couldn’t help but think, that is the dilemma facing every person in church today.
“Will I give to the Lord, or will I use this money to buy something I want for myself.” We must never forget at least three things about that issue. First, the Lord has given us everything that we have. We come into this world with nothing, and we leave with nothing. Everything we accumulate in between is to be used by us as good stewards of God’s grace.
Second, God has commanded that we give at least the tithe to Him. That’s ten percent. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus commended the tithe, but also spoke of the importance of going beyond the tithe required by the Law.
Third, the Lord can do great things with what we offer up to Him. The Gospel goes out to the nations because of the faithfulness of God’s people in supporting missions at home and throughout the world. You truly don’t have to wonder when you give your gifts to the Lord if they will accomplish more than you can accomplish by keeping them. God takes our offerings and blesses them and multiplies their value to do so much good throughout the world.
After the worship service, I was sitting at the table eating when young Evan’s mom came over to me. I told her how impressed I was with Evan and that he told me he was not sure what he was going to do with his two dollars of birthday money. She said, “He doesn’t have that two dollars any more. He put it all in the offering plate this morning.”
I told her how proud I was of Evan and of her for obviously raising her son to understand the value of the church and the Lord’s work. She told me that Evan had been saying that he wanted to be a preacher when he grows up. I said, “Well, he has a good start!”
I pulled out a ten-dollar bill and said, “Would you give this to Evan and just remind him that God always blesses faithfulness?” I had actually tucked that bill into my pocket after I met Evan that morning thinking that if he gave his birthday money to the Lord, I wanted to restore that gift and more to him. Clearly, the Lord had prepared me to be a teacher for Evan of one of God’s most precious truths: It is absolutely impossible to out give God!