Sermon: How to Invest in God’s Program
Scripture: Matthew 6:1-4
In this week’s lessons, we learn about the principle of giving, and the blessings that come from the Lord upon both the giver and the recipient.
Theme: Sacrificial Giving
Now there is one more point about how we are to give away our money that is not stated explicitly in Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and yet is involved, precisely because it is Christ’s teaching and flows from His character. It is the principle of sacrificial giving. The Bible points to it in Christ’s case when it says, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich… Therefore [and again Paul is referring to the offering for the Jerusalem saints] perform the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have” (2 Cor. 8:9, 11).
Have you ever been led of the Lord to give sacrificially, perhaps even of that which you do not yet have? Let me tell you how Dr. Oswald J. Smith, pastor of the well-known People’s Church in Toronto, Canada, first learned to give sacrificially. He was sitting on the platform of the People’s Church for the first time, the first week he had commenced his ministry there, at the time of year they were holding their Annual Missionary Convention. He was unaware of their normal procedure, and he was somewhat surprised to see the ushers going up and down the aisles handing out envelopes. Surprise turned to amazement, and amazement to horror, when one of the ushers had the “audacity,” as he said, to walk up the aisle and hand him an envelope. He read on it, “In dependence upon God I will endeavor to give toward the missionary work of the Church $____ during the coming year.”
He had never seen such a thing before. And as he had a wife and child to keep and was at that time earning only $25 per week, he had never given more than $5 to missions at any one time previously, and that only once. So he started to pray, “Lord God, I can’t do anything. You know I have nothing. I haven’t a cent in the bank. I haven’t anything in my pocket. Everything is sky-high in price.” And it was true. World War I was on.
But the Lord seemed to say, “I know all of that. I know you are only getting $25 a week. I know you have nothing in your pocket and nothing in the bank.”
“Well, then,” he said, “that settles it.”
“Oh, no, it doesn’t,” the Lord answered. “I am not asking you for what you have. I am asking you for a faith offering. How much can you trust me for?”
“Oh, Lord,” said Dr. Smith, “that’s different. How much can I trust you for?”
“Fifty dollars!” he exclaimed. “Why, that’s two week’s salary. How can I ever get fifty dollars?” But again the Lord spoke, and with a trembling hand Oswald Smith signed his name and the amount of fifty dollars on the envelope. Well, he has written since that he still doesn’t know how he paid it. He had to pray each month for $4. But each month God sent it. And at the end of the year, not only had he paid the whole fifty dollars, but he had himself received such a blessing that he raised it to one hundred dollars during the missionary conference. He went on to give much more later and to lead People’s Church into an ever-expanding and ever more effective program of home and world missions.
That is real sacrificial giving, and it is born solely of the Christian Gospel. If you are concerned about your giving (as you should be if you are a Christian), then begin by yielding yourself to the Lord. Seek out spiritual causes, and ask the Lord to lead you in His own pattern of sacrificial giving. When you have given yourself to Him, then your struggles will end. He will guide you, and He will provide for all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
Where else in Scripture do we see God’s people giving sacrificially?
What did Oswald Smith learn about the Lord through the practice of sacrificial giving?
Application: How might the Lord be leading you to give sacrificially? Pray for His guidance in this area.