STOP! Read This Before You Preach on Money

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Cautions for you to consider before walking into that lion's den to tame the monster called greed.

“Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; among whom you appear as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

The worst time to preach on money is when you need some, pastor. The second worst time is when the church needs some.

The best time to preach on money is all the other times.

That said, here are a number of cautions for you to consider before walking into that lion’s den to tame the monster called greed.

1. Get your own house in order.

Now, it’s possible to preach on prayer while knowing you have a long way to go in that respect. You can preach on good works and witnessing even if your record is spotty. You can do so because everyone has room for improvement in these areas. But when it comes to giving/stewardship, you can know when you are doing well.

The Christian is to be a giver. That means a hefty portion of his/her income will go into the church offering (whether you call it a tithe or something else), and believers will also be generous to the poor, to the needy around them, even to their enemies. (Luke 6:30-35)

So, unless you are faithful in giving to your church, kind to the beggars you meet on the street and generous in your tips to waiters and waitresses, hold off about preaching on stewardship. You have a bit of catching up to do.

2. Know your congregation

Make sure they will receive this. Not all congregations are alike. Some will rejoice at a good tithing/stewardship sermon, while others will organize a lynch mob.

Last Sunday, I brought a stewardship message to a local church (I was the visiting preacher) and was “amened” throughout. That is no infallible measurement of anything, of course, but it’s a good sign for a congregation that they welcome this kind of message.

3. Make sure you are not operating in the flesh, but in the Spirit.

That is, consider whether this sermon is a good idea of yours because the financial need in the church is great. Has the Lord specifically laid this on your heart? Or, are you angry at the way the deacons shut down your request for a raise?

If you can’t tell the difference between the two – preaching in the Spirit and in the flesh – you’re already in trouble. (This is not to say we cannot preach on stewardship when the financial need in the church is reaching the critical point. Only that we must do so “in the Spirit,” meaning the Lord leads us to do this, leads us to the sermon and empowers the proclamation.)

Paul said, “Let each of us do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7)

4. Keep stewardship of one’s entire life uppermost in mind.

What one does with his money is not the whole story. It’s a big part of the story, but there are many other things to consider too.

Paul said of the Macedonians, “They first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” (II Corinthians 8:5) Only then were they able to bring the kind of offering which would please the Father. In another place he said, “For I do not seek yours but you.” He told the Philippians, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.” (Phil. 4:17)

The church member who wants to fight the preacher who said God wants him to tithe has a problem and it’s not a financial one. He is in rebellion against God, and the wallet-protection thing is just the symptom.

Call people to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice,” pastor. (Romans 12:1) Once they make this commitment, everything else falls into place.

Joe McKeever Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.

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  • deandeguara

    Someone once said that you can judge a man’s priorities by looking at his bank statement, I think the same think could be said about churches. The health of a church can be determined by it’s giving statements.

    • Drae

      I’ve heard that saying numerous times before and normally it would make me raise an eyebrow or two lol. But serious I think it’s not necessarily the health of the church that is on trial based on the giving statements, but more so the leaders of the church. They may be the face of the church and the chosen/called, but where does their plea lie? Does it lie in financial gain only or the heart of giving as an example of Christ and His Spirit living within us?

  • John

    You obviously forgot this verse. I feel if preachers deliver a vibrant message of truth, giving in this manner would be sufficient.

    The Cheerful Giver

    2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)

    6. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    • Drae

      I just got through reading this chapter and meditating on that…and honestly it helped me see giving in a whole different light. Even though to some degree I knew already it helped me see how to make a better plea without it coming across as blah blah blah. People need to check their heart before they give. I know some Pastors may prefer you check it while you are giving, but scripture says the Lord loveth a cheerful giver and that means before, during and after giving they should be cheerful. If not my take is keep your money and we will still pray for you and your heart be changed. Now true enough we may be the church without walls, but this church HOUSE does have walls and needs your help and support, but do so because your heart and spirit line up to do so. Don’t so it to be spiteful or keep record of what YOU have done.

  • Ben

    Joe, I have read and reread the scriptures about giving and receiving, tithing. first let us go back to the law of tithing. Deuteronomy chapter 14:22-29. If I come to your church and paid my tilth would I be allowed to bring strong drink or what ever my soul lust after and drink as much as i want it to? the Bible says I can! let us go back even further, let us go back to Abraham, who started, the giving and the blessing? and who gave Abraham,the gift of wine and bread,did Abraham give or take anything? read for your self. gene.14. now let us fast forward to new testament. Jesus was not poor in money wise. Jesus became poor in spirit and gave up his God life to be came a man and you know why, show me one scripture were Jesus tithed. why didn’t He. Show me one scripture were Jesus gave away one thin dime? now let us go to where Paul wrote to the Corinthians his letter after receiving the gift from Philippians, up until Paul received his gift there was no letter of instruction, who gave command to give to Paul? was it man or was it God, who gave Paul the gift? Paul writing to the Corinthians knew them so he wrote them instruction on how they should save a little every week until they came up to the amount they said they would give, Paul also said don’t wait until the last minute. because of the saints in Jerusalem who became poor because they gave away everything they had, the saints thought the rapture would happen any time, no one instructed the saints to give away any thing at any time. Joe there was only one collection to saints, Paul also said if you don’t work you don’t eat. Because of all the begging and manipulation I am weary to give. I believe if Our Lord isn’t it I don’t. and to say I have a problem or because I don’t agree we you this pure bunk , and to say I am fighting God this is a fear factor thats being used by man who think they are holier than others so they think. Ben

  • Ryan

    Can’t really say that church was meant to be a career or a busness. That’s kind of a thorn that feeds this element of church. For the most part, giving is ment to help the poor, but I suppose there are a lot of small church pastors in that position.

    “… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
    And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father…” Some may say, ” I give to myself being a priest of God.”

    “Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand: But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose…” Could imagin people bringing thier garden vegies to church to eat during the sermon and of course some extra to give the pastor and his family afterwards.
    Still remember what Jesus asked, “Whose face is on that coin, or in our cast our bills?” Dead presidents. Give the the dead the things that belong to the dead… spiritually speaking here.
    Just some thoughts.


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