• Where is it?

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WHERE IS IT?

By Barry Cameron
January 31, 2020

We just finished a series called JESUS FIRST In A ME FIRST World where I challenged our people to wholehearted, unshakable commitment to Christ. Some people are actually surprised to learn it’s an either/or proposition. We’re either completely and absolutely and wholeheartedly following JESUS or we aren’t following Him at all. Sometime commitment is no time commitment. Some kind of commitment is no kind of commitment. As has been said before, He is either Lord of all or He isn’t Lord at all.

Jesus asked the question in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I say?” He also said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Last week I shared that JESUS said there’s a dead giveaway if we are really following Him or not. It’s found in Matthew 6:21, where JESUS said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In other words, the location of our treasure is a DEAD GIVEAWAY where our hearts really are.

Want to know where your heart really is? All you have to do is track the treasure. JESUS said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, whether neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

RANDY ALCORN said, “JESUS warns us not to store up treasures on Earth, not because that wealth might be lost, but because it definitely will be lost. Moths destroy fabric, rust corrodes metal, and thieves can steal anything. Jesus could have gone on – fires consume, floods wash away, governments seize, investments fail. No earthly treasure is safe.”

He never said we couldn’t have treasures on earth (i.e., possessions, material things, stuff, etc.) and He didn’t even say we couldn’t have lots of stuff. He simply said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).

A.W. TOZER said, “Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” JESUS took it a step further and said, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). In other words, use the wealth God gives you to help reach people for Christ so they can go to Heaven.

SO HOW ARE WE DOING WITH THAT?

According to the 2019 report of NonProfit Source: Christians are only giving 2.5% of their income to the local church and during the Great Depression they gave 3.3%. In other words, as we’ve done better financially we’ve actually done worse in our giving.

The report went on to say the average giving by adults who attend U.S. Protestant churches is about $17 a week. That’s $884 a year, which in most cases is less than the cost of most people’s cell phones.

Finally, the report said, for families making $75k a year, only 1% of them gave at least 10% to churches by tithing. Once again, revealing that the more money people make the less they give back to God.

Do I need to ask if that sounds like JESUS is FIRST or ME FIRST?

Randy Alcorn, in his terrific book, Money, Possessions & Eternity, says “Tithing is the TRAINING WHEELS of giving ... The tithe (giving 10%) was never a ceiling for giving, only a floor ... The tithe was a demonstration of obedience. Voluntary offerings (above that) were a demonstration of love, joy and worship ... Tithing’s stated purpose is ‘that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always (Deuteronomy 14:23). Tithing is intended to train people to put God first in their lives. Because the giving of the 10 percent represents the other 90 percent, tithing symbolizes the giving of one’s whole life to God.”

Giving God our first fruits is what Solomon encouraged when he wrote, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10).

So, here’s the question: WHERE IS OUR HEART? All we have to do is track the treasure.

My good friend, Jack Graham, Pastor of the great Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, said, “God established the biblical principle of tithing – giving the first tenth of any income we receive to the ongoing work of building his kingdom – as a spiritual act of worship. We do not give out of obligation or compulsion but rather from a heart of gratitude for all that God has done in our lives. He allows monetary resources to flow our way in the first place; giving a tenth back to his work reminds us of that truth.”

Want to know where your heart is? JESUS said, “Track the treasure. It’s a dead giveaway!”

The most popular Christian financial expert of all time, Dave Ramsey, in his terrific book, The Legacy Journey said, “I remember the first time someone explained the concept of the tithe to me. I thought it was a scam. Once I understood that God is a giver, and that I am also supposed to be a giver because I’m made in His image, the reason for the tithe came into focus for me. I don’t think God tells us to tithe because He needs our money or because the church would fall apart without it. I think He tells us to tithe because ... the act of giving changes us.”

Want to know where your heart is? JESUS said, “Track the treasure. It’s a dead giveaway!”

Andy Stanley said, “So what percentage should you give? I tell people to start with 10 percent because the Bible writers have a lot to say about the tithe, which means ‘tenth.’ For some people, that’s extremely uncomfortable. But so is a colonoscopy, and those save countless lives.”

So does tithing.

© 2020. Barry L. Cameron

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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