In our series on worship, we have addressed what it means to worship God with our time and our talents. The last focus in this series is worshipping Him with our treasure. In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus tells us “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, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There are over 2,300 references to finances and money in Scripture. Many people are uncomfortable talking about it and view it is a taboo topic of discussion. However, if we are faithful to the Word of God and are seeking to be faithful Christ followers, we must seek obedience in worshipping God with our treasure.
Recently, I was studying a familiar passage in Mark 6:30-44. Now, the main point of this passage is that Jesus is proving Himself to be Lord of all and the Bread of life. This is the scene where Jesus takes two fish and five loaves of bread and feeds 5,000 men (approximately 20,000, counting women and children). He does this because He proves himself to be fully God and has fiat power, which means that he can make something from nothing. He doesn’t need resources or help. Jesus is completely sufficient in Himself, but He chooses to use the small offering made by a boy and the service of 12 “rag tag” disciples. As Jesus uses such small, foolish means to perform this miracle, He demonstrates some very important truths.
One principle on giving that can be observed in this passage is that our resources are imperfect and insufficient to God, who owns all things and has infinite resources. We have nothing that adds to Jesus or supplies him anything He is lacking. God “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10). Jesus needs no resources and is sufficient in every way. He is “The Great I Am,” which means He is all-sufficient in Himself. He commands us to give sacrificially (tithes and offerings) to Him, not because He needs our resources, but because He wants to bless us and glorify Himself.
The second truth that we can see in this passage is that Jesus desires (commands) to have our resources and will use them for His glory. Even though He doesn’t need us, Jesus wants to use our treasure to accomplish His purposes. By using the foolish things of the world for His plan, He demonstrates His power and greatness. When we give a portion of our finances to the Lord, it is akin to when my two and half year-old son, Jude, “helps” me to rake leaves in my yard. While he wants to help Daddy, I’m really the one doing the work, while holding the rake above his little hands. Furthermore, his assistance sometimes gets in my way and usually causes the task to take longer. Jude giggles, jumps in the leaves and messes up the leaf piles. However, my two-year old’s “help” pleases the heart of his earthly father. I often imagine this to be the heart of God, when I offer up my imperfect, small gifts to Him. While it pleases the Lord when I give my treasure to Him, He is not in need of it, and He will accomplish His purpose with me or without me. God desires that we give our treasure to Him, it brings Him glory, and He blesses us when we do it.
The third truth that we can see by this little boy’s gift of two fishes and five loaves is that giving Jesus all of our resources, makes Him look good. When we give Jesus all that we have, it shows that He is trustworthy. There have been times in our life, when my wife and I were unsure of how we could pay all of our bills at the end of a month. However, our conviction of sacrificial giving (tithes and offerings) to God through the church is from the Bible, and not based on circumstances. God owns all that we have, but He is to receive the first fruit of our money, not the leftovers (Proverbs 3:9). Many verses and biblical principles can point Christians in the direction of how much to give as New Testament believers. Wherever you fall on a conviction concerning the amount, the Bible is crystal clear that if we are not giving sacrificially to the Lord, then, we are being disobedient. This disobedience comes from a lack of trust in God. We are thinking that God is withholding His goodness from us and that we know what’s best. In those times of struggle to trust God, our family found that every time that we stepped out on faith, our Heavenly Father multiplied our resources and blessed us beyond all measure. The account of Jesus’ miracle with the loaves and fishes, explains that all 20,000 people were fed, satisfied, and that there were even 12 basketfuls left over, just enough for the 12 disciples. God is amazing! He will provide all of our needs.
We are called to worship God by giving Him all of our time, talents, and treasure. When we do, He gets the glory, and we receive the blessing. God will provide! When we give Jesus all that we have, it shows that He is powerful and that we believe His promises. When we give Jesus all that we have and He uses it, He gets the credit. The gospel tells us that God did not spare His only Son, but gave Him up for sinners like you and me (Romans 8:32). The only right response to receiving God’s amazing grace, is to give Him back everything. May God give us grace upon grace to live like that!