I used to dread preaching about money. Not anymore.
Here are a few reasons I’ve already discussed:
- I’m certain that money is one of God’s main competitors.
- I’m convinced money is a spiritual thermometer and thermostat.
Today I want to give a few more reasons:
3. I’ve seen that people respond to being challenged in this area.
People want to grow spiritually. That’s why they keep coming to church, getting involved in groups and serving in ministry.
Therefore people love to be challenged to grow. In the REVEAL report of a few years ago, thousands of church attenders indicated that one of the most important things their church can do for them is, “Challenge me to grow and take next steps.”
I’ve experienced this to be true, especially when people are convinced you want their good. Just recently I saw this play out in powerful ways through our 90-Day Tithe Challenge, as 85 households took our challenge.
4. I’ve witnessed massive spiritual growth in people who have started to honor God financially.
One of my favorite moments in ministry was when a couple in our church invited us over to dinner to share some very exciting news with us.
A few months earlier, after I had preached on money and tithing, they had pushed back on me pretty hard, saying that they couldn’t tithe because they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills if they gave away the first 10%. I listened, stood firm on the Scripture and gently asked if perhaps the reason they were often struggling to pay their bills was because they had never firmly committed to honor God with the first of their income.
They ended up deciding to tithe first, no matter what. Now, months later, they were inviting us over to share what had happened.
In those few months:
- They had turned off their cable and found that they were spending more time playing together as a family.
- The wife had quit the gym, started running and walking in the neighborhood, and had lost about 20 pounds.
- They had, amazingly, paid off thousands of dollars of debt.
- Unexpected one-time money dropped into their lap in surprising ways.
- Though they had been ready to receive foster kids into their home for almost a year without any placements, they had just received their first placement. They said that it would have been previously impossible to have enough financial margin to care for those kids.
Finally, they handed me a big check that completed their commitment to our church’s building campaign, a commitment that they never thought they’d really be able to fulfill.
Though they had no new, regular stream of income, they had less debt, more margin, greater health, improved family life, and more ability to give generously.
Think about how an experience like that grows your faith!
It grew mine for sure, but it grew theirs even more. They are even more eager to trust God’s word and more invested in the Kingdom of Christ.
We recently did a 90-Day Tithe Challenge and I heard similar stories of how people’s faith had grown:
“Being a part of the tithing challenge was a big step for me. Prior to this event I would at best classify myself as a God tipper (to use your breakdowns). My wife was a regular contributor but I tended to sit back. I think this more than likely stems from my history with organized religions who I often saw as more concerned with getting money from their parishioners than strengthening their relationship with God. Having been a part of the tithing challenge I now find myself closer to the church, a greater part of the community, and growing in my relationship with the Lord.”
There’s no question about it. People grow spiritually when they honor God with their money and giving.