By Todd McMichen
Preaching on the topic of money in a healthy way can be one of the most challenging topics pastors ever address. The sermon topics tend to hit in pockets of either pressuring people to give more (because the church has a need) or fighting workaholism (because the pursuit of money is wrong). In between these two extremes is typically a vacuum of silence. This year I am reading through Scripture and taking notes on the different biblical texts related to money with the intent on developing several sermon outlines. The Bible comes out of the gate strong in Genesis. Here are some easy topics you can consider for a future money series to disciple your people toward the generous life.
- Giving is a timeless practice that can connect us deeper to God.
I learned this from Cain and Abel. The act of giving as a part of our relationship to God is a really old practice. We do not always get it right, but we can always grow to do it better. There is a lot of grace in giving. Have you ever taught about the grace that is offered toward imperfect givers?
- Financial success is not bad or wrong. It can actually lead to a unique calling.
I learned this from Abraham. He was a businessman that God blessed with great financial success. This financial success did not enable him to do less for the kingdom because he was so busy. It actually opened the door for him to do what no priest or preacher could. How are you engaging the successful to live big lives?
- Money doesn’t create a life of ease.
I also learned this from Abraham. He had to deal with a drought that caused him to relocate his business, fear of death by powerful political leaders, and a divided family with Lot. This pattern of challenge after challenge is also retold through Isaac, Jacob, Esau, and Joseph. Just because people have the appearance of success doesn’t mean they do not struggle with the same emotions as everyone else. How are you addressing the life troubles associated with money?
- Generosity is an all or nothing pursuit.
Abraham is at it again. Here are some of the ways I found Abraham to be generous. He repeatedly set up altars to give worship to God. He allowed Lot to pick the most promising portion of land. Then he generously prayed for Sodom and generously rescued Lot from his life of poor choices. He was willing to give up his only son and he was unwilling to accept any gifts from the king. He only wanted to depend on God. How many ways are you leading your people to be generous?
- Tithing has been around for a while.
Jacob clearly tithes in Genesis 28:22. Abraham also offered a tithe in Genesis 14:20. It seems to me to be a silly debate over whether the tithe is still a biblical teaching for the modern day. Tithing should be a non-issue for a mature believer. Generous people give far beyond the tithe. Are you limiting your people’s concept of giving by focusing on tithing?
- God is a God of prosperity.
Don’t let the term “prosperity” weird you out. God definitely multiplied the resources of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, and Joseph. Their abundance was a sign of God’s hand that opened doors of influence for the kingdom. What ways does God cause our lives to prosper when we are generous?
- God is our only provider.
Okay, Joseph rings the bell on this. His role as a servant or prisoner did not limit his life work. He was just as faithful with little as he was with much. You don’t have to wait until things change for the better in your life to be generous. Start living generously today. How are you holding your church back from the generous life?
Todd McMichen has served for over 30 years in a variety of roles in the local church and within the capital campaign consulting arena. Since 2000, Todd has been a well-established stewardship and generosity campaign coach, as well as a conference leader and speaker. He now gives leadership to Auxano’s generosity team providing unique capital and generosity campaigns throughout the country. He is the author of Leading a Generous Church: Making Disciples without Chasing Money.