Friday, January 13, 2012

Are You Robbing God?

*more info cut from the sermon I'm writing for Jan 15


Imagine with me that you invested some of your money with an investment company hoping for a gainful return and after a few months you found out that the broker you were dealing with took your both your invest and your earnings and started using them like they were his own.  Instead of putting it in high performing stocks, he was using the money for betting on the Vikings (which of course was like giving it away), eating at Manny’s Steakhouse and all kinds of other self-serving pleasures.  

Wouldn’t you be indignant?  Wouldn’t you say, “I need a lawyer.  I’ve been duped.  I trusted that guy to be wise with the resources I gave him, and he’s squandering it all.  I’m getting robbed!”  Wouldn’t you say that?  

That, in fact, is what God says about you and I.  In Malachi 3:8-9 the Lords says through the prophet Malachi, “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.”

Tim Keller points out that the word ‘rob’ in this text isn’t just like taking candy from the Kwik Trip.  This word ‘rob’ is used to describe what would happen when one nation would invade, pillage, oppress and rape the people and resources of another nation.  And in this text God speaks through Malachi with the message saying, “I gave you so much and I trusted you to be generous and get a good return on my investment.  And instead you’ve invaded and pillaged me!  You stolen what doesn’t belong to you and used it all for yourself”

Most of you probably don’t think Malachi is talking to you this morning.  Like the nation of Israel you’re probably thinking, “Me?  How do I rob God?  I’m middle class Monticello?  I only have two cars, two game systems, and two bathrooms in my house.”

Well here’s the insidious thing about generosity’s evil brother greed - almost no one thinks they are greedy.  It is the the sin no one confesses, because it is the sin know one thinks they’re guilty of.  People know what lust is.  They know what pride is.  They know what gossip is.  They know what adultery is.  But very, very few people would ever say, “Greediness is my biggest sin.”  And do you know why?  Because we can always find someone around us who has more than us and we can say, “Look at them.  They’re greedy.  My boat - its only 14 feet, that guy’s is 20 ft.  He’s the greedy one.  Look at that lady - so what if I have 10 pairs of shoes - she’s got a whole closet full.  Man she is really greedy.”  

We get so caught up in our own little “thingdom” that we neglect being generous to God’s “kingdom.”  King David spoke to the assembly of all the nations greatest leaders - the richest, most powerful men in the land - and he reminded them - “ITS NOT YOURS!  IT WAS GIVEN TO YOU BY GOD.  IT IS FROM GOD AND IT IS FOR GOD.”  

And this morning I stand in a room with some of the richest men and women in the entire world.  Did you know the average American, according to Pastor David Platt, lives on $90/day while, by conservative estimates, 75% of the rest of the world lives in less than a $1?  That makes you and I some of the richest, most powerful people in the world, and we are reminded today in God’s Word “It is not yours.  You own nothing, and you manage everything.
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