Have you ever been so fired up about something that you didn’t exactly have a lot of tact when it came to communicating what you were fired up about?
My wife is a very laid back person. She is extremely talented so she doesn’t have to say a lot(unlike me).
It takes a lot for my wife to get fired up.
When my son was about eight years old he was riding his roller blades in our garage and drive-way and for some reason he decided to dart into the street in front of a car that was coming up the road.
The car almost hit him and then my wife almost hit him.
With great passion she yelled at him, “Don’t you ever go in the street again without looking or I will kill you before the car kills you!”
Neighbors started locking their doors!
There is a portion of scripture where the author James is fired up and is not concerned about the lack of tact in how he delivers this extremely important message.
“You rich people should cry and weep! Terrible things are going to happen to you.”
“Your treasures have already rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.”
“Your money has rusted, and the rust will be evidence against you, as it burns your body like fire.”
“Yet you keep on storing up wealth in these last days.”
“You refused to pay the people who worked in your fields, and now their unpaid wages are shouting out against you.”
“While here on earth, you have thought only of filling your own stomachs and having a good time, but now you are like fat cattle on their way to be butchered.”
C’mon James, tell us how you really feel?
James is pretty fired up because he is seeing rich people taking advantage of the poor.
He is seeing powerful people exploiting the powerless.
He is seeing excessive living that is keeping others from living at all.
The first century church took this very seriously.
They chose to live simply so that others could live.
The scriptures state about the early church that “…All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”
The scriptures go on to say that, “There were no needy persons among them”
They ended poverty. Not the government. Not a NGO.
Not a few rich people. The church did!
The church ended poverty.
Could you imagine them saying that about the church in the 21st century?
What a legacy we could leave.
I think it is a legacy we can leave. I am not the only one who thinks this.
Dr. Scott Todd writes in his book, FAST LIVING,
“22 countries have cut their malaria rate in half in only six years.”
“We used to say that 40 thousand children die each day from preventable causes. In the 1990’s, that number dropped to 33 thousand per day. By 2008, it dropped further to 24 thousand. Today, 21 thousand!”
“In 1981, 52 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today that number is 26 percent. We have already cut the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in half! And we did it in one generation.”
“And that is with only 9% of American Christians tithing. Do you see our potential?”
“If the 138 million American Christians who attend church at least twice per month were to tithe, it would result in two hundred and fifty billion dollars per year in philanthropy by simply obeying one of God’s biblical principles of generosity.”
The American church is the richest church in the history of the church so Jesus will definitely hold us accountable to the words, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
James words that lack tact are more relevant today and should lead us to urgent action!
My parents taught me the principal of the tithe when I got my first paper route when I was ten years old.
I delivered two hundred papers 3 days a week.
It was a lot of work for a ten year old.
I once crashed into the back of a parked pickup while I was looking sideways trying to throw the Orangevale News onto an elderly person’s porch. I was unhurt, but my pride was bruised and my front wheel bent.
After delivering papers for my first month and doing collections for a 35 cent a week paper, I received 40 dollars for one month’s work.
It was 1975 and I was ten years old.
You might as well have given me a thousand dollars.
I was so excited about the potential slurpies and baseball cards with bubble gum I could purchase at the local Seven-Eleven.
But before I could spend anything, my mom gently reminded me of the tithe and so I, not so much out of enthusiasm but more out of obedience, put 4 dollars into an envelope and saved it for the next Sunday’s offering.
Since then I have tithed my entire life. I am very thankful for my parents teaching and example.
It has brought me and my family much joy, peace and purpose to my life.
The root word of “miserable” is “miser”. Need I explain more?
Karl Menninger, the dean of American psychiatry, says “Giving is a criterion of mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill.”
I want to thank all of the generous people at my church who are helping end poverty in our own community and around the world.
I have always said that my church is not a rich church but a generous church.
These are my favorite verses about generosity:
“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Proverbs 11:24 (Message)
“The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.” Proverbs 11:25 (NKJV)
“God blesses everyone who is kind to the poor.” Proverbs 14:21 (CEV)
“Caring for the poor is lending to the LORD, and you will be well repaid.” Proverbs 19:17 (CEV)
“Be generous and share your food with the poor. You will be blessed for it.” Proverbs 22:9 (GNT)
“Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry.” Proverbs 28:27 (Message)
“Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.” Proverbs 31:9 (CEV)
“Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:9 (NLT)