A man serves pie to all the expenses in his life. He is about to eat the last piece when he notices one more person at the table: the One who brought the pie.
Take John Wesley for example. He was one of the great evangelists of the 18th Century, born in 1703. In 1731 he began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. In the first year his income was 30 pounds and he found he could live on 28 and so gave away two. In the second year his income doubled but he held his expenses even, and so he had 32 pounds to give away (a comfortable year’s income). In the third year his income jumped to 90 pounds and gave away 62 pounds. In his long life Wesley’s income advanced to as high as 1,400 pounds in a year. But he rarely let his expenses rise above 30 pounds. He said that he seldom had more than 100 pounds in his possession at a time.
This so baffled the English Tax Commissioners that they investigated him in 1776 insisting that for a man of his income he must have silver dishes that he was not paying excise tax on. He wrote them, “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.”
When he died in 1791 at the age of 87 the only money mentioned in his will was the coins to be found in his pockets and dresser. Most of the 30,000 pounds he had earned in his life had been given away. He wrote,
I cannot help leaving my books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but in every other respect, my own hands will be my executors.
In other words, I will put a control on my spending myself, and I will go beyond the tithe for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. (Quotes from Mission Frontiers, Sept./Oct., 1994, No. 9-10, pp. 23-24)
Quoted from: www.soundofgrace.com/piper95/09-10-95.htm
A husband and wife team of researchers, the founders of Empty Tomb, Inc., in Champaign, Illinois, have tracked American and American Christian expenditures as well as global needs. John and Sylvia Ronsvalle have estimated that $70-$80 billion a year could meet the most essential human needs around the world. “Projects for clean water and sanitation, prenatal and infant/maternal care, basic education, immunizations, and long-term development efforts are among the activities that could help overcome the poverty conditions that now kill and maim so many children and adults.”
The Ronsvalles go on to write, “That figure of $70-$80 billion may sound like anything but good news. God may be generous, you may agree, but has he been that generous? Consider this: If church members in the United States would increase their giving to 10 percent of their income, there could be an additional $86 billion available for overseas missions.”
Craig L. Blomberg, Preaching the Parables (Baker Academic, 2004) p. 51. Updated statistics from www.emptytomb.com
Charity begins and home and all too often ends where it begins. Horace Smith
In a remote village in Central America the word got out among the peoples of the region that one of the American missionaries that had served this country for many years was about to return to the US to live out the remaining years of her life.
The nationals desired to honor her for her years of service with a public time of appreciation. News of the event went to all parts of the country in which the people knew the missionary. One very old and very poor man walked to the ceremony over mountainous terrain for 4 days to bring his gift to the missionary.
The gift consisted of 2 coconuts, but it was all the man had. The missionary recognized the man as coming from the remote village in the mountains.
“Brother, I cannot believe that you would walk so far to present me with this gift,” said the missionary to the man.
His response: “Long walk part of gift.”
From the Sermon Fodder Email list
The minister arose to address his congregation. “There is a certain man among us today who is flirting with another man’s wife. Unless he puts ten pounds in the collection box, his name will be read from the pulpit.”
When the collection plate came in, there were 19 ten pound notes, and a five pound note with this note attached: “Other five on payday.”
Quoted and adapted from the SermonFodder email list
The strong man at the circus was demonstrating his strength by taking a green stick and squeezing the sap out of it. When he had squeezed out several drops, he asked if anyone from the audience would like to try, and a frail-looking little lady came forward, took the stick in both hands, and squeezed. To the amazement of the strong man, a stream of sap ran down over her knuckles.
“Who are you, anyhow, lady? he asked?
“Oh, I’m just the treasurer at the Baptist church, she replied.
Quoted from net153.com email list
The last part of a person to be converted is their wallet.
Spirit Level by Ann Bird, Methodist Publishing p5
The congregation knew the roof was leaking and needed replacement, but they kept putting it off. Finally some areas of the ceiling in the sanctuary began to sag. They called a congregational meeting to address the problem, and the richest member of the congregation rose to say that he would pledge $1000 toward fixing the roof. Just then a small piece of the ceiling fell and hit him on the head. Somebody in the back of the church said, “Hit him again, Lord!”
From the Eculaugh website
Sometimes when we pray, as the Bible says, “We don’t know what to pray for.” That leads to some interesting dilemmas. That was the case for one pastor.
“I want to tithe,” a man told his pastor, “I want to give 10 percent of my income to my church. When my income was $50 a week, I gave $5 to the church every week. When I was successful in business and my weekly income rose to $500 a week, I gave $50 to my church every week. But now my income has gone to $5,000 a week, and I just can’t bring myself to give $500 to the church every week.”
The pastor said, “Why don’t we pray over this?” The pastor began to pray, “Dear God, please make this man’s weekly income $500 a week so that he can tithe again…”
Rev. John L. Mand, “Holy Humor” by way of wit and wisdom quoted from SermonFodder email list
A man was meditating by the river. One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain. A man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the meditator, “Hey old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?” The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”…