Faithful in Little, Faithful in Much

tithing-a-tenth

“Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11, Common English Bible)

I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week. — John D. Rockefeller, Sr

Several years ago there was a story that actually made the local news. This athlete was giving a tithe of his multi-million dollar salary. His salary was well known and the surprised news media made sure everyone knew the amount of the donation. It was a tithe. I must give credit to this athlete. He did as God instructed in the Scriptures.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times over the years I have heard people say, “Preacher, when I win the lottery I will give a tithe to the church.” I don’t really say much of anything since the odds of being struck by lightening are greater than of winning the lottery. I also understand what John D. Rockefeller Sr. was saying. It becomes really hard to give that large amount of money when you haven’t been doing it all along.

My pastor when I began candidacy for ministry told the story of a man who had always been a tither but after a series of pay increases, he went to his pastor and said, “I’m not sure I can continue tithing. A tithe of my salary is a lot of money.”

The preacher nodded his head in agreement and said, “I can see your point. That is a whole lot of money. Let’s go to the altar and kneel for prayer.”

“Why are we going to do that?” the man asked.

The preacher said, “We are going to pray for you to start making less money.”

All too often that is the way we are. We think everything about more money sounds great, until we start thinking of that percentage off the top for a tithe. Then it is another matter entirely.

Sometimes we think, “When I get a raise I will start to tithe.” Or, “When I win the lottery I will start to tithe.” When I… When I… When I…

My response to that is, if you aren’t willing to tithe now, on what you make, if you can’t do the thing God calls all of us to do, what makes you think God is going to trust you with even more? Our lesson reminds us, “Whoever is faithful with little, is also faithful with much.” If God can’t trust us with the little things, how in the world can God ever trust us with larger things.

I would suggest that you rethink playing the lottery regardless of your faithfulness. I am not at all convinced of God’s favor when it comes to gambling.

As people of faith we are called to do what is right with what God entrusts to us. I don’t think we should expect God to give us more until we are faithful with what we have.

I should say, just because you start to tithe, don’t necessarily think you are going to see a salary increase. Still, we are called to be faithful with what we have and live out the commands of Scripture. We are called to tithe.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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