HOW MUCH IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?
(Originally produced as a leaflet)

So often we ask the question, " How much does Jesus mean to you? "

I'm going to change it a little and ask you quite simply to quantify the VALUE OF CHRIST IN YOUR LIFE! My question to you is, HOW MUCH IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?

"What a ridiculous question," you may say, "how is it possible to put a value on Jesus?"

To Pilate, his AMBITION meant more, when he was told that if he released Jesus, he would not be Caesar's friend!

To Peter, at the denial, the saving of his OWN SKIN was worth more!

To Annanias and Sapphira in the Book of Acts, their MONEY meant more!

The value put on Jesus by Judas was very obvious - 30 PIECES OF SILVER!

One Friday night in a Club, I met a man who said in no uncertain terms when offered a War Cry, " No way! I go to Mass on a Sunday morning, and give my 20p offering, and that's my bit done. "

IN OTHER WORDS, THAT MAN WAS SAYING "JESUS CHRIST IS WORTH NO MORE THAN 20p A WEEK TO ME!!!"

HOW ABOUT CHRISTIANS?

The same rule of course applies for the Christian, in what they give to God!

Sometimes in the past I have almost despaired, when I have been writing the weekly offering amounts into the books!

Over and over again, I have said to my self, "CAN THE SAVIOUR REALLY BE WORTH THAT LITTLE TO HIM 0R HER?"
So often, when selling the War Cry, in the pubs and clubs, I have come across people professing NO FAITH, who GIVE MORE every week in the support of God's work, THAN MANY CHRISTIANS! It's true!

Tithing is now a much more prominent teaching in the Salvation Army than ever before.

On one occasion, I spoke to a Local Officer in an outlying corps. He said, "Of course, we have to go out (collecting) to the area outside of our own town, because it's not big enough to support us!"

In too many of our corps we have become reliant for our very existence on PUBLIC MONEY - FOR OUR CHURCH – which, after all, is what it is!

I once heard General John Gowans say, that often, in many Salvation Army corps, we are being heated, lighted and preached to, by courtesy of Joe Bloggs in the pub down the street! He asked the question, “Can that be right?”

Other Evangelical Churches have of course been teaching the principle of tithing for many years.

It is the BIBLICAL CONCEPT that ten per cent of all we possess, and all we receive day by day, already belongs to God, and therefore it would be ROBBERY to keep it from Him!!

A friend of mine, Christopher, a Methodist Minister,  has got some web pages on the Internet. On one of them, he has a sermon, intriguingly entitled 'GOD ROBBERS!'

It is speaking about Christians who do not give ten per cent of their income to God!

In Malachi 3:8 it says, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings."

He gives us all we have, and Christian teaching, says that surely it is not unreasonable to give God back one tenth! After all, it still leaves us nine times as much for our own needs!

JUST A DREAM?

Just a short time ago, I read of a man who was really quite happy with his Christian living.

He went to bed and started to dream. He dreamt that God took his weekly offering, multiplied it by ten, and that became his weekly income!!

To his horror, he found he could no longer afford his beautiful home, and had to sell it, along with the car, the television and all the other attributes of modern living which he had taken so much for granted! Why, he couldn't even afford to feed and clothe himself or his family!!

The problem was, he didn't know it was a dream - until he wakened up, and immediately decided to re-assess the structure of his giving to God!

I wonder if God really did that with you and me, what difference would it make to our weekly income???

THAT'S THE ACID TEST ON WHAT WE GIVE TO HIM!!

"I CAN'T AFFORD TO TITHE!"

Sometimes Christians will say, "But I get so little, I can't afford ten percent!" They forget that ten percent of little is the same proportion as ten percent of a lot!

Remember in the parable of the talents - it wasn't how much they had that mattered - it was their faithfulness with what had been entrusted to them!

ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE, THE TEN PERCENT IS MEANT TO BE A MINIMUM, NOT A MAXIMUM! It is only AFTER God has got what is rightly His, that we can think about giving Him an offering of what is 'ours' - that which is left!

Christians sometimes blame God for not having a job, or when things are not going well with them financially, and they find they have very little money. Yet some folks are not good stewards of the little they have. After all if God cannot trust them with little, how can he trust them with more?

As Jesus said to the faithful stewards in Matthew 25:14-30, "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things." We each one, are entrusted by the Lord with our possessions. We must not betray that trust!

There have been times when I have found it unbelievable that some who have been wonderfully converted, and perhaps used to spend a small fortune on drink or cigarettes, now give so little to God of the money the Lord has enabled them to stop squandering on these things!

I was once speaking to a man, who although converted, had a drink problem. He told me that the previous weekend, he had gone out and spent 20 at the off-license.

I said to him, "And how does that compare with what you gave to God last week? Did you spend more on the things of the devil, than you did in support of the Lord's work? With that in mind, who are you showing means more to you?"

The man was wondering why his life was in such a mess - I think he got the point!!

Oh if such people would only look in their hearts and ask honestly, "HOW MUCH IS JESUS WORTH TO ME?? BEFORE I WAS SAVED, DID I SPEND MORE ON THE THINGS OF THE DEVIL THAN I DO NOW ON THE THINGS OF GOD??"

These kind of questions are not popular, but yet are extremely important. Every Christian must clarify these points to themselves.

My son Stephen on one occasion, had a job interview. It lasted the best part of an hour. All kinds of questions were continually thrown at him from two interviewers, in an effort to weigh him up, and see if he was, in their estimations suitable for the job on offer. In other words it was an assessment!

The Christian has GOT TO ASSESS THEMSELVES CONTINUALLY, in accordance with the light given them in God's Word!

ARE WE UP TO THE TASK?

ARE WE FULFILLING WHAT HE EXPECTS OF US?

CAN HE RELY ON US FOR THE FUTURE?

DOES HE MEAN ENOUGH TO US THAT WE TAKE SERIOUSLY THE FINANCING OF HIS WORK?

No one else can answer these questions for us!

 

THE ENTHUSIASTIC CHRISTIAN

The world are not going to be impressed if they see no enthusiasm in the Christian!

If they (for example) see football supporters, who have more commitment to their team than we have to Christ - then can we really expect them to take us seriously??

Our Nephew Martin is a keen Glentoran football supporter, in Belfast. We have often slept in his bedroom while on holiday. The walls were covered in pictures and posters of his team! On the shelf was a football signed by the team - for which he had paid 50 would you believe!

His team had been playing in the European Cup, and he had been looking forward to going to Russia to see them play - at a cost of over 200!

You might say, "Obviously he'd got plenty of money."  Absolutely not! In fact at that time he had been quite a while unemployed!

TO HIM IT WAS A TOP PRIORITY THAT HE GOT THERE - SO EVERYTHING ELSE TOOK SECOND PLACE!

Often we speak about the Lord taking first place in our lives, and we forget that this also has to mean financially!

The subject of Christian giving is not a very popular one, and yet it is the responsibility of every minister to preach the Biblical concept!

A tenth of every possession of an Israelite already belonged to God! A tenth of all cattle (Lev.27:32). A tenth of all the produce of the land (Lev.27:30). In those days - that was everything! In Genesis 28:22, it was looked upon as a just return for all God's blessings to them!

How much more, those of us who have become SONS AND DAUGHTERS of God through the precious shed blood of Jesus!

 

IN CONCLUSION

THE CHEEK OF THAT MINISTER!

The front door slammed, and noisy footsteps proceeded up the hallway.

"What an insult," he said, blustering in from church, "the minister was trying to tell us what we should give in the collection!"

"What did he say to get you so steamed up?" asked his wife with a quizzical look on her face.

"He said that we should give in proportion to our income - and that it should increase year by year! Can you imagine that? How could we cope with rising prices if we did that?"

"How will the Church cope with IT'S rising prices if you don't?" said his wife with a wry smile spreading across her face.

"It's worse than that," he spluttered, "he says the Bible states that TEN PER CENT actually belongs to God - and WE'VE no right to keep it!!

He suggested we were THIEVES if we took any of God's portion!!

I haven't sweated so much since I ran the half marathon ten years ago!"

"You poor thing" soothed his wife, "here have a cup of tea 'till dinner's ready."

"Wait until I change my jacket. I was sitting under a leak in the roof, that the minister says he can't afford to get fixed. It really is a scandal!! How do they expect anyone to go and be treated like that?"

The amount a person gives to God (proportional of course to their income), can be a very good thermometer of their spiritual lives, for it shows in a very real way HOW MUCH THE LORD IS WORTH TO THEM!

The Lord has given so much for us - I wonder how much we're giving back in response to His wonderful love!

It must cover every part of our lives - TIME, TALENT, and TREASURE!

DOES IT?