I love the story told by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones about a farmer who went into the house one day to tell his wife and family some good news. "The cow just gave birth to twin calves, one red and one white," he said.
He continued, "We must dedicate one of these calves to the Lord. We will bring them up together, and when the time comes, we will sell one and keep the proceeds and we will sell the other and give the proceeds to the Lord’s work." His wife asked him which he was going to dedicate to the Lord. "There's no need to bother about that now," he replied, "we'll treat them both in the same way and when the time comes, we'll do as I say."
A few days later, he entered the kitchen looking unhappy. "What happened?" his wife asked. "I have bad news," he replied, "The Lords calf is dead." "Wait," said his wife, " you didn't decide which calf was the Lord’s." "Yes" he said," I decided it was the white one, and the white one died. The Lord’s calf is dead."
Isn’t that sometimes how it is… God gets the worst or last from us and not the best or the first fruits. When we do that, we are actually undermining God’s Word and promise to reward us for giving according to His command. February the 5th is our annual “Prove the Tithe” Sunday. A tithe simply means a tenth of your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly income. We’ve been doing this for over a decade just to reinforce our belief in God’s Word about giving and to experience the promised reward of obedience. As I’ve said 100 times over the years… we do this in response to the command of God in Malachi 3:10, and by the way, as I’ve also said countless times, this is the only place in scripture where God commands us to test Him and see if He will not pour out a blessing beyond our capacity.
So, on Sunday February 5th will you join the whole family of God and test Him with a tithe? This is not an extra offering; I am just asking everyone to tithe on that Sunday to display to God both our belief and our obedience. If you have never tithed before, I urge you to literally test God in this and watch Him take care of you. It works, I know, I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. By now you have received a letter from me with an enclosed envelope describing how to be a part of this wonderful Sunday of faith and obedience. We will also be partaking of the Lord’s Supper on that day. It’s appropriate because no one has given more to us and for us than our sacrificial Savior who gave it all.
I recently had a conversation with a new young pastor whose church is growing but not giving very well. I asked him, have they been taught the scriptures about giving over the years? I then encouraged him to be sure and preach this vital biblical truth, which is for their sake as believers and for the sake of the work of God through His Church. I’ll be doing that very thing in today’s message. I don’t have to do it often because the Ridgecrest family has been so faithful, but it is a crucial part of the life of every believer, and it is one of the most talked about matters in all scripture and for that reason I will always teach and preach the full counsel of God’s Word about stewardship to keep us ever mindful and obedient. I never want us to take for granted that we’ve just “got it” and no longer need to be reminded or continue to grow into mature followers.
RAD (Ridgecrest Academy of Discipleship) also begins a new semester on February 5th… be sure to register online or in the welcome center for one of the numerous classes that will be offered. As you can see February 5th is a big day… I hope you will anticipate it, pray for it, and participate in it!!! And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!
For God’s Glory Alone,