It’s Not All About Money

This sermon talks about tithing, and the connection between God and money.

Linn Winters
Nov 11, 2018    45m
In this sermon Pastor Winters teaches his congregation important lessons on tithing. He wanted everyone to understand the complex relationship between God and money. He explained that where money or treasure goes, so goes our hearts. He wants everyone to understand why tithing is important. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Joe Solaro: 00:03 My life before I started coming to Cornerstone was just chaotic, I was lost. I didn't have no stability in a sense, like nothing to lean onto, nothing to look forward to during the week. I was always wondering what was missing in my life. Back in 2017 I was at that place where I was just like always searching for someone, like a relationship. Always searching for someone, to lean on to. Like, who's going to be there, when's that one going to come? I'd get into these dark depressions of like, there's no one out there for me. You know. One of my friends, she always went to church, and I was like...Because I was brought up in a Catholic church, and I never tried to go to a, you know, Christian church. And we went to a couple of churches, and then went to Cornerstone. So since I've been coming to Cornerstone, you know, God's worked in my life, in a positive way, just by believing in him, trusting in him. I feel the positivity is something that I can lean on. You know, I listen to Christian music every day. I read my Bible every day before I go to work. Just those positive thoughts, and knowing that just to trust in him, people come and go, but God's always going to be there for you. I just trusted him, and I pray every day that he just guides me in his path, and I trust his path. And things have gotten better with my work, my family, my relationship, and praying, praying, praying, praying every night. I started volunteering at Cornerstone because I want to give back to the community, and I think that's the way of me giving back to God, and me giving back to the community. Helping others have the info booth. I'm asking God to you know, what I'm unfinished with in my life, is to just continue to keep trusting God every day. And know there's other people that are unfinished, you can benefit from it as well too.

Linn Winters: 01:42 Man, I don't know about you, I hear stories like Joe's, and it just reminds me that God is alive. And he's writing all sorts of stories on lives around this place. That God's unfinished with what he wants to do here, not only in just reaching our city, but in the lives of us who were already here in moving us forward and growing us up into being more like Jesus Christ. And if you were here last week, we told you, hey, we're going to have a conversation together. And in this unfinished conversation, you're going to hear us talk a little bit about buildings, and you're going to hear us talk a little bit about money along the way. But please, please, please, please, please don't get confused despite the fact that we're talking about buildings, and despite the fact that we're going to have some conversations about money, that's not what the conversation's about. The conversations about unfinished lives. It's about what God wants to do, the mission he's given us to do, and what he desires for you and for our kids. And moving forward, in growing in him. And that's what the conversation's about.

Linn Winters: 02:48 Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a moment where our buildings are actually getting us off track. They're actually slowing us down from being able to accomplish what God's given to us to do. If you were here last week, we talked about the idea that says you realize on this campus every single night of the week we have ministry going on. Every single night of the week. And on one part you'd say, well Linn that's great, I mean that just shows great stewardship of these buildings. That we would pack them out, and fill them up night after night after night after night, and you'd be right.

Linn Winters: 03:21 That's a great stewardship of brick and mortar, but it's a lousy stewardship of ministry and let me tell you why, depending on age and stage, the your family is in it. If you're going to come back and chase after maturity here because we've had to take families and divide them up on all separate nights. You could actually have to be here up to four different evenings in order to get your whole family involved in maturity and the answer is people aren't doing it. They're opting out, they're just going for four nights. I mean, that's crazy. That would be ridiculous for us to even try, so instead of engaging, we're sitting back and we're not moving forward in a church that says we care about maturity and we care about growing up. We're not doing it as well as we ought to be doing it because our buildings are slowing us down. You probably know that most people visit a church. They come on the premium hours on Sunday morning. We have multiple services on Sunday morning, where it's hard to find a seat. We recently went to Saturday evening services so that we could make just a little bit more room, but I guarantee you long, long, long, long, long before we'll ever build a building, those services will fill back up again. And so visitors come in on Sunday. They're trying to figure out where Jesus fits in their life, and we have to say to them, hey, there's no room for you in this room, you've got to go do overflow.

Linn Winters: 04:53 That's an incredible thing to say to somebody who's on the journey to trying to figure out Jesus, you can't sit with us. You get to go sit in the other room. And so we come to a moment in which buildings are slowing us down, they're keeping us from finishing the course, doing the things that we've been asked to do. So although we may talk a little bit about buildings, and although we may talk about money while we're doing this, we're actually talking about unfinished lives. That's what this is all about.

Linn Winters: 05:21 I want to say to you, if you're in this room today, and you haven't figured out Jesus yet, You're still on the front side of the cross. You're still exploring this thing and deciding what to do with him. You actually get to opt out today's sermon. Because we're actually going to talk a little bit about money today, and I would never, never, never asked somebody who doesn't even know how they feel about God to give to God. I mean, that would be just absolutely crazy. But here's the deal, not only do you get a free pass today, today, may maybe one of your funniest Sundays. Because you're going to get to watch all the Christians in the room squirm. They're going to sweat big sweat of desperation in the room, and you get to watch him see it happen. If I were somebody trying to figure out Jesus, I'd be highly interested in what the Christians are going to do with this conversation. Because I'd want to say to them, hey, if you're Jesus is so great, if he really is the answer, then put your money where your mouth is. Show me, show me that you really believe this stuff. It's kind of like if there was a Christian who was using drugs, I would say to that Christian, Hey, explain to me how Jesus is so special. If you need the drugs that I need, if you've got to find the high that I...then how is Jesus any different? How is Jesus doing anything for you, different than my drugs do for me?

Linn Winters: 06:43 When it comes to this conversation on finances, I'd want to say to Christians, if Jesus is filling your life up so much, if that's where you're finding your satisfaction, then how come you're working as hard as I am to build up piles of stuff? How come you believe that buying the next thing, is the thing that's going to satisfy your heart? If you're Jesus is so good, why do you still need the stuff that I need, and I don't have Jesus. And I'd be watching this moment to see if Christians would put their money where their mouth is. We're going to dive in. We're going to have a conversation today. If you're not careful, you might say, oh, we had a conversation about money. But here's the interesting thing. Jesus is going to say today, money is not about money. It's about something completely different. And you and I are going to be surprised about what Jesus says the conversation is actually about.

Linn Winters: 07:42 So here we go. Grab your bibles and go with me to the Book of Mark. It's an interesting moment in which
Jesus behaves in a way that just absolutely surprises us, it surprises his disciples, but in this moment he's all of a sudden going to bring clarity to our lives. That money isn't about money, it's actually about our hearts. It's Mark chapter 12. If you're not familiar, if you go to the back of your Bible and then start working until the left, you're going to find this book of Mark.

Linn Winters: 08:18 Mark, Chapter Twelve. Here we go. Verse Forty One, "Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were being put, and he watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. They're bringing big bags full of coins, but a poor widow came and she put in two very small copper coins." Sometimes they're called widow's mites, you and I would have called him pennies "Worth only a few cents, calling his disciples to him. Jesus said, truly I you this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty, put in everything. All she had to live on." So think about this moment. So Jesus is sitting outside the temple, in this culture and in this time, the offering plate or the offering bowl was out public. You could see what everybody was giving. You've got individuals who are bringing just sacks full of money. Now, to put this in context, here's probably what's going on. It's probably harvest time. You got to remember the culture is agrarian. They're all farmers, so chances are they've harvested their crops, they come into market, they've sold their crops for a profit, and now they're bringing their tithe. The reason it's big, is because they tithe once a year, they bring their 10 percent after the harvest, after they get paid, hence the big bags that they're bringing in. In the midst of them doing this, there is a widow, she doesn't own land, she hasn't harvested a crop. And all she has to her name, are two copper coins, two cents. And she looks at these two cents, and She says, I can't buy a meal, I'm not even close to making this month's rent, what am I going to do? And in that moment, she makes the decision that the best thing she can do with the last two pennies she has to her name, is not paid her cable bill, not pay visa. Instead, she says, the best thing I could do is give my last two cents to God

Linn Winters: 10:43 And Jesus is so thrilled with the moment, that he comes and says that was amazing. He calls his disciples and says, did you see that? Did you see what just happened? And I guarantee you, I guarantee you his disciples were just as confused as you and I are in hearing the story. I'm sure they said, did someone drop in and extra big bag, and we just didn't see it did. Did somebody put a rare ruby in? He goes, no, no, the widow, the widow who put in the two copper coins. I'm telling you, she put more in the offering plate than the guys with the big bags. Now guys, think about this. Isn't this an interesting conversation? Because first off, I didn't even know that Jesus was that interested in money. Matter of fact, scripture says, Jesus said one day, the son of man doesn't even have a pillow to lay his head on. Apparently he wasn't acquiring a lot of wealth. Matter of fact, there was a moment in scripture when it was time to pay the taxes, and he says to Peter, Peter, go catch a fish. You're going to find a coin inside the fish's mouth, pay your tax and pay mine with it.

Linn Winters: 11:54 So here's a guy who doesn't seem to be that interested in money. He didn't charge for his teaching. Who is suddenly thrilled by how some people are handling their money, and then he wants to tell you and me that those two copper coins from a widow, amounted to more than all the big bags of money that the wealthy put in the offering plate. And all of a sudden, you and I begin to understand that when Jesus is having a conversation about money, it's about something more than just money. He's literally for a moment going to peel back the curtains of heaven. He's going to allow you and me to peek in, and see life, not from a human perspective, not from where all of our friends and all of our neighbors see life. That you and I are going to suddenly see life from God's eyes. And when you and I get that view, it will change everything that we believe about money.

Linn Winters: 12:58 Grab your bibles, go with me to the Book of Matthew. It's going to be a little bit to the left in your Bible. If you close your Bible, you're out of luck. No, I'm teasing. Now, if you go to the back of your Bible, work to the left, you'll find this Book of Matthew, Matthew Chapter Six. It's a moment when Jesus is actually giving us the answer. He's telling us why this moment was so thrilling to his heart. It's Matthew 6:19. Here's what Jesus says, ready about money, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and vermin, (Vermin is just rats and mice and...) where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." He says, look, look, look. You're going to have to make a decision about how you leverage your money, how you leverage your talents, how you leverage your time. Are you going to use those things to simply acquire stuff? That eventually gets old and it breaks and it fades away? The designer jeans that you buy today, in a year and a half, you'll be donating to Goodwill. Do you really want to leverage your life, this time that you have on earth, to get things that don't matter when you're done? Don't live for things on earth, he says. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves don't break in and steal. Live your life, live your finances, live your time, live your talent for things that have meaning, things that are eternal.

Linn Winters: 14:36 And then you ready? Verse 21, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Say it again, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And then he goes on, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is your darkness?" Now, don't get confused here, all he's saying is this. Are you seeing life clearly? If you're looking at life, the way your neighbors look at life, if you're looking at your finances, the way that your neighbors look at their finances, if your attitude is, hey, the more I get, the happier I am, the more success. If that's how you're processing life, you're processing life in that darkness, the darkness of people who don't understand me, then all you'll end up with is darkness. He's saying look, I'm giving you a new perspective, I'm giving you a new way to look at this.

Linn Winters: 15:54 And then he goes onto say, here's the new thing we ought to be seeing. Verse 24, "For no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one, and love the other. Or you'll be devoted to the one, and despise the other, (And then, you ready.) No one can serve both God and money." And all of a sudden it begins to occur to us, I don't think we're talking about money anymore, I think we're talking about hearts. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And what Jesus is trying to unwrap for you and me, and I hope you understand, is there something about the human experience that our hearts are inextricably linked to money. It's just how we are, it's how we humanly process. There's just something about money and our hearts that find themselves linked together, which means how I handle my money does something to my heart. If you're a male, if you're a male in the room, this means you've got a muscle that runs off your heart, goes down your side, comes around the backside of your hip and grips your wallet. If you're a female, the anatomy is slightly different. The muscle goes across, your chest, goes down your arm and goes right into your Michael Kors. That's what it does.

Linn Winters: 17:29 Okay, but what Jesus is saying, you ready for this? Your money and your heart are linked. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Which is why, you ready for this? If this is all your stuff, this is all income, this is all your money. God comes back and says, okay, so I'm going to ask you to give me a tenth, I'm going to ask you to give me a tithe. You ever wonder why? I mean, does he really need my money? No, but he needs your heart, and what he knows, you ready for this? He knows that it's impossible for you to take the tenth, for you to bring the tithe, and not bring your heart. Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. That when I make that decision in my life, what I'm really saying to you is God, I'm going to take part of what you given me. Because I know that in doing that, it reflects the fact that I love you. I cannot possibly give my tithe, and not in the same moment express my heart. Which you ready for this? It means the opposite is also true. It is absolutely impossible for me to withhold the tithe, for me to go, hey, no, no, no, no, no, you don't understand, ninety percent is not enough. I need this, I need what this can do for me. So here's the deal, I'm going to keep this for myself, I'm going to keep the stuff I still need. Because here's the deal, this would never be satisfying. Because I'm keeping this for myself, but Jesus, here's what I want you to know. Even though I'm keeping this, you have my heart. And do you what Jesus says? Not a chance. Because where your treasure is, there your heart is also. And if you withhold this from me, you'll have a guillty heart. No, you get the idea, do you get it?

Linn Winters: 20:15 And suddenly, guys, guys, guys, don't miss the moment. Suddenly a conversation about money, isn't a conversation about money anymore. It's a conversation about what I love. Ladies, you get this, think about this for a minute. What if your husband was being highly successful? I mean, he's moving up the corporate ladder. He's getting promotion after promotion. Money's coming in, everything's going good. The problem is he's working like crazy. I mean he's putting in untold hours at work. And so you go to your husband and you say, look, I understand it. I understand this is a season, this is what's going on. I understand. And I'm all for it. But here's what I'm asking, would you give me some time and here's what I'm thinking. Would you tithe to me your time? Would you give me 1/10th of your time? So I'm not even asking for a full day. I'm just asking for an evening. Would you give me one evening out of the week? You can work every other night. You can work all day, every other day. Would you give me one evening a week? Would you tithe your time to me? To which your husband says? Well, hey, that sounds like a great plan. I could gladly do that. So the first week comes around. Sure enough, he comes home from work at dinnertime, takes you to McDonald’s. After McDonald’s, he drives you home, says, hey, I'm sorry, I got to go back to the office. Next week rolls around. He says, look, I'm a pretty pressed, could we just watch a lifetime movie real quick, and then I got to go upstairs and work on the computer. And this happens week after week after week after week after week. Ladies, here's what you know, if he is withholding his time from you, he's withholding his heart from you.

Linn Winters: 22:10 It's no longer a conversation about time, is it? This is exactly what Jesus is saying to us about our money, because where your treasure is, there is your heart also. And if you're withholding your finances, Jesus knows your withholding, your heart, because the two are inextricably linked. So let me ask you a question. Based on your giving, if we were just to run a record for that, what would your giving say about how much you love your Jesus? Because Jesus says the two things are linked, because where your treasure is, there is your heart also.

Linn Winters: 23:03 You get in the story. The story says, hey, there were these guys, and they were coming and they were bringing their bags of gold coins, and putting them in. You realize those guys are passing the test, they're bringing you ready? They're bringing their 10 percent, and as a part of bringing their 10 percent, their hearts are coming along with it too. Because in the very act of obedience, in them doing that, here's what they're saying. I could have bought some stuff with the tithe. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've got a list, I mean there's things I wish I had. I have chosen to give my 10 percent to tithe, because here's what the statement, I want you to know. God, I love you more than the stuff I could have bought, does that makes sense? I love you more than the stuff that I'm not buying. Ever wonder why the tithe is 10 percent. I mean, why, why 10 percent? I mean, think about it for a minute, isn't it true that every bit of income you have is actually from God? The talent that you traded for the paycheck, who gave you that talent? The time that you sold in order to have a salary, who gave you that time? So isn't it true that everything you have, you have from God? So by all rights he could have asked for all of it, right? Why did he ask for 10 percent? Why not less? Why not more? Here's my best guess. I think it had to be enough that it would be a statement. I mean, if it had been too little, than it would have been like tipping God, right? Oh, thanks God for services rendered. And God said, no, no, no, no, that's not what this is. This has got to be enough that you're going to have to make an adjustment, you'll make a conscious decision, you'll realign some things in your life. So that when you give it, there's a statement to it, there's a message behind it. But here's the deal, I don't want to make it so much that you get confused, and think this is actually a conversation about money. That you think I want your stuff, I don't want your stuff, I want your heart.

Linn Winters: 25:43 I'll be honest with you, if you were to leave here today, and say hey Linn, I think I'm going to begin tithing. You'd have to make an adjustment. We get that right? You'd have to kind of change some things, shuffled some things around to do it. Let me tell you what I adjusted my life. So here's a picture of my car, it's a pretty cool car, it's 14 years old. I've taken really, really good care of this car, because I knew I wanted it to last. So I've had to replace the canvas top on it that wore out. I just recently had to do a whole bunch of work on the front end, it got real loose. But here's the deal, for eleven years I haven't had a car payment. It's part of what makes it possible for me to tithe. Here's another thing, I don't drink $6 coffees. I don't drink the fufu double pump, caramel macchiato Espresso Venti thing, I just don't. I go to McDonald’s, and I buy the $1 large coffee. It's the adjustments I've made so that I can tell God. You ready for this? Here's what those adjustments say. They say, God, I love you more than the car I could have bought, if I kept it for myself. I love you more than a caramel macchiato double espresso right? I love you more than that. It's what my heart says, every time I tithe. How many of you in here would say, Linn, that's just crazy. I mean the level of sacrifice you're talking about, the radical followership of Jesus Christ that you're demonstrating. I mean, the selflessness of that mold. I mean, here's what I'm thinking, here's Mother Teresa, and then Linn here's you. I mean, that's just crazy stuff. How many off you go, man, that's just crazy, you're like the best Christian ever. Come on someone, you realize, not one of you raised your hand. If that's not that radical, how come you are so hesitant to do it? So let me ask you a question. Do you love God more than the stuff you could buy, if you withheld the tithe? And suddenly it's not a question about money anymore, is it? It's a question about hearts.

Linn Winters: 28:31 Here's the interesting thing in the story. Those guys did what they were supposed to do. They did what you and I, hopefully you're doing. Jesus gets really, really impressed by a widow. And think about it she doesn't necessarily even tithe. I mean here she is, she's in a moment, she's got two coins left to her name. She's got two pennies. And think about the thought process that goes through her head. She goes, okay look, there is no good plan from here. I don't know how this even works from here, and she makes her decision not to pay her rent, not to pay her AT&T bill, she looks at the last two coins in her life and says, the best thing I could do with these coins is give them to God. And I don't know about you, I mean when she...There's a moment I go, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. There's a part of me that wants Jesus to leap to his feet, run over to this widow woman, and say to her, look, look, look, your two copper coins aren't going to make a difference. Here, keep your coins. Matter of fact, here are some other coins out of the offering plate, go pay your rent. You realize Jesus doesn't do that. Jesus instead applauds her decision to say, I have no plan B, I don't know how this turns out, and I'm just going to simply give it all.

Linn Winters: 29:58 Here's why that's a big deal, because I guarantee you that there are some Christians in this room right now, and when you start to think about the tithe. You go, well Linn, look, I've heard this conversation before. This isn't my first Rodeo, and I'm planning eventually to become a tither. But here's the deal, Linn, I've added this up on my fingers. I took a look, there is no adjustment that makes sense. I have more bills than I have income, and now you want to throw the tithe on top. So here's my plan, I'm going to work on my bills, I'm going to pay down my bills, I'm even going to acknowledge that it's probably my fault. I probably, I probably ran the visa card up too much, I probably shouldn't have taken that vacation and charged it all. I. I get it, but it would be irresponsible of me to start tithing when it doesn't add up. Tell that to the widow. You realize it's the very fact that it was hard, it's the very fact that there is no escape clause, this does not add up. And how she manages after she gives it away, there is no answer, that makes what she does so exceptional. It's the fact that it's hard, that makes it special.

Linn Winters: 31:36 This last week we were having a meeting here at the church. We called it an assessment center, so we brought in candidates from all over the nation, we hosted it. People who wanted to go plant churches, and we are just super big on getting churches out there, as long as they're good solid Bible believing churches, we're all about it. And so we agreed to host this conference. Matter of fact, one of the couples here was looking to plant in the Phoenix area, we're super excited, so we were here. I'm walking through the lobby and one of the leaders of the assessment center says, Hey Linn, I need to have a conversation with you. Can we meet for a few minutes? I said, sure. We walked past the cafe, and I turned to the gal working in the cafe, and I say, hey, I'd like to have a cup of coffee please. And she says, we don't have any coffee in the cafe right now. We took all of our coffee, we put it in all the assessment rooms. And I said, okay, never mind. And she goes, no, no, no, no, I'll go get a cup of coffee for you. And I look and she's got a baby in her arms, and I'm like, no, no, no, no, I'm going to ask somebody with a baby in their arms to go get me a cup of coffee, I'm not going to do that. Don't worry about it. She goes, no, no, no, no, no, I'll go get it for you. I go, no, no, you don't need to do that, I'm okay. Three minutes later she walks up to me with a cup of coffee. What do you know from that story? Other than the fact that your pastor is a jerk, because I let a lady with a baby go get me a cup of coffee. That wasn't just a cup of coffee. The fact that she was willing to suffer that inconvenience, the fact that it was hard for her, that cup of coffee suddenly became a cup of honor, a cup of kindness to me. See the very fact that it was hard, man, it was no longer just a simple cup of coffee.

Linn Winters: 33:35 And the idea that tithing is hard for you, and doesn't make any sense, is the moment it will no longer just simply be a tithe. It'll be something more. It'll be exactly what that woman said, because when she drops those coins in, she's not just saying to Jesus, hey, I love you more than the stuff I could buy. She saying, Jesus, I love you more than I love me, because there's no plan for me now. And when you and I choose in the moment when the tithe, that you need to go, look, I just don't even know how this works. You're saying to him, God, this isn't just about what stuff I'm not. This is about. I don't even know how this works, and I love you Jesus more than I love me, because I don't have a good plan for me. If I obey.

Linn Winters: 34:26 Some of you know a little bit of my story. You know that my parents divorced when I was a kid, and then we were poor. And when I say we were poor, that's not preacher poor, that's poor. There was a church down the road that used to bring us cans that didn't have any labels on them, because the grocery store couldn't sell them, so they'd give them to the church and then the church to bring them to us. You get to dinner time and you'd open up a can, and beets, didn't have a label you didn't know. The men of the Church would come and fix my mom's car. There was a family called the Woodies. They had an older son. His name was Russell. He was a couple of years older than me, so every year they'd bring their sack of his old clothes, and those would become my clothes. I can remember one year somehow my mom had scraped together just a little bit of something, and she actually took us school clothes shopping. So I went into the store, here's what I picked. I picked two pairs of white jeans. Imagine that, two pairs of white jeans for an eighth grade boy, and then four colored shirts, a turquoise shirt, a red shirt. I remember my grandfather coming over one day, and I said to him, I said, you know, Grandpa, I just wish I was like the rest of the kids. I mean their parents can buy them new school clothes every year. Matter of fact, they buy them clothes when it's not even started school, and they've got toys that I don't have. I just wish I was like other kids. And I remember my grandfather pointing his finger at me and said, you booger. Now, here's what you need to know, my grandpa was a Baptist preacher, so calling me a booger was as close as he could get to cursing. He said, you booger! He said, do you realize, do you realize your mom has not had a new pair of clothes in eight years? If you go into your mother's drawers right now, her underwear is full of holes, and you've had new clothes since then. It's 40 years later and I still remember that moment, because you know what I knew in that moment? I knew that my mother loved me more than she loved herself, because in the moment when it got really, really hard and there wasn't enough to go around, her decision was to give to me and not to give to herself. It's the moment when the tithe starts being not the tithe anymore, and starts being something really special, is when it's hard. And it doesn't add up, and it doesn't make any sense. And in that moment you and I say, God, I don't know how this works, I just simply know that I love you more than I love visa, and more than I love myself. So I choose you.

Linn Winters: 37:20 So here's what I'm asking. I'm asking every Christian in the room to begin tithing, because it's not about money, it's about my heart. That you and I would simply say, Hey God, I want you to know how I feel about you, and so I'm going to choose to tithe. Do you realize that if we were a tithing church, there wouldn't be a building program. That we would have enough from your giving that we would not only make our budget, but we would be able to pay for the buildings cash, if we were a tithing church. So here's what I'm proposing. I'm proposing we don't have a building fund. I'm proposing we just simply become faithful and give, and that will just hold the budget exactly where it is. We'll keep it, despite the fact that we've got air conditioners that need to be repaired, and despite the fact that there's health insurance and all those things that go up, every will hold the budget. And then every single month as you give, as you become tithers. We will take every penny above the budget, we'll roll it over, we'll build the building. We don't need a building program. We need a faithful program. And so I'm just asking, would you tithe.

Linn Winters: 38:34 Now I know what I just asked you is scary and hard, but I'm going to suggest that it changes based on how you think this story ends. So let me ask you the question. What happened to the widow, after she gave her two cents? Isn't it interesting that the Bible doesn't tell us? And I actually think that's on purpose. I think God said, you know what? When you get to this moment, and when it's your turn to give, you won't know how it turns out. So I'm not going to tell you how it turned out for her, because you won't know how it's going to turn out for you. But here's my question. What do you think? And if you're here and you go, Linn, I think it was a dumb move. I think she was absolutely stupid to give her last two cents. I think she went home, curled up in a ball and died. That's what I think the story ends. And if that's truly what you believe, then you're not ready to pass the test of love. It'll be too big for you. It'll be too scary for you,

Linn Winters: 39:49 But if you're like me, if you sit here in this moment, and you go Linn, I'm pretty darn sure. Matter of fact, I think I'm confident that before she even got home, that God was finding ways to take care of her. Based on the fact that every time I've been faithful to God, he has been faithful to me, I'm just pretty sure that woman was okay. That she got home and maybe there was a neighbor who came over and said, man, I just cooked so much and I don't want it to go to waste, here. Or maybe she had a relative who said, you know, for some reason we felt led to pray for you today and while we were praying, God just laid on our hearts to pay your mortgage this month. I don't know how God took care of it. I'm just telling you, I don't have a shadow of doubt in my mind that God took care of the widow woman. And if you believe that, then tithing would be easy.

Linn Winters: 40:44 How many of you were here last week? Okay. You saw God's story last week. The Gal on the God story was a little girl named Lauren. Here's part of the story that you probably don't know. Lauren has been a Christian for barely a year. Just a couple years ago. Her, her husband, her three children are living in a car. About a year ago, they came to Cornerstone, they found Jesus. Their lives had been radically changed. Somebody said to them, hey, when you're a Christian, you give you tithe. They began tithing. Thing about that, year old Christian, her family's already tithing.

Linn Winters: 41:21 Recently because we knew we were going to have this conversation with you. I asked everybody who serves at Cornerstone to come to some dinners. And while we were at the dinners, I said to them, Hey, look, I'm going to have this conversation with everybody else, but they need to know that their leaders are leading the way. So I'm going to ask you as leaders, not just a tithe, I'm going to ask you to give an additional five percent. I'm going to, ask you to take your tithe, and then go up five percent above that. Here's what I didn't know, Lauren had already started serving, she was in that room. And I think if I had known that I would've probably said, Lauren, you're exempt. I mean you're a brand new Christian, I'm not going to ask you to do that. But I didn't know, and so I asked. Here's the letter she wrote back, so Paul and I went home after the unfinished dinner and prayed. You think? It was a big ask to increase our tithe from 10 percent to 15 percent. We asked God to direct, and to speak to us. We felt that we were being called to something bigger than ourselves, and we decided to put getting a second car, because between the two of them, they have one car. And getting a second phone, because between the two of them, they have one phone. On hold. We decided that we could squeeze out five percent more for one year. We were asked to be faithful, and to trust in God, and we accepted and we made our commitment on Friday. Well, God is good, because yesterday I got a three percent raise, I did not even ask for the raise, I had no idea that it was coming. I had to tell someone, and you're the only person that I know who would understand the magic #God is good.

Linn Winters: 43:31 What do you believe God does with widows? What do you believe God does with baby Christians who were just
foolish enough to believe him? And how you answer that question will decide what you do next, but here's what you need to know. You and I did not just have a conversation about money, we had a conversation about your heart. Because where your treasure is, there is your heart also.

Linn Winters: 44:04 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, and it is so easy for us to see this from a worldly view, to see it the way our neighbors see it, to see it the way that people who don't know Jesus see it, and yet you step into this moment and you say, money is not about money. Money is about your heart, and it's absolutely impossible for you to bring me the tithe, and not bring it your heart with it. It's a statement. It's a statement that you love God more than stuff. God, here's what I'm asking. Man, I'm simply asking that every single Christian in this room, every one of us to claims your name, that we would make this decision. That we say, hey, this is part of me that's unfinished. This is one of the things I just haven't lived in, and dealt with, and lived up to in my life. And my decision today is to take a step forward. My decision today is that God is going to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he has my heart. Because he'll see where I put my treasure. In this we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286