If you weren’t late for Sunday morning’s service, three things may have caught your attention. Pastor Giardino announced that Justin James will be baptized at next weeks service. Dean sang and played a stirring rendition of the old song, “He Leadeth Me”. We were also advised that the video of our pastor losing his mustache to electric clippers at the hands of his wife, Lori, is now available on-line at the GLBBC web site’s media page. If you were there at the end of Sunday’s service, one thing would have caught your attention: we was robbed. Pastor Giardino and his posse of ushers handed out “Wanted – Thieving Christians” posters to the congregation, covered there faces with bandit bandannas, and passed the “collection” plates. I feared for anyone who might try to make a break for it.
Pastor Giardino titled this weeks stewardship sermon, “Will a Man Rob God?” Leading off with a very entertaining tale about a man wishing to tell the story of his life, pastor told of the man’s big problem. It appears this man had many skeletons in his closet, the worst being his “Uncle Fred.” “Death came as a great shock” was the punch line, which will mean nothing until you hear the entire story on-line at the GLBBC web site’s sermon page. I strongly recommend you listen to the whole sermon (when it becomes available) because this service was unusual to say the least, but on-the-money, nevertheless. Pastor G. was especially animated, no more so than when he brought out the “toys”: a windup inch worm and a windup monkey with cymbals. I don’t know who was having more fun, pastor playing with them on the podium or us watching. (Did pastor’s son, Nathanael, willing bestow his toys to Dad; inquiring minds want to know.) To be fair to Pastor Giardino, he did have a point to make: God winds you up, puts you on a course of life, and one day you run out of steam. He said “Only one life will quickly pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
This blogger prays he accurate reflexes our pastor’s wonderfully presented sermon, one which was based on the actions and consequences of King David in II Sam 12:1-12. In the verses, the prophet Nathan plays a role much like a pastor to David, just as we have a pastor who advises us. David failed God through sin and “robbed God of a man that would rule in righteousness.”
1.) You rob God because you are blind. Spiritual blindness led to David’s sin of lust, which was pointed out to him by Nathan. David did repent but God did not ignore the sin; God made sure that justice came to David’s house. Often a Christian’s lifestyle will show that items are more important than giving to God. However, the scriptures point out that if you honor the Lord by giving, then God blesses the exchange with abundance. Further, God told Moses to bring the first fruits of the land to Him. Many verses of scripture were used to show that God does not expect just your time or your money, that he expects both. Pastor urged that our eyes be enlightened to giving. If David, a man after God’s own heart, could be blinded, than so can Christians today be blinded and rob God.
2.) When you rob God, you rob yourself of benefits. David had this wonderful thought to build a house for God, and God was pleased, blessed him and made a covenant with him forever. However, in 2 Sam 7:14, God tells Nathan concerning David that “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.” The showers of blessing bestowed upon David ceased after his sin and David did not escape chastisement.
3.) When you rob God, you rob blessings to yourself. Pastor wants us to know that when we refuse to follow God’s will, we limit the blessings of God. God wants to pour out his blessing, “that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Mal 3:10 We attend a generous church, but how generous are we to God in return?
4.) When you rob God, you rob the booty. David lived in a time of war and receiving the spoils of war was expected. Likewise, Pastor Giardino says Christians today should be engaged in warfare against evil on earth. Casualties are caused by the sin of coveting, having affairs with money, and having affairs with the lusts of this life. If you are in the fight for God, He will bless you with things that the heathen have, said pastor.
5.) When you rob God, you rob the bounty. When your stewardship is not right, you are robbing yourself of the bounty, which is joyfulness. Joy is produced by giving. Build “treasure in heaven” and don’t be burdened by material possessions here on earth. Pastor advises that “it hurts when you don’t give up the treasures God gives you” in this life. Money can prevent you from being happy, but God wants you to be happy and to bless you. Accordingly, Paul said in 2 Cor 9:7-8, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”