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The Richest Family in Church (5 of 5)
Series: Stewardship--Taking God at His Word
Philippians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
Introduction: A passage of Scripture and a modern parable tell a story of giving and receiving that most of us need. First the text and then the parable. (Phil 4:11-13). Now the parable. Eddie Smith Ogan insists that she will never forget that day. This story is true. It happened, Eddie insists, just this way.
Scene I: It was Easter 1946. Eddie was fourteen. Her little sister Ocy was twelve. Big sister Darlene was sixteen. The three Smith girls lived with their mother. Their dad had died five years before, leaving a wife and seven school age kids. They had lots of love and not much money. They didn't have much, but they got along.
By 1946 the oldest sisters had married and the brothers had all left home. A month before Easter, Mom Smith and the three girls went to church like they did every Sunday. As the service ended on that early spring Lord's Day, the preacher made an announcement. On Easter Sunday, he told the small congregation, a special offering would be taken. The money would be given to a poor family. He urged everyone to save and give sacrificially.
How would you define "giving sacrificially?" It is not about money, is it? That was Jesus' point when he called his disciples' attention to a poor widow. She had just left an offering at the temple. She wasn't the only one. Many others had come and gone, leaving their gifts in the collection boxes provided for the purpose. The money would be used for the various functions of the house of worship and for the care of the poor in the city.
Jesus and his men had watched many wealthy men bring their gifts. The richer they were, the larger their gifts. That was only natural. But it also seemed that the richer the donor, the more fan-fare surrounding the presentation. Here's how Luke 21 records the event. "As he looked up, Jesus saw ...
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