A hundred and
ten years ago, at the Democratic National Convention, a
guy by the name of William Jennings Bryant stood before
this convention and he gave a speech. And the speech was
so stirring and so inspiring that they actually nominated
him for the president of the United States. And he ran.
He lost, we know that, cause we don’t have him in
the list of presidents. But he ran, he got the nomination.
And one of the things he gave us was a quote that I love.
It says, “I suppose about all a man can do in this
world is use or lose his opportunities.” God gives
people opportunities. And throughout our lives and throughout
our paths, we come across these chances. Or these times
where we can walk through the door or we can walk away from
the door. But opportunities come and there’s a time
where we have to step through there and we have to take
action and we have to engage and we have to move forward
in faith, knowing that God’s going to be with us and
He’s going to carry us through. Its opportunities.
You know the
worst war in the history of this nation was without question
the Civil War. There were more people lost to the Civil
War than all the wars that we have ever been in combined.
And it is said that that war could have been shortened if
the union had had better generals. One such guy was General
B. McClellan. And he had over a million troops to two hundred
and fifty thousand troops on the South. But he wouldn’t
engage. He was a spectacular planner. He could get everything
in place but he wouldn’t engage and the President
Lincoln said, “if you’re not going to engage,
would you please loan me this army if you don’t intend
to use it.” And we know that finally the results were
that the war ended. But the facts are that life is a series
of opportunities that we have. Choices that we make, decisions
that we intend to carry through, go through, or we walk
away. And that’s life.
I want to read a passage of scripture. It’s found
in Timothy. Timothy 6, it’s part of the letters that
Paul wrote to Timothy, and he shares with us these words:
“But godliness and contentment, this is great gain
for we brought nothing into the world. And we can take nothing
out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we’ll
be content with that. People who want to get rich, fall
into temptation, in a trap and into what many foolish and
harmful desires that plague men into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith
and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, people
of God, flee from all of this and pursue righteousness and
godliness. Pursue faith and love, endurance and gentleness.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal
life to which you are called.”
We have opportunities
every day. They come and we want to seize the opportunities,
but we weigh the opportunities and some are just too much
to bear. But more often then not, skepticism that holds
us back from really moving forward with the understanding
that this is the best way for us.
A few years ago
I had what’s called group activity tickets. We buy
them here for our employees. Some of you may be familiar
with group activity tickets. What you do is you buy a ticket
to the movie in advance, and its good at the theaters, and
its like a three dollar discount, so I actually pay $6.50
for my group activity ticket and I take that to the theater
and I get a $9.50 ticket. So I save three dollars a ticket.
Good deal, right? Well I bought a whole bunch of them because
my kids are always asking for them and every time I want
to give one to them, I run out and so I said I’m going
to buy 20 of these things. I don’t want to run out
and have to pay $9.50 for a movie when I can get in there
for $6.50. So I bought a whole bunch of them.
Well it just so happened that year things happen and I didn’t
use them all, and I noticed the expiration date was coming
up in a couple weeks. And I had four tickets left over,
my wife and I were going to the movie and I said do you
know what I’m going to do, I’m going to bring
these extra two, I’m just going to sell them to somebody
in line. Who would buy a ticket for $6.50 if the normal
price is $9.50? Anyone here buy that ticket? Oh a lot of
smart people here. I got to the theater and there was a
line about 50 people long to the window. So I figured oh
good, this is a piece of cake. I’ll just go to the
first person here and sell them my tickets. I go, hey do
you want to sell a ticket.. do you want to buy a ticket
for $6.50 instead of $9.50 and they look at me and they
just look the other way. I’m going, no I’m serious.
This is a group activity now just.. give me $6.50 for the
ticket and you save three bucks. Said I’m not interested.
You got to be kidding. So I go to the next person, wasn’t
interested. I think I went through about 15 people before
I could sell a $9.50 ticket for $6.50! Why are people afraid
to save three dollars? They didn’t trust me, did they?
They didn’t trust me. They didn’t believe that
what I was selling them was what I was selling them. And
they didn’t believe me.
the exact situation we face when we look at the financial
guidance that we receive throughout the Bible. The Bible
is perfectly clear. And the math is very simple. And yet
I teach this and I teach it and I continue to teach the
basic principles of foundational, spiritual guidance that
we receive from the Bible. It’s not me, I’m
just reading out of the Bible. And people just don’t
buy it. They don’t believe it. And so I just keep
going to the next one and the next one, sharing the principles
that are within the Bible and letting people know. That
hey you give ten percent to the spiritual guidance that
you receive in life, give ten percent to your church, to
the Hour of Power, and put God to the test and see if He
will not bring blessings upon you that your storehouses
won’t be able to contain it. And I don’t think
they believe me. And I don’t think they believe the
Bible. I don’t think people have enough faith in God
to come through and actually do it. It can’t be more
clear. But it’s like one in ten if I’m lucky
who go and buy it. Say, okay I’m going to start tithing
today. I’m going to make a commitment and I’m
going to start giving ten percent. Some people say it’s
impossible. But it’s absolutely amazing how God works.
I’ve been tithing forever and how does God bless me
I had a flat
tire on my car. Is that a blessing or what? Dog gone it,
now I’ve got to go through the hassle of either calling
AAA which I never do because it takes too long for them
to get there, so it’s easier and faster for me just
to change it myself. So I can do that so fast you can’t
believe it. I’ve changed so many tires it’s
a piece of cake. There’s always construction on my
street so I’m picking up nails all the time. Anyone
know what I’m talking about with that? Oh, it’s
a pain the neck.
So I go out there
and I place the tire real quick, I run down to find out
that the tire is ruined, and I have to buy a new tire. I
also find out that my two front tires are bad so I’ve
got one good tire on my car. And I go in there and I find
out that what do they have? They have a set of tires that
exactly that I needed, used. They had a hundred miles on
them. But he says we’ll give them to you at half price.
And they’re the exact same three tires that I needed.
It couldn’t have been better. I couldn’t have
planned it that way. God gave me a flat tire cause He wanted
to bless me with new tires! And I can go on all day long
talking about how God just continues to bless His people
and the money that I receive just seems to keep stretching
and stretching and stretching and stretching. I don’t
know how it works, I just know it does.
And I know the
Bible is very sincere and real and honest and true. And
God says, “Test Me in this and bring your tithes to
the storehouse and put Me to the test and I see if I will
not bring out such a blessing upon you.” And He does
because life is about opportunities.
talking about finances and money for quite awhile but you
know what? I don’t talk about it half as much as the
Bible does. The Bible talks about it consistently. Let me
continue reading from Timothy here. I’m just going
to share the words of St. Paul to Timothy: “Command
those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant
nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain.
But to put their hope in God who richly provides us with
everything for our enjoyment.” These are not my words.
I am simply reading from the Bible. “Command them
to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous
and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasures
for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so
that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
And I know what
a lot of you are thinking, that’s a good idea. I think
all those rich people should do that. I know that’s
what you’re thinking because every time I meet somebody,
they always refer to other people as being rich. If I meet
somebody who makes, you know the bottom of the barrel are
people who make three hundred and fifty dollars a year.
That’s the bottom of the barrel. Those are the extremely
poverished people. Do you realize that in the world one
in seven people fit into that category? One in seven people
in the world make less than a dollar a day. Now, under those
circumstances, those people look at somebody who makes three
thousand dollars a year, and guess what, they’re rich.
Right? If you made $300 a year and you saw somebody who
made $3,000 a year, you’d be sitting there going now
that guy is rich. And the guy who makes $3,000 a year, what
is he saying? Are you kidding me? I’m dirt poor! And
he looks at somebody who’s making $30,000 a year and
he says now that guy is rich! And he makes ten times as
much money as I do. And the guy who makes $30,000 a year,
he goes, rich? Me rich? Are you kidding? And he looks at
the guy who’s making $300,000 a year and says he’s
rich. And the guy making $300,000 a year, what does he say?
I’m not rich, look at all my debt. I’ve got
my house, my cars, I’ve got the plane, the boat, whatever
it is. I’m not rich. Now he’s rich and he points
to somebody whose making three million dollars a year. And
he says yeah I’m doing okay.
blessed with opportunity. And the greatest gift of all is
the opportunity. The opportunity to receive the knowledge
and the understanding of the opportunities that we have
to be able to exemplify our faith in God by actually doing
something; something that is constructive, something that
is powerful, something that has the ability to change the
world. When you donate money to this ministry, you’re
not only changing the world for you, you’re changing
the rest of the world for God.
I was in Germany
and I received many letters from Germany. Let me share you
with one letter I received. The lady Heidi Scheible. She
said, “I’d like to thank you very much for your
endeavors to help and encourage so many people and also
for bringing so many to the path where they can be and live
with Jesus. We appreciate that you came to this country.
I’m also so thankful to you, I began watching the
sermons in 1989. Way back then there was not the opportunity
here in Germany to watch on the VOX channel, but your enthusiastic
words about Jesus and about faith contributed a great deal
to strengthening my faith as I have lived my first 30 years
of my life in a country where faith has been held back from
people on purpose. I did not have the chance to grow up
in an atmosphere of strong faith. And so during all these
past 17 years, I felt that you, together with your father,
were inspiring me and also were near me during the tough
times. Thank you and best wishes.”
We have the greatest
advantage of all in this country. We have opportunities.
We have the opportunity to accept the grace of Jesus Christ,
to accept the teachings that we find within His Bible, to
stretch our faith and to put God to the test and at the
same time, be a blessing to the world. And so this morning
I challenge you to make a decision to start somewhere. You
start somewhere and then you grow from there. You walk through
the door, you make a commitment, and you say okay Lord,
I’m going to start with one percent or two percent
or five percent, and if your faith is there today to go
to ten percent, the blessings of God will truly overwhelm
Thank You Lord,
for the privilege we have to give. So use us, oh Lord, to
be able to reach as many people as possible with Your good
news through our acts of faith by giving today. We love
You Lord, Amen.