Stewardship Resource

First, You’d Better Buy a Semi (Go ahead – Test God!)

Sermon  Sermon
  • Author: Ordained in 1951, George Haynes is a mission developer for Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rockport, Texas. He is an ELCA Stewardship key leader.
  • Updated: 06/04/2008
  • Copyright: George Haynes,
    P.O. Box 301,
    109 Peach Tree Drive,
    Rockport TX 78381

"All of those passages that tell you not to test the Lord ... put those out of your mind, and just listen to me now."

"With all of the strength and courage I can possibly muster, I'm telling you to go ahead and do it -- test God! Put God to the test!"

"And here's a promise to go with that invitation, too ... When you do put the Lord to the test, not only will you get away with it, but you and your life will experience an overflowing blessing because you did test God!"

"It is God's own promise, that when you do put God to the test, God will open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing."

"From my own experience, I am absolutely convinced that God's greatest delight consists in pouring out one blessing after another blessing after another upon his children -- way beyond even the fondest of expectations."


[Editor's note: The following sermon is not a "get rich quick" message. To interpret it in that manner would be to misconstrue the intent of the preacher and the testimony of Scripture. Pastor Haynes is an ardent proclaimer of a God who abundantly gives blessings. He never claims that to tithe means you will financially profit.]



First, You'd Better Buy a Semi
(Go ahead -- Test God!)

"Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing" (Malachi 3:10).

Remember there in the wilderness, when Jesus was being tempted by the devil? Jesus' quick, sharp reply at one point was, "It is written, 'you shall not test the Lord your God.'"

Forget Jesus ever said that. Forget everything you've ever read in Holy Scripture that says you should not test God. Forget all those sermons when you were told that if you do test God, the consequences will be terrible.

St. Paul sternly warns the Corinthians about that: "We must not put the Lord to the test as some of them did, and they were destroyed by serpents."

All of those passages that tell you not to test the Lord ... put those out of your mind, and just listen to me now. With all of the strength and courage I can possibly muster, I'm telling you to go ahead and do it -- test God! Put God to the test!

And here's a promise to go with that invitation, too ... when you do put the Lord to the test, not only will you get away with it, but you and your life will experience an overflowing blessing because you did test God!

Now before you go running to a phone and call my bishop to accuse me of heresy, let me tell you what the bishop's reply will be: "You do what George is encouraging you to do -- put God to the test; George knows what he's talking about."

Because George isn't inviting you to test God -- God is! And it isn't George's promise that you and your life will experience an overflowing blessing if you do put God to the test -- that is God's promise!

Now you're not sure who to listen to, are you? You're not sure, now, what to believe, are you?

Listen to God! Believe God's word! Because not only does God invite you to put him to the test; God also promises that when you do put God to the test, you and your life will be abundantly blessed!

Don't take my word for that. Take God's word for that ... and here is God's word -- indeed, here is God speaking: "Put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing."

There it is -- God personally inviting you to put him to the test. And with it is God's own promise, that when you do put God to the test, God will open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing.

I want you to hear that promise again: "See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing."

That is not only a promise -- it is a promise from God! I come down hard on that, because every single time God makes a promise, God keeps the promise!

The Old and New Testaments are crammed with promises from God ... and every single time God has promised, God has delivered!

God has kept his promises -- every one of them! God has always done what God has said he would do.

God has never once reneged on a promise. God has always come through according to his word -- always ... in spades!

Because that has been true with every other promise of God, you can count on God to come through on every part of this promise as well.

I want to be sure you have really heard this promise from God. It is such a magnificent promise, a promise so packed with possibilities that I don't want you to miss a single part of it.

Here is that promise again, and as you listen, I want you to hear three words leap right out and grab your imagination. Here's the promise: I will open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing."

Did you hear the fantastic dimensions of this promise?

The blessings God is just waiting to give are so many, so numerous, so multitudinous, so voluminous, so countless in number, so far beyond measure that it takes floodgates to hold them in check.

Have you ever been present at a large dam when the floodgates were opened?

If you have, you'll never forget it. First, the claxon or siren sounds its loud warning. Boaters in the immediate vicinity crank up their motors and get out of there as fast as they can! People fishing on the rocks below the dam grab all of their gear and scramble up the rocks until they are above the guardrail.

Again the claxon or siren. The floodgates open and torrents of water cascade in such volume that it is measured in thousands of cubic feet per second -- such volume that the very earth on which you are standing trembles!

That gives you a nice little glimpse of the volume of blessings packed into this promise of God: "I will open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing."

If you are even the least bit acquainted with the living God, you know very well that when it comes to mercies and blessings and gifts and love and goodness and grace, God never deals with itsy-bitsies or teeny-weenies; with God it is never, "just give them a quick whiff as it goes by" or a stingy sample. With God it is never bare minimums or just enough to get by.

With God, it is feeding 5,000+ people on a hillside until they are "stuffed," and then the Lord's helpers gather up 12 baskets full of food that hasn't even been touched yet!

See ... that is what God promises you here -- that God will pour out for you.

Want to see that again? The day of Pentecost, when all of the believers are gathered together in one place, there came "a sound like a mighty, violent wind ... the whole house filled ... [with] tongues of flame resting on each one of them ... and they were all ... filled with the Holy Spirit."

See ... that is what God promises you here ... that God will pour out for you an overflowing blessing.

From my own experience, I am absolutely convinced that God's greatest delight consists in pouring out one blessing after another blessing after another upon his children -- way beyond even the fondest of expectations.

St. Paul was convinced of that same thing. Listen to what he writes in 2 Corinthians 8: "God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you not only have enough of every-thing you need, but in such abundance that there is enough for sharing with other people."

Jesus describes the overflowing blessing God pours out upon you in this way: "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, it will be put into your lap."

"Go ahead," says God. Please! "Put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out for you an overflowing blessing." Not only does God give you this magnificent promise, but God also tells you straight out how it can be yours -- all of it!

"Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the floodgates ... "

It is such a simple thing God asks us to do -- to "bring the full tithes into the storehouse." And God even gives you the tithe to bring! That's how eager God is to pour out this overflowing blessing upon you.

God gives you the key to unlock the door. God gives you the combination to the lock. God gives you the very ticket you need for admission -- and lets you win the door prize, besides!

Think of this ... think of how incredible easy and simple it is to cash in on this magnificent and marvelous promise of God: "Bring the full tithes into the storehouse."

And God is so eager to pour out for you this overflowing blessing, God so desperately wants you to have this blessing, that God not only gives you the tithe to get it -- but ten times the tithe!

All you have to do is to take one-tenth of that 10 tenths God gives you and return it directly to the Lord -- and this overflowing blessings is yours!

No, I'm not kidding you one bit -- and neither is God. All you have to do is to take 10 percent of that 100 percent God gives you and just give it back to God. You will quickly see that this is not a matter of arithmetic at all; it is a matter of faith.

It is a matter of trusting that God will keep his promise. It is a matter of believing that when you do take that 10 percent and return it to the Lord that God will not only pour out for you an overflowing blessing, but that it will also make it possible for you to live -- and to live very well -- on the 90 percent that is left.

Let me tell you from my own experience: You will live every bit as well as you are living now -- and then some! You are also going to discover a quality of life and a richness of life you ever dreamed existed! One of those "overflowing blessings" you are going to discover is the sheer joy that comes from giving.

I can promise you that through giving, you will know some of the most satisfying and fun experiences you will ever have.

Go ahead -- accept God's invitation. Put God to the test. "Bring the full tithes into the store house."

But before you do, you'd better go buy yourself a semi, a big 18-wheeler -- because God isn't kidding.

God will keep his promise. God will open the floodgates of heaven for you and God Will pour out for you an overflowing blessing.

As one of my friends in Louisiana would say, "I goruntee it." And so does God!



For more sermons by George Hayes, click on
First You'd Better Buy a Semi and Eight Other Stewardship Sermons

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