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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Morris » Robert Morris - Financial Unity

Robert Morris - Financial Unity

Robert Morris - Financial Unity
TOPICS: Finance, Money, Relationships, Generosity, Unity

Thank you, thank you so much. I am so honored to be here. This is my church, my home, church home away from church home, and you know, Pastor Chris always gets it wrong. He says you have 24 campuses, but he's not including the 10 campuses that you have in Dallas called Gateway. And so, we're a part of you. So if you'll just adopt us, then we can be a part. You know, we love you very, very much. Debbie and I love Chris and Tammy. The very first time we every met 'em, we fell in love with them, and you know I am as serious as I can be. Do you really realize how blessed you are to have Pastor Chris Hodges as your pastor? I mean, that's just phenomenal, incredible. Such a man of God, such a man of integrity, and so we love you very, very much. So, I get to be a part of the "Extraordinary Relationships" series and I'm gonna talk to you about financial unity.

Now, you need to understand that years ago, they did a survey about the number one cause of divorce and it was communication. I actually disagreed with it, but I didn't say anything. I figured they'd figure it out at some point and they did. They decided to find out what was the number one cause of communication for divorce. Guess what it was? Finances. So this is an important part so whether you're married or not, let me say this to you. You're still married to Jesus and you're part of the body of Christ and he has joined you with brothers and sisters in Christ that can help you be in unity in your finances with them so that they can help you. So this is an area that every person needs.

And when Debbie and I got married, we came from two different backgrounds. Debbie came from a home where, loving God, they went to church, they tithed, great, but both parents worked and they didn't just barely get by, but they barely got by. But I came from a different home and I'm sorry, you're gonna get upset at me about this. I came from a wealthy home. My father owned a company, a very large company. I do know what it's like, though, I do know what it's like to have difficulties. There was a time when our helicopter broke and I had to take the chauffeur. The chauffeur took me to school. So I'm sorry, I understand completely so don't talk to me about suffering for Jesus, you know.

But anyway, and that's not true. That's just a joke, you know that. But my father, though, great Christian man. First Christian in his family. First one to believe in Jesus, first one to go to college, and God blessed him, and one of the reasons God blessed him so much because he was extremely generous. He bought cars for single mothers in our church, he loaned money to people. At one time, he bought a smaller company because the husband, the owner of the company, died in his 50s and he bought the company so that the 24 employees wouldn't be out of work, and he paid the widow for the rest of her life. That's what he did, and over a million dollars by the time she passed away.

So I grew up, yes, in a affluent home, but in a generous home. I watched my father be generous and something happened in my own heart in the area of generosity. I, though, went a different way. My sister was the head cheerleader, she was most popular of the high school. I went very insecure, very inferior, I went into drugs and alcohol. And into immorality, and didn't get saved until I was 19 years old. As a matter of fact, I got saved in a motel room. Not a hotel room. There is a difference. I got saved in a motel room called Jake's Motel, room 12. There were only 13. I took room 12 'cause I thought 13 was unlucky. And they actually provided pets, though. They were about that long and so, anyway, but when I got saved I just got radically saved, and I worked for my father's company and I started trying to share Christ with everyone. I would just be so scared to do it. I used to leave tracts.

I don't know if any of you remember the little tracts, gospel tracts. Do any of you remember that? Y'all, is there anyone older in the... okay, so because I couldn't talk to people. And so I would leave a big tip with a tract and I didn't even know, I remember this guy told me, he said, he asked me about tracts, tracks to me were, you know, things you had on your arms, you know, 'cause I was in drugs and all. Bo, that was our background, so when Debbie and I got married, she had this kind of, we better hold on to it because there might not be enough, and I had this, No, we give and we give generously and we give extravagantly, and so we had some working through some things.

The other thing was that Debbie is a brilliant, brilliant woman, but math was not her subject. And I don't know if any of you can relate to that. But math was my subject. My father, because of his company and because of his intelligence, he's actually a certified genius, but he's a certified mathematical genius. And my son, I have a son who went to Baylor who's also a certified mathematical genius. Both IQs over 200, okay? But apparently, it skips a generation. But numbers add up in my mind without me trying to get 'em to. It just happens if you just start naming numbers, they add up. And so, Debbie and I were buying something one time, right after we got married. We hadn't been married very long, and it was 7 dollars and 99 cents, and the lady at the cash register said, "I'm gonna have to add the tax on the calculator because the cash register's broken". And I said, "It's 66 cents," just that quickly. It's just, that's just normal. It's very simple.

And so I said, "Sixty-six cents". And she looked at me for a moment and then she did her little thing, you know, and then she said, "It's 66 cents". And I said, "Okay," you know. So I got out in the car and Debbie said to me, "How do you do that"? Now, I thought that she was actually asking me how I did it. Now, I didn't realize she was just complimenting her man, you know? And so I did what young husbands do, I was stupid, you know, and I even went farther. You're gonna, in a moment, realize how stupid my answer was. I said, "Well, sugar, 7.99's close to 8. Our tax percent is 8.25, 8 times 8 is 64, a quarter of 8's 2, 64 plus 2 is 66". I said, "That should happen in less than a second in your mind". She said, "It doesn't," and then she said, "but I do know what 25% off means".

So I still think she's thinking math. I've gotten past that now, I understand she's never thinking math. And so, I said to her, I said, "So, if you're buying something for $100," I mean, this is easy, you know, $100 rounding up, you know, this is simple. So I said, "So if you're buying something for $100, say, there's 25% off", I said, "What does that mean"? She said, "It means it's a good deal". And then she said... and again, this is a brilliant woman, just not in math. And so then she said, "And if it's 50% off, it's free". Now, to a mathematician, that, you know, I said, "What"? And she said, she went like this, like, she goes, like I didn't understand math. And she said, "Robert, everybody knows, if something is 50% off, it's buy one, get one..." So she said, "If it's 50% off, it's free". And then she said, "And if it's 75% off, you're making money".

So what that explains is, is that we were not in financial unity when we got married, okay? Let me just say that, all right? But there is a story in the Bible about multiplication and we all know it and I don't want you to shy away from multiplication. It's just where Jesus multiplied two fish and five loaves. But there are two principles in there that will help you and your spouse, or you and your brothers and sisters in Christ, to understand God's math, which is very easy for everyone to understand, okay? So, Luke chapter 9, verse 12. It says: "When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, 'Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.'"

In other words, no, you know, In-N-Outs, no fast food restaurants, all right. "But He said to them, 'You give them something to eat.' And they said, 'Well, we have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.' For there were about five thousand men". Now I need to stop just for a moment. This is called the feeding of the 5,000, but that's a little bit incorrect and misleading because it wasn't 5,000 people. It was 5,000 families. You see, in Jewish culture at that time, the way they counted a crowd, if they counted this crowd right here, they would only count the men. And the reason they would do that is they were counting heads of households. They were counting the men which would give them a very rough estimate of the size of the crowd. Average children at that time was three to four in a Jewish family.

And so, as a matter of fact, this is backed up by the same account, Matthew 14, verse 21: "Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children". So the only reason I'm bringing this out is to let you just know he didn't feed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish; he fed 5,000 families, possibly 20 to 25,000 people. This is a bigger miracle than maybe you realize. Verse 14, again, "He said to His disciples, 'Make them sit down in groups of fifty.'" Just want you to know, Jesus is a mathematician too. All right, so, "And they did so, and made them all sit down. And then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them".

Now, this is not theological, it's just my personal opinion. So, 12 baskets were leftover. Personally, I think Jesus wanted each disciple to have a doggy bag. That just is my personal opinion, okay? But here are some things you might not have noticed about the story. Verse 12 says: "When the day began to wear away". Okay, in the Greek that means when the day began to wear away. In other words, they invited this guest speaker and let's say the service started at 10, and it's gonna be over around 11, 11:15, and at 12 he's still going, and at 1 he's still going, and at 2 he's still... you've already missed the first game. At 3 he's still going, at 4 he's still going, at 5 he's still going, at 6, the Bible says: "When the day began to wear away," okay?

So I like to use my holy imagination. I don't know if you've ever done this. Debbie calls it my human imagination, but I call it holy, okay? But what I like to think about what would I have done had I been in that situation that day? Well, I would have formed a committee, personally. I like committees. And so, I'd have got some people together, some of the disciples. Let's just say the disciples got together and I like Peter, the reason I like Peter is because I feel like the weak parts of Peter are the parts like I am. In other words, Peter normally said the wrong thing at the wrong time, if you study it much, you know.

So I wonder if Peter said something like this: "Guys, I'm about to starve. I mean, it's the longest service I've ever been to in my life. And if I don't eat soon, I'll die. I'll die. I'll die right in the next 12 seconds, I will be dead". And, I'll tell you what else. I think the people might even be getting hungry. And one of 'em, like, John, who was very brilliant, might have said, "That's it". And Peter said, "What's it"? "Let's tell Jesus that the people are getting hungry, because he seems to care a lot about the people. He doesn't seem to care much about us, but he does seem to care about the people".

So now let's imagine that you are the spokesperson. So, see the podium there. Let's say Jesus is at the podium, 25,000 people, and you are elected to go talk to Jesus because the inference from Scripture is that they interrupted his message, okay? So you walk up and you say, "Lord, 'scuse me, Lord, Lord, Lord, 'scuse me. 'Scuse me! Boy, this has been so good today, I tell you, this has just been, oh, this series of messages you're bringing all in one day, it's powerful. But we were thinking that the people are starting to get hungry. Now, I could go all day". I just told the brothers, I said, "I could go all day, listening to this", you know? "I could go all day, Lord. But we think, and the restaurants are about to close, and so we feel like that you should just wrap it up". And Jesus might have said something like, "So y'all are concerned about the people, right"? "Yes, Lord, it's all about the people". And then maybe you've never seen this Scripture. Look at this one, verse 13: "But He said to them, 'Well, then, you give 'em something to eat.'" "'Scuse me"?

See, we read these things in the Bible and because we've read 'em so much we don't read that part. "You give 'em something to eat". And so maybe there was some kid that snuck back into town to, you know, like fish and chips or Long John Silver's or something and he's walking by, and, you know, you grab it and he bought the two-piece meal with extra rolls. And you say, "Well, this is all we got, you know," and maybe someone says, "Hey, that's it, that's our answer". "What's our answer"? "Let's tell Jesus, this is all we have, and he'll let the people go". "That's a good answer".

So, you're, again, you're the spokesperson. You say, "Lord, Lord, 'scuse me, 'scuse me. You know, you know, a moment ago while I was telling you, you know, how good the series is and you said, you know, for us to, you know, give the, you know, people something to eat and we've been working on that, but we only have two... Peter took it from him, Lord, I didn't take it. Just so you know. But we only have two pieces of fish and five rolls, and so we're thinking we should, you know, wrap it up". And the Lord says, "So, let me get this straight. So you have two pieces of fish and five pieces of bread. Is that right"? "Yes, Lord, that's all we have". "Yeah, yeah, that'd be great. Have 'em sit down in groups of 50". "Lord, we don't have a lot of these snack packs. We just... this is the...we only have one. And Peter ate some of one of 'em".

So now, okay, just think for a moment, because here's what we don't quite get. The next, this verse 16, "He blessed them," "them" is a pronoun. It's gonna refer to the five loaves of bread and two fish. "He blessed them and broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude". So I'm wondering even if, like, Peter figured it out and thought, "Well, you know, he's gonna multiply it. When he prays, I bet it multiplies right in front of our eyes". But that's not what happened. So Jesus picks up this piece of bread and says, "Lord, bless it," breaks it and hands half of it back to Peter. "Uh, are you still praying"? "Yeah, I'm through. Just pass it out". "Do you wanna pray some more"? "No".

And he didn't say this. It's the text that implies, but just think this is biblical what I'm saying. He could have said something like, "Peter, I've blessed it. Now watch what happens. I blessed it. Now see what happens when you give it away". Now, personally, I think Peter would have walked up to the first person and said something like this: "Take just a little piece. I said a little piece, pig. What is wrong with you? Just take a little piece". And go down the row, and he gets down to the end of the aisle and there's this little piece of bread left, sweat pouring down his face, and all of a sudden, the bread grows in Peter's hands. You know what I think we missed? The miracle did not happen in the Master's hands; it happened in the disciples' hands.

So, there are two principles of multiplication, two principles of being in unity in your finances, that you need to get. Here's number one: "It has to be blessed before it can multiply". What if the disciples had just given it out before Jesus blessed it? It never would have multiplied. It's the blessing of Jesus that causes it to multiply. And I don't have time to do a whole message on this but, basically, this is what the Bible calls tithing, when you give the first 10% to the body of Christ, to Jesus, then Jesus blesses it and, according to Hebrews 7, Jesus himself receives our tithes and blesses them. So we give the first portion to Jesus, and it's blessed. So it has to be blessed before it can multiply.

Here's point number two: "It has to be given away before it can multiply". What if the disciples, after Jesus had blessed it, had eaten it? It never would have multiplied. Even though it was blessed. Do you know how many people tithe, but don't give over and above the tithe? And yet what they have has been blessed by Jesus and yet they never give it a chance to multiply. So as I said, this is what...I grew up with this. My dad did this. My father was the most generous person I've ever met, you know. And so. I didn't get saved. Again, I went the wrong way, but at 19 I got saved in that motel room.

Well, the first thing I wanted to do was I wanted everybody to get saved. But I couldn't talk. I didn't know how to talk. And So I would just try to share with people, but what I started doing was started leaving like a little gospel tract that would share the gospel. Did you all remember those? I used to share a gospel tract and I'd put, like, a $20 bill in there, even though the meal was $10, just to try to get 'em to read it. And I can remember the first time I ever did that, this lady told me, when we went back to the restaurant, like, a month later, she said, "Hey, I read that little book you gave me, and I gave my life to Jesus. And I called my husband and read it to him, and he gave his life to Jesus". And my wife and I just said, "That's great". And I said, "What do you mean, you called your husband? Was he at work or whatever"? She put her head down and she said, "No, he's in prison".

And a few years later, he got out and my wife and I baptized them together. Both of them got baptized. From me just giving a little $20 bill to her. There's so much to it. And so, Debbie and I just started giving and blessing people and she grew up with this mindset of not having enough to give. I grew up with this to have, giving, having more to give, but when we would talk about it, see, let me say something about this. I see things and she feels things. I make decisions primarily based on what I think. She makes decisions primarily based on what she feels. Mind, will, and emotions. You have a mind, you have emotions, and then you make decisions with your will, see?

And so we are together, though, because I can see how it will work, but if she doesn't feel good about it, I don't do it. She might feel something, but if I don't see how it can work right now, and I can do the math, and I can do it, I say, "Sugar, I can do that in 6 months from now," she'll say, "Fine, let's just wait". Because she understands I can see things she can't see, but I understand she can feel things that I can't feel. You understand? We're a team. It's called relationship. It's called extraordinary relationships. Listen, you're better with someone else than you are by yourself. Do you understand that everything that God created, he said was good, except for one thing. And that was when he was creating man, and here's what he said: "It is not good for man to be alone".

And all you have to do, ladies, is leave for a few days. That's the only thing God created that is not good. It is not good for man to be alone. I don't know if Adam was running around the garden with scissors or what. I don't know. But God basically said, "That's not good". We need relationships. And the only way to have extraordinary relationships instead of ordinary relationships, is to come into unity. And the best thing, the easiest thing to come into unity on is on your finances. Respect one another, respect your differences. So Debbie and I started giving.

Now, you have to understand that I was an evangelist. I wasn't a pastor back then. Back then, I was an evangel evangelist which basically meant that I would go to churches and do revivals. And after I would preach, they would give me love offerings. Some gave me like offerings. Some gave don't like offerings, you know. But I went to this church and there were, like, 60 people and it was the only meeting I had for the whole month. And God spoke to me, "I don't want you to manipulate". And one of the things he told me was, "I don't want you to, from now when someone, a pastor, asks you, 'What are your financial requirements for coming,' you say, 'I have no financial requirements for coming.'"

And evangelists just didn't do that. They used to tell you, "You have to do this and you have to pay this and you have to pay my expenses and you have to pay at least, I need an honorary of at least this much". And God was teaching me to rely on him. So I told this pastor, "I don't have any financial requirements". I don't have financial requirements for coming to this day to a church, none. And God's always just taken care of me. And so, anyway, I told this pastor this. He gets up and tells the whole church, so they give this, he said, "Let's give him a really good love offering". And so, at the end of the service, we're standing in front down here, and they bring him the check they'd counted that the deacons had, or whoever counted the finances. And the pastor looked at the check and he said, "What's that"? He said, "That's the biggest love offering we've ever given".

And he was excited. The givers were excited to give. They don't give begrudgingly. They give cheerfully. So, he said, "Look at that". He said, "I'm so excited. Look, look at that". And I looked at it, and it was enough for the whole month. And this was the only meeting I had, and it was enough for our whole month's budget. But while I'm looking at it, I'm looking at the pastor, and I glance over his shoulder and there is a missionary at the back of the church that had spoken right before I spoke, and the Lord, at least, I guess it was the Lord. I heard this voice say, "Give him the love offering". But I didn't think it was the Lord actually, because what I thought was, "Get behind me, Satan. That's not the Lord".

I even remember telling him, "That's not you, you know, that's not you, because this is what we need for the whole month. You provided this for us". And the Lord said, "I told you that I would tell you what to give, where to give, and when to give". God might tell you just to buy a meal for someone. God might tell you just to take a meal to someone's house. He might just say, "Here, send this car of a word of encouragement with a Scripture in it". It's not always money. Just give. Just be givers. Just be generous people. And so, I endorsed the check and I went to the missionary after the service and I said, "I'm gonna give this to you on two reasons. One, you never tell anyone, and number two, you never ever", and I said, "don't look at the check until after you leave".

And so then, Debbie and I went outside and there were, like, five couples in the parking lot. And they said, "Hey, we're gonna go eat some pizza. Would y'all like to go"? And we said, "Yeah, yeah," you know, 'cause we were broke. And so, we went to eat pizza and so the six guys sat at one end of the table, six guys on the other. These four guys started talking, and then the guy sitting across from me, he started talking to me and he just leans across the table, like this, and he said, "How much was the love offering"? And I was kind of flustered. I thought, "Why is he asking me that," you know? I mean, it's my salary, I mean, why would he ask something so personal, you know? But I told him, and then he said, "Where's the check"? Like that. And so I said, "Debbie has it". And I know you're not supposed to lie but I didn't wanna say, "We gave it to a missionary 'cause we're very spiritual people, you know". I just didn't know what to say. And so, he said, "Go get it, I wanna see it". And so I said, "Okay".

So I went down to where Debbie was at the table and I bent down and I remember I said to her, "How's your pizza? Is it good? Okay, good". There's nothing else to say. There's no check. So I came back and, again, I know you're not supposed to lie, I understand that, but I just said to him, I said, "It's in the car". And he said to me, "It's not in the car". So I said, "Where is it"? I mean, you know, you know so much, pal. I was frustrated, I was frustrated, and I just, you know, I didn't know what was going on. And so he said, "You gave it away, didn't you"? And I said, "How do you know that"? Because see, the missionary and I were the only ones left in the church. He didn't see me do it. I said, "How do you know that"? He said, "God told me". And he reached in his pocket and he pulled out a check that he had written before he came to church, and he held it out.

And as God is my witness and as Debbie is my witness 'cause she knows, and that man's in our church now. I asked him to stand up a while back and verify the story. He did. The check was exactly ten times the amount of the check I'd just given away, exactly. And God started teaching us about giving sacrificially, generously. First thing we did was we bought a car for a lady, a single mom that didn't have a car. We had no car. We had a $750 car we paid cash for 'cause God had told us to get rid of our big car we had a big payment on. And we had a $750 car and we loved that car. We loved it. We prayed over it, we anointed it with oil, about a quart a week. We just loved that car. But God started speaking to give and to give and to give, and we just kept giving and we just kept giving. And then all of a sudden, the Lord spoke to me one day in my quiet time.

I was reading Philippians 2 that God gave up everything. He gave up everything when he left heaven, became a servant, became obedient unto death, humbled himself. And the Lord said to me, "Would you give me everything"? Now, I don't... can I just say something? I don't recommend it, okay? The reason I don't recommend that is I recommend giving everything God tells you to, but I don't recommend giving everything, 'cause people will do that sometimes because they hear my story and they think, "Well, I wanna get, you know, blessed like that too," okay? "But you only get blessed by obedience, so just do what God tells you to do, don't do what God told me to do".

So I went to Debbie and I'd grown up with a lot of finances and she'd grown up with very little finances. And I said, "I have to tell you what I think God told me, but if you don't feel good about it, I won't do it". And my beautiful wife said, "What did God tell you to do"? I said, "I think we're supposed to give everything away. I think we're supposed to give everything in our checking account, everything in our savings account, everything in our retirement account. I think we're supposed to give both cars, and I think we're supposed to give our house away". And she said, "I think that's the most exciting thing I've ever heard in my life". And so we did. We gave our house to a pastor who had five kids that didn't have a house. And we gave everything we had away.

And a few days later, I'm reading about Solomon. It's a real famous story about Solomon. It's the time when God said to Solomon, "Ask anything you want and I'll give it to you". You remember that? "Ask anything you want and I'll give it to you". And I remember thinking, "It said at night, the Lord appeared to Solomon, in a dream, at Gibeon, and said, 'Ask anything you want and I'll give it to you.'" And I remember thinking, you know, I just had a thought, "What happened that day"? That happened at night. What happened during that day? Well, go back and read it. It was tradition for the king to sacrifice one bull on the day he was inaugurated king, which that was the day. But Solomon sacrificed 1,000 bulls. And that's the way you measured a king's wealth; three ways: land, gold, and bulls. So he gave a third of his wealth away. And I just thought, "Wow, God, that's just amazing that he gave so much and so extravagantly".

Now listen to what I feel like the Lord told me. He said, "I never say to selfish people, 'Ask anything you want,' because I can't trust them. I couldn't trust them with that". He said, "But I always say to extravagant givers, 'Ask anything you want.'" And I wasn't even thinking that three days before, we had just given everything away, and the Lord said to me, "Ask. Ask anything you want". And I knew exactly what I wanted. Just like that, I knew. Because you gotta remember, I didn't get saved till I was 19. I got married at 18 to this beautiful Christian girl 'cause I knew I needed to get my life right and I thought that'll help me get my life right. But I didn't get saved until 9 months after we got married.

And I need to be very vulnerable with you right now. I was unfaithful, and Debbie didn't know it and I thought I'm gonna have to tell her at some point and when I tell her, I'm gonna lose my marriage. And so when the Lord said, "Ask anything you want," I said, "God, I want for Debbie and I to be madly and passionately in love for the rest of our lives. I don't wanna lose my marriage". And this spring, we celebrate 43 years of marriage. You can have extraordinary relationships.

I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. And I want you to just ask the Holy Spirit in your heart, you don't need to say it out loud, just in your heart, would you just ask God, "What are you saying to me through this message"? Just take a moment, say, "What are you saying to me through this message"? And God might impress you with something right now. Or he might speak to you this week or three weeks from now. But just keep asking him until he impresses you. Every time Pastor Chris opens the Word to us, God is wanting to say something specific to you. So what's God saying through an ordinary person to you today? And there's one thing that's extraordinary about my life, and that's I gave my life to Jesus.

Lord, I just pray for all of my brothers and sisters and I ask you in Jesus's name that we will have extraordinary relationships and I pray, Lord, we will have financial unity in Jesus's name, amen.

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