Thursday, May 26, 2011

ON GIVING AND BEING GENEROUS



At the Youth Meeting at Word Of Grace last week, we continued our discussion on the topic of Finance. The focus of the discussion revolves around “Generosity and Giving”. We were provoked to think beyond ourselves, our wants and greed. As young people who have been working a few years, we now have the experience of earning their own money. One has also developed certain spending habits and an attitude toward money which are not necessarily biblical. 

 As Christians every aspect of our lives needs to be under the Lordship of Jesus which means we seek to only do His will no matter which area of our life it is. It is amazing how slow we are to surrender the purse strings to Jesus, the One who sustains all things by His powerful Word and that includes our jobs, and our very lives. Will we allow Him to challenge our spending habits? Will we allow Him to challenge our giving?

 We live in a world that focuses on self gratification as being one of the highest priorities an teaches us to spend an indulge the flesh, to be self absorbed and self focused. Little thought is given to charity, generosity, helping those in need, giving to God beyond the regular tithe. As Christians we need to excel in giving in every way – be it our money, time, talent, resources, processions, our very selves. The best example is found in our Lord Jesus who gave his very life for us.

We need to remind ourselves that we are to be good stewards of what God has given us and that one day we will have to give the Lord a full account of every area of our lives.
One of the quotes read out: “I hate to say it, but single people are some of the most selfish people on the planet. We’re all selfish, I get that. But singles excel in this vice (I know I did). You’re in a season of your life in which you have a lot of time and (often) excess money to manage. What you do set the course for the next twenty years.” (Jamie Munson- Money: Gift or God. pg89)

Some questions to ask ourselves to check our Generosity Quotient and attitude toward money:
  • 1.      How generous am I toward God – do I only give the bare minim Tithe or do I seek to increase that amount as an act of faith? Am I generous with the offerings(which apart from the tithe) I put into the church?
  • 2.      When was the last time I blessed someone who is unable to reciprocate in a similar manner?
  • 3.      Am I mindful of the needy in my family and my church? Have I done anything to improve their situation apart from pray?
  • 4.      When I go out with friends, do I wait for someone else to pay the bill or am I quick to offer to pay. (An indication is how quickly or slowly your hand reaches for your purse). While friends may go “Dutch”, are there occasions when I want to bless my friends and I am willing to foot the Bill?
  • 5.      How quick am I to make my contributions towards costs that are being split between friends or am I hoping they forget about me eg) Splitting the bill for a meal, a contribution towards a gift etc.
  • 6.      When there is a call for a special offering at church for a cause, a project, do I give the least possible amount that I can get away with or do I ask the Lord to help me be generous and give with a large heart?
  • 7.      What about the domestic help we employ – are we aware of their special needs like sickness, school fees etc (they do not get medical cover like some of us do). Do we seek to help them beyond the meager pay they get for cleaning our homes?
  • 8.      Am I in debt? Do I spend more than I earn? Am I in the habit of borrowing money from others and then am either slow in paying it back or not at all by conveniently forgetting about it? Am I in the habit of “bumming” things off others?
  • 9.      When in a group, do I just buy refreshments for myself or do I offer to buy some of the others as well?
These are a few pointers.  Allow the Holy Spirit to search and instruct your heart. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself and then obey the prompting of the Lord. Your life will be greatly blessed and enrichened by it.


Remember the Lord Jesus is committed to making us more like him in every area of our lives. We are being changed from one degree of glory to another and His grace will see us through. We don’t struggle on our own. His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.
      
Make giving and generosity a life style and not something you do once in a while.
 Here are some quotes from the Bible and elsewhere to help you ponder on this topic
  • ·          “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you– Luke 6:37-38
  • ·         One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. ” – Prov. 11:24
  • ·          ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’- Acts 20:35
  • ·         God loves a cheerful giver. - 2 Corinthians 9:7
  • ·         Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done-- Proverbs 19:17
Quotable Quotes
  • ·         The smallest good deed is worth a thousand grand intentions
  • ·         He, who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything.Samuel Johnson
  • ·         There are three kinds of givers -- the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?
  • ·         Giving with glad and generous hearts has a way of routing out the tough old miser within us. Even the poor need to know that they can give. Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed. -- Richard J. Foster, Money, Sex & Power.
  • ·         Giving is the highest expression of potency. --Erich Fromm
  • ·         If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. --Bob Hope
  • ·         “No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor is the reward for what he gave.
  • ·         You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving.

Let’s aim to be the best givers we can possibly be.