Giving - Part 3
Last 2 weeks I shared about how our giving should be:
Proportionate - it’s not the amount but the proportion of our income that we give.
Lavish - Mary poured out an alabaster jar full of perfume and Jesus commended that as beautiful.
“(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”
Galatians 2:8-10 ESV
The apostles recognized the call on Peter and Paul but also said to remember the poor. It is heart-wrenching to see the poverty in our country. We live wonderful lives, but the need is great!
As we give towards the kingdom and towards the poor, we are storing our riches in heaven.
When it comes to giving, there are different kinds of responses. But when we encounter Jesus, our heart is transformed. How do we know if someone’s heart is transformed? What instrument do we use? There is no oximeter to check the transformation in someone’s heart. But Jesus says, where your treasure is, there your heart is also. So if you want to see if your heart is truly in the kingdom, look at your giving.
“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."”
Luke 19:8 ESV
What we know about Zacchaeus is that he is not just a tax collector, but a chief tax collector. The tax collectors were notorious in taking money from people with unrighteousness. They were called crooks and cheats. But then he met Jesus and his life changed. How do we know he put his faith in Jesus?
He calls his Lord
There was lavish generosity towards the poor
He wants to make restitution and make things right.
How you handle money is the thermometer of our heart. “And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”
Luke 19:9 ESV
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,”
2 Corinthians 8:1-3 ESV
Firstly, giving is an act of grace.
There are 3 stages to giving:
Not able/ willing to give
Giving what you’re able to
Giving even more than what we think we are able to.
Is your giving costly or comfortable?
Is it beyond my ability?
“begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”
2 Corinthians 8:4-5 ESV
Our giving is a privilege. Everything comes from God.
“But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.”
2 Corinthians 8:7 ESV
“I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:8-9 ESV
The reason for our giving is Jesus himself. Jesus set aside his riches and came down in poverty, in humility. As we give like Jesus, we will also join him in his riches.
Our giving is like sowing and reaping. As we give, we sow. A farmer knows about sowing. When he gets a crop, he can eat the seed or sow it back.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV
The principle is this - the return is proportional to the seed that is sown. Ask if you’re sowing generously.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV
God's promise is to give us grace in every area of our life.
“He who supplies seed to the Sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:10- 11 ESV
This is another promise of God. The blessing of God is not to make a name for ourselves but to produce thanksgiving to God.
“By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:13-15 ESV
God has blessed us with his great salvation. There are needs all around us. God has said that as we give proportionately and generously, and take hold of his promises, the grace of God comes in. Giving involves faith.