The Essentials: Giving

Martin Luther said that a man needs to experience 3 kinds of conversions:  one with his head, one with his heart, and one with his wallet.

#1:  Giving much is not based on having much (8:1-3)

You don’t have to be rich to be generous, but you do have to be generous to be rich.

 

#2:  Giving should come from a desire to give (8:4… 8, 10, 12; 9:5, 7)

Not guilt, not self-righteousness, not to control the church, not to impress others (or God).  Giving is driven by joy and joy is derived from giving.

 

#3:  Give yourself to God first before you give your gift (8:5)

Two dangers:  1) giving your money but not your heart.  That gets you no credit with God and is hollow, insincere religion.  2) Not giving – which indicates a person has not given their heart to God first.  Giving yourself to God means devoting yourself to Him to be used by Him for His purposes.  In that all-encompassing scope your finances are included, and, are actually viewed as His finances.  

 

#4:  Get better at giving (8:7)

Give more, practice trusting God by giving more, have goals of getting at giving…go from 0% to 2%, from 2% to 5%, etc.  

 

#5:  Give because of sincere love and earnestness (8:8)

The point in this passage is that the Corinthians had made a promise to give, and, Paul wanted them to follow through on that promise.  It’s easy to have good intentions in the beginning and feel like doing something good up front. But on the back end, when its time to follow through on that promise, we may not feel the same.  Paul wanted them to make good on their promise, to make sure they gave as they so enthusiastically promised they would.

 

The sincerity is not in good intentions.  They sincerity is to do the good you intended.  

 

#6:  Give because Jesus gave (8:9)

As every area of living the Christian life, so too giving is based on the example of our Lord.  He traded His riches in for poverty in order that we may become rich.

 

#7:  Give out of what you have, don’t refrain from giving because of what you don’t have (8:11-12)

I think we need to mention something here. Small wages don’t mean small worship. Giving is an act of worship, and a man’s worship is in no way hindered by his lack of a bigger income. His worship is only hindered by his want of a bigger income.

 

Scripture gives us an illustration of how the poor can give more.

*Mark 12:41-44, How the poor give more: the money may be less, but the sacrifice is more. The rich people’s offering was worth more to the temple, but, the widow’s offering was worth more to her. Her offering cost her more even though it was less than the others.

 

People sometimes say they wish they had lot’s of money to give to the church, as if the only fragrant, acceptable and pleasing giving includes lots of zero’s in the check.

 

But, Jesus measures the giving not by how much others receive from us, but, by how much we give of ourselves. God is glorified in the cost to us. Someone said, “If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving.” The widow gave all she had to live on. Do we give until it costs us? Do we give out of our plenty, or, do we give out of our poverty? That’s why it’s called sacrifice. There’s a certain point when giving requires faith. Giving in faith glorifies God.

 

#8:  Give because you care about Christianity and Christians (8:13-15)

We must allow ourselves to be burdened by our brothers and sisters when they are in need.

 

This past week a couple people came to my aid in a very practical, and very helpful way.  They have given me the opportunity to not only experience this very point in the sermon, but, also, to give God glory for the concern they showed me and my family.   

 

#9:  Leadership handles finances responsibly (8:16-24)

 

#10:  Get yourself in order so you can give (9:3-5)

God is a God of order, and, the Christian life should reflect that.  Life can get messy and hectic, but, there’s a difference between the mess life throws at you and just simply living disorderly.

 

#11:  Give trusting God will give to you (9:6-11)

Seek to “get” so that you can give.

 

#11.5:  Give to Build Your Reward

Build your treasures in heaven.  Your HRA: Heavenly Retirement Account.

 

#12:  Give so others give glory to God (9:12-15)

 

Giving Robbers:

  • Greed.  Focused on getting and not concerned with giving.
  • Discontentment.  Not being happy with what we have and always buying things and so not having anything to give God.  Too focused on what we don’t have to focus on giving. You don’t have to have money to love it. When a man loves money and wealth and achievement, when he’s trying to keep up with Jones’s and out-do them, that man will never be satisfied. That man will live loving things; he will labor for things, and he will ultimately lose out on life. Proverbs says that “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy – discontentment – will rot the bones.”  Do you find your bones rotting in some way because of discontentment? Are you unsatisfied with what you have, or where you are at, or who you are with? Have you ever thought “My job isn’t enough. My income isn’t enough. My spouse isn’t enough. My image isn’t enough. My parents aren’t enough. What I have isn’t enough. I want and I need more – and I won’t be happy unless I have it.” Discontentment can spoil a life. Benjamin Franklin said, “Contentment makes a poor man rich, and, discontentment makes a rich man poor.”  
  • Debt.  Mismanaging our money and not being able to give.
  • Selfishness.  Its my money, I earned it.  Your abilities and opportunities to make money come from God.  Think about that.
  • Unplanned.  Giving is an afterthought.  Quick grabbing some bills or change during the service.  Make a budget, determine how much you want to give, and are able according to your means, make it meaningful by praying over it and telling God this is what you’re worshipping Him with.  Plan to give. Plan to be ready to give.

 

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