Giving

Giving

 

“God loves a cheerful giver” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Rick sipped his coffee absent mindedly, staring off into the distance. It was obvious to Paul that his friend was carrying a burden so he silently prayed before he spoke. God’s wisdom was needed here, not his own.

“ Ok, what is it my friend? Something is troubling you.”

“I’ve put my family into a financial hole, Paul. I wanted to be obedient to God by giving sacrificially and everything fell apart. It’s terrible.”

“What are you talking about, Rick?”

“I went to a meeting with some friends who said I could revolutionize my walk of faith in God by hearing what the speaker had to say. And the guy was an incredible speaker. A true man of faith. He was sharing from his new book and video series, “Give ‘Til It Hurts!; Make God Happy.”

“To be truthful, Paul, I have been struggling with my giving and felt I needed a shot in the arm, something to open my eyes and set me on the right path to giving generously.”

“Why do I feel you’ve left some part out, Rick?”

Rick looked at the floor silently for a few seconds before answering, “I figured that God would bless me in return if I gave more.”

“Bless you in return?”

“Harry, the guy who wrote the book, explained that God is just waiting for Christians to give more so He can release the unlimited blessings from Heaven. He said we can’t outgive God. He gave examples of people who reverse tithe; give 90% and keep ten. And he is one of those people. He said that God is in charge of life and He can bring abundance to us if we are willing to show our faith and love for Him by giving sacrificially.

“I got excited and bought his book and video series right then.”

“How much?”

“Only $295.”

“Did you have the cash?”

Once again, Rick’s eye’s found the floor. “Actually I didn’t but they took cards.” Then he looked at Paul. “It’s a good investment!”

“And how has your life changed, Rick? Has God blessed you for giving sacrificially and buying the book and video series?

Silence as Rick stared at his cooling coffee.

“Considering that God displayed his incredible love for mankind by sending Jesus to be brutalized and murdered on the cross, do you really think that he is waiting for us to give him piles of money as a means of getting bigger piles in return? Surely you cannot believe that God is all about giving us stuff; cars, houses, boats, more clothes, and lots of money.

“If we follow the logic found in Harry’s book and videos, then we should take boxes of his books and videos to the uttermost regions of the world so those people could also be “blessed” by God…if they give sacrificially first.”

“Do you suppose that during the 40 days Jesus was teaching his disciples after His resurrection it was all about giving to get back from God? God wants to make us more Christ-like, not richer. In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul said, “For loving money leads to all kinds of evil, and some men in the struggle to be rich have lost their faith and caused themselves untold agonies of mind.”

Rick gasped as he understood this verse described what had happened to him.

“Let’s look at some verses about giving in the New Testament, Rick. God always provides the needed balance in our lives, according to His Word.

Luke 21:3-4 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Acts 10:4 “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!”

“Notice here that both prayers and gifts are considered an offering to God.”

2 Corinthians 8:12-14 If you are really eager to give, then it isn’t important how much you have to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven’t. Of course, I don’t mean that those who receive your gifts should have an easy time of it at your expense, but you should divide with them. Right now you have plenty and can help them; then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, each will have as much as he needs.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need.

Philippians 4:18-20 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

“Where is our treasure, Rick; In the world or with our Savior Jesus Christ? God is not saying, ‘I hope Rick gives lots of money away so I can give him lots more.’ The widow who gave everything was not sitting gleefully in her home afterwards, waiting for a camel loaded with stuff to appear at her doorstep. She gave out of her love for God. That was between her and God. Her treasure was in worshipping God with her offering.

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