Sermon Illustrations

LIVING POOR TO GIVE MORE: EXCELLING IN GIVING

The richest people in the world give a huge amount of money, yet their generosity is really a very small proportion of their wealth. And apparently the vast majority of Christ’s followers are not exactly excelling their giving either. So what does excelling in generosity look like? What does it mean to overflow with generosity?

In 2005 Thomas Cannon died. He was 79. When he was three years old his father died, his mother remarried and raised their family in a three-room shack without running water or electricity.

As an adult, Thomas went to work for the postal service. He never made more than $25,000 a year. Upon retirement, he and his wife lived in poverty. Yet, over the course of his life, he gave away more than $156,000. His gifts were mainly in the form of checks in the amount of $1,000 to people he read about in the newspaper who were going through hard times.

His biographer commented, "Not many people would consider living in a house in a poor neighborhood without central heat, air conditioning, or a telephone, and working overtime so they could save money to give away."

(Thomas Cannon had Little Money to Give," Omaha Sunday World Herald, July 2005, p. 13A; Margaret Edds, "Cannon’s Canon," HamptonRoads.com, 7/24/05. From a sermon by Monty Newton, "Asking for Money: Biblical Principles for Generosity" 6/28/2009)

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