Summary: Part of being the salt of the world is being ready to give sacrifically, abundantly, liberaly, and tenderly.
Are We Ready To Give?
Preached by Pastor Tony Miano
Pico Canyon Community Church
February 18, 2001
Introduction: We’re going to continue our study on giving this morning. Last week we looked to God’s Word for some perspective about what a rich person actually looks like, and we considered if it was possible to be too rich to give. This morning we’re going to get into more of the nuts and bolts of the subject of giving as we try to answer the question, “are we ready to give.”
Our text, again, for this morning, will be First Timothy 6:17-19. But our focus is going to be on verse eighteen. “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life in deed.”
Last week we considered our attitude toward giving. This week we’re going to consider our aptitude for giving. Noah Webster, in the 1828 edition of his dictionary, defined “aptitude” this way: “A natural or acquired disposition for a particular purpose, or a tendency to a particular action or effect.”
I want to spend a few minutes taking a closer look at this definition and how we can related it to giving, because I think it will help set the stage for the rest of our study. Some people are predisposed or gifted as givers. Others learn to give as a result of teaching or modeling in the area of giving. Still others are the type of people who just have a tendency to give.
Those who have a predisposition toward giving are those who God has wired to be that way. When speaking of Christians, these would be the people who have given from the moment they came to faith in Christ as if it were something they had always naturally done. In Romans 12, we see giving listed among the spiritual gifts. In verse eight we read, “or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:8).
The NASB uses the word “liberality,” which more literally translates as “simplicity.” Those who have the spiritual gift of giving make giving look simple. For these people, giving is easy. They do it without grumbling or disputing. They do it without ulterior motives or placing conditions for how their giving is used. They give whether or not anyone is watching them or anyone notices the size of the gift. They can be counted on to give whenever a need arises.
A second group of people with an aptitude for giving is those who have been taught how to give. For most people, giving is a learned response to the meeting of needs. The idea of sacrificial giving to a church or participating in other forms of benevolence is not a natural thing for most people. Most people, probably most of us here today, give because we were taught that it is the obligation, responsibility, and privilege of the believer to give to further the Lord’s work.
The third group of people with an aptitude for giving is probably the most inconsistent of the three. These are the people who have a tendency to give. Now, the word “tendency” means to drift toward a particular goal or action. Believers who fall into this group probably lack a certain amount of maturity in their faith. They may be new believers who are in the process of learning the importance of giving and stewardship.
Those who only have a mere tendency to give will often give when they’re compelled to do so. They give because they see others giving. Those who have a tendency to give will often have a tendency to stop giving if there are negative changes to their comfort level or if they decide that something they want is more urgent than giving to the Lord’s work.
I want you to keep these definitions in mind as we go through our study. I want you to do an honest self-assessment and decide into which group you would place yourself. Do you have the spiritual gift of giving? Have you learned to give consistently and cheerfully? Or do you have a tendency to give inconsistently.
In verse eighteen Paul gives us four things each of us should do if we want to develop an aptitude for genuine giving in our lives. We’re going to use the word “salt” as an acrostic to help us remember these very important principles.