Summary: God calls each of us to the Adventure of Life He has set before us. Everyone has his or her own path, but we all have the same call. Today we examine the call to generous giving.
Choose Your Own Adventure
“Be a Philanthropist!”
Last week we began our series on the ways God calls us to the Adventure of Life he has set before us. Everyone has his or her own path, but we all have the same call. Today we look at the “Life of the Philanthropist!”
1. a desire to improve the material, social, and spiritual welfare of humanity, especially through charitable activities
3. general love for, or benevolence toward, the whole of humankind (formal)
Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
I understand this sounds like “Human Services Part Two”, but when I think of a Philanthropist, I think of someone who doesn’t just give, but gives generously.
We think of Philanthropy as someone with an abundance of wealth that gives from this unending source material. But I can think of several examples of those who give generously, but had barely any material goods (if any). ie: Missionaries, etc.
Today God is beckoning us to walk the path of the Generous Giver…
1. A Heart Condition
Ask yourself this question: How do I view giving?
- Payment for Punishment?
The truth is our perception of giving (aside from generous giving) begins within our heart. Whatever circumstances, stories or experiences have shaped this perception, it all flows from here.
So for the sake of discussion, I’m going to ask you put aside whatever pre-conceived notions or motivations that you have of giving, and let’s look at the purpose behind giving through God’s Eyes as a foundation for generous giving:
A. Acknowledge God
“We are never more like God than when we give.” - Charles R. Swindoll
The Required Biblical Standard—“Tithe”—“First Fruits”
Leviticus 27:30 (NLT)
One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy.
Giving your First Fruits means you are acknowledging God’s ownership of all you have:
- It means you are NOT giving God your leftovers… ?
- It means your gift to God is NOT an afterthought… ?
- YOUR GIFT TO GOD is something you’ve planned
When we give, we need to do so acknowledging that everything we have is not ours.
B. Honor God
Deuteronomy 14:23 (NLT)
Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.
Giving to God places God in first place and our Tithe then becomes an act of worship, teaching us reverence and position!
C. Trust God
The story’s told of a man who wanted to take his Uncle Dudley on a plane ride. ?This was years ago, when planes were still a novelty. ?It was Uncle Dudley’s 75 birthday and his nephew said “How would you like to go up with me?” His uncle agreed and they went up and circled the old man’s farm. When they set down, the nephew asked “Were you scared, Uncle Dudley?”? “No…, but I never did put my full weight down.”
Contributed by Jeff Strite via sermoncentral.com
“Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith.”
- Hudson Taylor
So now our giving becomes something more than just giving back, but rather giving while trusting God is going to provide for all my needs!
This is how God perceives giving, but what about giving…
2. Above and Beyond
Ray Stedman shared the true story of a man who lived in Houston that received a letter from a large international radio broadcast seeking support from Christians for their broadcasting. They sent out a letter - the kind that is double-spaced, every sentence is a paragraph, and they underline part of it, etc…?
The appeal of the letter was that God cannot be out-given, that if you give to God, he will give back to you. They announced that they needed a certain tremendous sum of money to maintain their broadcast. They had figured the number of their listening audience and they said in the letter that, if every person who heard their broadcasts would send in $76, this need would be met. Furthermore, they would guarantee, on the principle that God cannot be out-given, that he would find a way to give that $76 back three times over.?
This was, therefore, the appeal of the letter: Send us the $76 and God will give it back to you; just watch how he does it. ?