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Summary: This sermon explores the benefits of generosity in various areas of our life including the stewardship of our time and money and how we can cultivate a generous spirit.

Cultivating Generosity

II Cor. 9:11

6-9-02

Intro:

1. What would you think of a preacher who at offering time stood by the offering plate and carefully examined how much each person was giving?

Suppose I stood up here as we were bringing our offerings and took each check—opened it up—looked at it and passed a judgment about the gift right here in public?

2. That’s pretty close to what Jesus did in Mark 12:41-44 (Read)

Mark 12:41-44 “41Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." NKJV

Someone has said, “God measures our giving not so much by what we give as by what we keep.”

Here was a person who didn’t have much to give but gave it all.

Jesus commended her—not for her poverty, but for her willingness to give sacrificially.

3. It is amazing how direct Jesus was in his teachings about money.

It was Jesus who said, “You can not serve God and Money.” Matt.6:24

Life is full of decisions about God verses Money:

--Little decision of honesty in our daily business.

--Sometimes Big decisions when we come to a Fork in the Road of life.

We come to a fork in the road—one sign says this way to “Money” other sign says this way to “God”

We have to Choose in order to proceed in life.

4. According to Jesus, our attitude toward money has great Spiritual Significance.

Jesus gave 38 parables and 16 deal with money. There is more discussion in the New Testament about money than heaven & hell combined. You’ll find 5 times more discussion on money than prayer. There are a little over 500 verses on prayer and faith and over 2000 verses on money & possessions. (1)

5. Money is where the “rubber meets the road” in our daily lives. The way we handle our money is a good indicator of where heart really is.

Jesus said, “… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:21

Even the world knows: “Talk is cheap”

Their motto is “Put your money where your mouth is.” And in a way that’s what Jesus had to say about money.

Anybody can say, “I love God & I love my brothers and sister in Christ.”

But how we use our money is the acid test of that.

Does my CHECKBOOK say “I love God…brothers & sister …” or does it say “I love pleasure & things”?

6. Greatest Battle any of us face is the battle with own selfishness.

On the one hand, we love God—do want to serve Him—we do want to please Him.

On other hand, it just seems we don’t quite ever have enough for ourselves.

There are things we would like to do that cost money.

There are things we would like to have that cost money.

So, the stewardship of finances can be a real struggle at times.

7. I come to this subject today with TWO ASSUMPTIONS:

--God wants each & every one of us to discover and live in the joy of generosity.

-- We really do have a desire for that even though there are struggles we all have to deal with.

8. I have taken as our Subject: Cultivating a generous spirit.

Now, a generous spirit will not just manifest itself in finances. It will manifest in every aspect of our lives. It will manifest in the way use and invest our time. It will manifest in our demands toward other people. It will manifest in our service toward other people.

But, none of those substitutes for way we use our money!

Regardless of what’s going on in these other areas, the stewardship of money will express either a “Stingy” heart or a “Generous” heart.

** How can we as God’s People Cultivate a Generous spirit?

Let’s look at II Cor. 9:11 for part of the answer to that question.

In this chapter Paul is talking specifically about financial giving and

In verse 11 he says, “while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

My oldest daughter (Karol) gave Jeanie a book that has a paraphrase of this verse by LeAnn Weiss that I believe captures marvelously what Paul was saying. We will use it as our Text: II Corinthians 9:11

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