Summary: Priorities, Plans, Commitment
CULTIVATING A GENEROUS HEART - Eagerness to Help
2 Corinthians 9:1-5 (p. 806) June 25, 2017
Let me ask you a question…an important one. When we surrender ourselves to Christ’s Lordship is there anything in our lives that isn’t under His control?
No? What about our families? What about our activities? What about our money?
It’s a touchy subject when we talk about money and giving in the church…There have been charlatans that have used people and taken advantage of the weak, sick, and hurting for money…promising healing while lining their pockets with millions…Because of this, Satan has lied to unbelievers…by telling them “the Church is only after your money.”
So for many, money and giving have become taboo subjects to challenge people on because you don’t want to offend visitors.
The problem with this is: Jesus spoke often and taught often about giving and money.
And, money holds so much power in the world today and in people’s lives, it’s essential we deal with this question…Is my money…is my giving under the Lordship of Christ?
And if it’s not…why not?
Jesus taught this truth…“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
Three verses later He would get even more real…“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24)
Two things cannot have Lordship in your life at the same time. Two priorities cannot guide the reason you live at the same time. Every one of us will choose…If you are a Christ follower…you work for His glory and the advancement of the kingdom of God..It’s your first priority…the first thing you seek. And when we do, God promises to care for us as His children.
Because of this truth I would challenge each of us with this Biblical advice.
I. DON’T LOSE YOUR ENTHUSIASM IN THE MIDST OF REALITY
Let me give you a little background to our text in 2 Cor. 9.
The mother church in Jerusalem is hurting and in need…undergoing severe persecution and unable to care for all those in trouble…So, a plea is put out to “all the churches.” “Help.” We’re going to take up a collection and we’ll come and get it…and during that year the collection of gifts were collected…The Corinthians had been the first to say… “We want to help. We want to give”…so much so, Paul had bragged on them to the Macedonian churches…It stirred others to want to give.
But the Corinthians hadn’t actually given anything yet to help (or at least hadn’t lived up to their commitment). So Paul writes to them and says:
2 CORINTHIANS 8:10-12 (p. 806)
I know your eagerness to help…I saw your enthusiasm when we first asked…now complete it.
[I started cutting all the honeysuckle that was in front of my house last week…Kari got me a machete for the little ones.
SHOW PICTURE OF RICK WITH MACHETE
I used my chainsaw for the big ones…when I started out I was eager…I was enthusiastic…but about halfway through “reality” set in. It was hot, hard and itchy…I finished the job…but because I had made a commitment…not because I was enthusiastic or eager anymore.]
There will be times in our faith when we keep our commitment…because we are people of our word.
I’ve found it’s much easier to tithe 50 cents from the 5 dollars you made mowing the lawn than the $5000 from your $50,000 salary. Maybe your first steps with Christ were so enthusiastic…so eager…but then halfway through your life you get tired, hot and hurt…or the amounts get bigger and you think of what you could do with that money for yourself…and you begin to tip God instead of tithe to God.
Maybe that’s what happened to the Corinthians…a year before they felt the compassion for Jerusalem…a year before they made a commitment to dig deep…to be part of the Kingdom Covenant…but a year’s a long time isn’t it? And now as Titus came to receive the offering…reality hit.
2 CORINTHIANS 8:16-19 (p. 806)
Paul sends Timothy and others, “some from the Macedonian churches” that had been stirred to give by the Corinthians commitment…to Corinth to receive the gift…He doesn’t want the Corinthians to be unprepared or embarrassed…In fact he doesn’t want to be ashamed of how confident he was in the Corinthians.
I get a helpful truth out of this portion of scripture: