Summary: Second in stewardship series. This message discusses generosity in giving.
Following Jesus with Your Finances
Part 2 - The Right Motivation for Giving
March 13, 2011
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Audio of this message can be heard at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org.
Me: We’re in the second of a four-part series on following Jesus with our finances.
Our emphasis for 2011 is following Jesus in every area of our lives, and money is definitely a part of our lives, right?
Anybody here over the age of 12 that didn’t think about money yet today?
Money has a grip on our lives, mine included, and we need to see what it means to follow Jesus with our finances, since Jesus has a lot to say about money.
We’re not talking about this because of anything other than this was the time I picked a few months ago as the time I would address it.
Someone asked me what I was preaching on today, and I said finances.
He mentioned how in his experience, whenever the pastor was about to start some fundraising campaign or building program, the money sermons would start.
When I told him that neither of these was the case, he was a bit surprised.
We’re talking about money because God talks about it.
We: When we look at the issue of giving, like we’re going to do today, the feeling of many people is that I’m going to spend all my time beating you up about tithing, and trying to make you feel guilty about it.
Well, I hope that’s not how you leave here today feeling.
My hope for today is that all of you will leave here today with a different perspective of what giving is all about.
It’s not about prying your wallet open and wrestling your money out of it so we can keep the lights on.
Giving is about understanding God’s part in all this and how He is involved in our giving.
God’s involved in our giving to Him? You bet. And when we can get a real handle on that, it can revolutionize how you give to advance God’s kingdom – both here and around the world.
God: Today we’re not going to look at a quote from Jesus, but rather from the Apostle Paul.
There are two main parts to the passage we’re going to look at today that show us where our motivation for giving needs to come from, which is primarily that God makes it possible for us to give to His work.
Part 1 consists of verses 6-7 –
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Four things from these first two verses:
You reap how you sow.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Now I’m no farmer or even a gardener.
I couldn’t keep a plant alive if my life depended on it. I can’t tell you the last time someone asked me to take care of their plants – because I’ve never been good at it.
But even I get the idea here.
Now look at something. It doesn’t say you reap what you sow. It does say that later, in Galatians when the apostle Paul talks about sowing according to the sinful nature as opposed to sowing to please the Spirit.
Here it says we reap how we sow.
If we give sparingly, we will be sparingly blessed. But if we give generously, God can bless us generously.
Now let me be clear about this, so that there are no questions about where I believe the Bible stands on this deal:
I do not believe that the Bible teaches that God will make you rich financially because you give.
So you’ll never hear me say that you need to give to God through this church so that God can multiply your gift a hundred-fold.
First of all, I don’t have the looks and the hair to be one of those kinds of preachers anyway.
Second of all, that’s a misuse of Scripture.
Here’s what this passage is telling us: as we invest generously in the kingdom, God blesses us, and that blessing might be financial.
This verse doesn’t promise untold riches. It promises that God will bless you abundantly.
It might be great spiritual blessing, and it might be great financial blessing, or even both.
The point is that as you trust God in sowing into His kingdom, God will take care of the rest – and better than you know right now.
God says if you’ll put the Kingdom of God first, He’ll take care of all the rest of your needs. He’ll take care of the food and the clothes and stuff.