Summary: A third look at being generous.
April 21, 2013
Last winter, as we led up to Christmas I spoke about grace for a number of weeks. I’m still not certain we have a great understanding of grace because in some respects grace is illogical and counter-intuitive. We really don’t know what to do with grace. We love grace, but what do we do with it? When grace comes into our lives . . . it comes to forgive us, it comes to give us hope and a future and a plan.
For a lot of us, it’s like a gift we receive from a friend or family member that we don’t know what to do with. You know what I mean? We’ve all been there. We look at it, we smile at it, we say we love it, when we don’t, then we wonder what to do with it. So, we take it and put it away. Then when we find out they’re coming over . . . we hunt and find that item and we put it back on display.
A lot of us are that way with God’s gift of grace. God gave us this gift, we open it and we smile at it, and we really love it, but we don’t know what to do with it. We receive God’s blessings, His favor, His forgiveness, His mercy, but we don’t know what to do with it.
You see, grace is more than a doctrine or theological term, it’s more than words in a song, and it’s more than the prayer we say before a meal. Grace is much more than that. Grace is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the personification of grace. When we’re looking for grace, we don’t have to look for a gift, or a feeling, or a warm fuzzy. What we need to look for is Jesus Christ.
You see, John tells us 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. – John 1:17 So, anytime Jesus shows up, grace shows up with Him. Grace is one of the most amazing gifts God gives to us. When we look at grace, it’s one of God’s most generous gifts.
Remember our definition of grace and mercy?
Grace - You receive what you don't deserve.
Mercy - You don't receive what you deserve.
This all comes under the heading of God’s generosity. To be generous means freely giving more than is necessary or expected. That’s a pretty great description of what God does for us. He gives us more than is necessary and more than we really should ever expect.
Now for the past 2 weeks we’ve been talking about generosity. The first week I told you we don’t want to be Dead Sea Christ-followers. Those are people who receive fresh blessings from God, but don’t pass them on. Last week, I compared us to a rocket which takes off and fights the G-forces to move into space. And G-force stood for Greed force. We want to use God’s grace and generosity as our rocket booster and blast us off on a life of giving to others. I spoke more about money and the need to be giving in the church so that we can fulfill the mission God has set for this church to accomplish, for His glory.
This week, we’re going to shift away from the money aspect and I have to tell you other people really contributed to this message. Two weeks ago I asked this question on facebook ~
I'm preaching about generosity. Can you give me categories of ways to be generous, that is, we can be generous with our time, with our money, etc. Please give me some of your thoughts about ways to be generous. Thanks!!
Well, I received 49 comments, which was quite a number. To be honest, I’m still not sure what to do with this list. There were so many great responses. What was also really great about this was the fact that not all of the people who responded were Christians. So, we had lots of answers from lots of people.
What I decided to do this morning was to share some of the ways you and I could practice generosity. Then next week. I will have them listed for you, so you can take it with you. Now some were a little more obvious.
We can be generous with our words was a popular response. Now that can come in a few different ways ~ we can use our words to encourage one another. That’s a key thought in the Bible. We don’t go around seeking to discourage one another with our words, rather we seek to encourage and build up one another with our words. When we have the opportunity to extend a compliment to another person, be ready to do it, and offer the compliment with love, joy and a sincere smile.