Summary: A gift given in love always shows value .A gift given in love should always be received lovingly. A gift given in love imitates the Ultimate Gift-Giver
Gifts/Generosity: Show Me You Care
1. A gift given in love always shows value.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston S. Churchill
2. A gift given in love should always be received lovingly
3. A gift given in love imitates the Ultimate Gift-Giver
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” Mark Twain
We spent the bulk of 2017 focused on generosity. We called it Unleashed (logo). We talked about taking our generosity up to a whole new level; being more generous with God with our time, our talents and our treasure. As a result, we’ve seen our number of people serve increase dramatically and we’ve seen your giving increase dramatically as we stepped out in faith to join God more consistently and demonstrably in pushing back the darkness. El Salvador video or during offering????
We mostly focused being generous with the One who has been so generous with us; who held nothing back to secure salvation for those of us who will surrender and believe and accept the gift by faith.
But this morning, we take a look at being generous with others, particularly those we love. There is something inside us that wants to give to people we care about. Why is that?
“If, as evolutionary biology suggests, the goal of life is to reproduce, then all our resources should be kept for ourselves and our progeny, with acts of altruism unheard of. And yet concern for the welfare of others is a core virtue in most societies.” Psychology Today
Some point to an “altruism muscle” that is resident in humans as a result of natural selection: “…because the willingness to self-sacrifice helps with natural selection at the group level.” What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness, Elizabeth Svoboda
These are contradictory positions. I’m not a fan of modern psychology and as you know, I think natural selection and macro evolutionary theory is a bunch of donkey dust. I believe that humans have the notion to give because we are made in the image of God, and the God of Creation is a giving God. We bear His imprint; His fingerprints on our souls and because of that, we have it in us to give.
Turn to Matthew 26:6-16. So this morning we are in Week 3 of a 5 week series on The Five Love Languages. If you haven’t read the book, (pic of book). I’d encourage you to pick up a copy in our books store. You can also pick up a packet (hold up) that gives you a brief explanation of them out at the ???
The point is that each of us has a language that we feel most loved in. If your dominant love language is quality time, then your mate or friend may be constantly speaking words of affirmation, but what you REALLY want from them is undistracted, uninterrupted quality time. You appreciate the encouragement, but their attempt to show love is lost in translation. So the way you keep the love tank of your friends and family full, is to learn what their love language is and keep filling their love tank with it.
We’ve talked about 2 of the love languages, Words of Affirmation (build) and Quality Time, and this morning we turn to Receiving Gifts.
Matthew 26:6-16 (on screen)
There are a lot of notable, even wacky things going on in this passage. Follow along as I read:
v.6 Bethany was just a mile or two south of Jerusalem, just over the Mount of Olives. Jesus had some friends that lived in Bethany. Who? Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. But he was not at their house; He had chosen to hang with Simon the leper. What’s notable about that? Leprosy was and is such a debilitating disease: a contagious disease that affects the skin, mucous membranes, and nerves, causing discoloration and lumps on the skin and, in severe cases, disfigurement and deformities. (Pic attached) There are much worse images I could have shown you; I chose a milder case.
If a leper was walking down the road and someone was approaching, they had to get on the other side and stay at least 50’ from them and wave their arms and yell, “Unclean, Unclean”. Lepers were the ultimate outsiders; no one would associate with them.
Jesus chose to stay at Simon’s house and give him some quality time, right?
v.7 Into this situation comes an unnamed woman bearing a gift. It could be Mary, of Mary of Martha fame, or Mary Magdalene, but we’re not sure. What we are sure of is that she took this gift which was an expensive perfume. The gospel of John says that it was worth 300 denarii. A denari was a days wages. So in today’s value at $9/hr x 40 hrs a week, would be worth about $20,000. This was no small gift.