Summary: The test, treasure and truth of giving
I heard the story of a young man who was hired as a switchman on the tracks. As part of his training a supervisor took him to the area of the track that he would be working. The supervisor asked him if he understood the switch and knew how it worked and he assured him that he did. Then the supervisor asked him a hypothetical situation. He said, “Let’s say you have a train coming from the north at 80mph and a train coming from the south at 50mph on the same track – and you were standing here at this switch and it was jammed, what do you think you would do?” The young man thought for a minute and then said, “I would run and get my Uncle Jed!” The supervisor couldn’t believe his ears and repeated the situation, “You have two trains coming at each other at a cumulative speed of 140 mph, you are standing at this switch, and you are going to run and get your Uncle Jed? Why would you do that?” The young man said, “Well sir, because my Uncle Jed has seen it all, but even he has NEVER SEEN A WRECK THIS BIG!”
Why do I tell that story? Because mankind is on a collision course with God. Every person who has ever lived is on a collision course with the God of creation. One day we will all have to stand before God and give an account of our lives. There is an eternal heaven and an eternal hell that stands before us. What we do in this life will determine where we spend the next.
We are continuing in our series on Authentic Faith. We have looked at lordship, repentance and fruit. Last week we talked about love. Today I want to talk about something that flows out of love. You have probably heard the old expression before that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Today we want to talk about giving.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The bible says that God so loved the world that he GAVE… Our God is a giving God. Jesus modeled this for us when he walked the earth. He gave all He had for others.
1. The TEST – give
The verse that we have read this morning starts with the word GIVE. It is used in the imperative, meaning that it is something that is expected of us. Giving is like love in that it is not optional. Jesus expects us to give.
Mat 6:2-4 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus does not say here IF you give. He says twice WHEN you give. It is an expectation.
Here in Canada, we live in a democracy. The word means ‘rule of the people’, as opposed to aristocracy which means ‘rule of the elite’. In a democracy, everyone gets a say. Everyone gets a voice in what happens. As believers in Jesus, we are part of the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom is run differently than a democracy. There is no parliament, no representatives. There is no election. There is only the King, and he controls the Kingdom.
He makes the rules, and when those rules are broken the King has the power to enforce those rules. Again, this is the concept of lordship. I say that because, as people, we generally do not like to be told what to do. Especially with our money.
One time a skeptic said to a preacher, "I can’t stand this Christianity business. All I ever hear from you Christians is give, give, give." The preacher thought a minute and said, "That’s about the best description of Christianity I have ever heard!"
Mal 3:8-10 Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse -- the whole nation of you -- because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.