Summary: Giving is a topic that most preachers would rather avoid. Most often we are reluctant to preach on "giving" because of our measly offerings. It’s understanding the "God-principle" behind our giving that helps make preaching on "giving" much easier.
GIVING THAT FEELS GOOD
(Based on Dr. Kregg Hood’s book: "Take Got At His Word")
A. I was given a FREE BOOK written by Dr. Kregg Hood three years ago entitled: Take God At His Word.
1. I opened it up and read the FORWARD and quickly realized that it was about "GIVING."
a. I did what probably most people would DO, I quickly CLOSED the BOOK and threw it up on my BOOK SHELF.
Deep down in my heart, I knew that I didn’t GIVE to God as much as I should. The vast majority of my MONEY went to PAY BILLS, and still does today. I lived from PAY CHECK to PAY CHECK. Just a year before, I had my daughter to move in with us from Texas, and then shortly AFTERWARDS she gave BIRTH to our precious granddaughter. And, as you can IMAGINE, that just COMPOUNDED our FINANCIAL PROBLEMS.
So, when I received a book on GIVING I refused to READ it because, quite frankly, I didn’t need the GUILT. But then my ELDERS came to me and asked if I would present a LESSON or two on GIVING. So I reluctantly got out that BOOK and started READING it and STUDYING the SCRIPTURES provided, and I realized that God doesn¡¦t ask people to GIVE GENEROUSLY to PUNISH them or to KEEP them POOR, but to BLESS them.
2. God’s Word makes some RADICAL STATEMENTS regarding the importance of GIVING.
God promises to abundantly BLESS those who GIVE GENEROUSLY. Often when we talk about God BLESSING those who GIVE, we think He’s talking about SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS. Undoubtedly SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS are part of it, but God clearly promises FINANCIAL BLESSINGS for those who GIVE GENEROUSLY.
When Paul reminded the Corinthian church that "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously"- II Corinthians 9:6, he’s not talking about CORN but about MONEY! The Bible says that God will FINANCIALLY take care of those who TRUST Him with their GIVING. (The question is: Do we believe it? Or is God’s Word
really a FANTASY, as some believe?)
B. It all boils down to TRUSTING God to keep His PROMISE!
1. If like me, you find it easy to TRUST God in many areas of your life but not in the area of FINANCES.
My measly OFFERING at that time REFLECTED my LACK of TRUST. My reasoning was, if I GIVE more to the CHURCH I won’t be able to PAY the BILLS and take care of my NECESSITIES. But guess what? Instead of having more MONEY to get out of DEBT, I got DEEPER and DEEPER in a FINANCIAL MESS.
2. Since moving here, I promised God that I would give at least 10% of my INCOME to Him no matter what happens--and I’ve kept that PROMISE.
Since that time, God has provided me with an avenue "Financial Peace University" by Dave Ramsey to teach me how to HANDLE MONEY His way. I still face tough times, but I now see a LIGHT at the END of the FINANCIAL TUNNEL.
3. God told the children of Israel to "TEST Him in the area of GIVING" (Malachi 3:10), and I’m going to continue doing it because I KNOW that God doesn’t LIE! He will BLESS us ABUNDANTLY if we only continue STANDING ON HIS PROMISES.
A preacher in a small town in Oklahoma said that early one Monday morning, the only BANK in town called all three churches with the same request, "Could you bring in Sunday’s collection right away? We’re out of one-dollar bills."
Obviously my lesson this morning is about GIVING. I believe there are very few people in this congregation who don’t at least give SOMETHING every time the collection plate is passed. GIVING doesn’t have to be something that we DREAD. GIVING can indeed FEEL GOOD if we GIVE for the right REASON. What is the MOTIVATION behind yours and my GIVING? What
MOTIVATION does God want us to have?
I. GUILT ("HAVE TO" GIVING)
A. This is the MOTIVATION that has often driven me to GIVE!
After all, I’m the PREACHER. People are WATCHING. They’re going to know if I don’t drop something in the OFFERING PLATE. So I will write my measly CHECK, fold it just right so no one can see the AMOUNT, and RELUCTANTLY drop it into the OFFERING PLATE thinking, "I sure could PAY some BILLS with that!" (HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?)
1. II Corinthians 9:7- Paul encourages us to be "CHEERFUL GIVERS."
a. The Greek word translated CHEERFUL is related to our English word, "HILARIOUS."
b. When is the last time you HILARIOUSLY put MONEY into the OFFERING PLATE?
2. Since we should not feel FORCED to GIVE ("not RELUCTANTLY or under COMPULSION") GUILT cannot be a Biblical MOTIVATOR, but it is used a lot!